For years, I walked around convinced I was not okay. Not okay for how I felt, for how I expressed myself, for my beliefs and for who I was as a person.
This was a massive burden and one that affected nearly every aspect of my life, but I somehow managed to live with it for over thirty-five years before it became impossible to take any longer.
You see, that feeling of ‘I’m not okay’ only got worse after I became a mother. What was something that only affected me, now affected others: my own children. Those three-little people, I love more than anything and anyone in the whole world, suddenly made ‘not being okay’ completely unbearable.
As many of you may already know, I’ve been a mother for over five years. What you might not know is that motherhood did not come naturally to me. It has been a learning curve, with me doubting myself at every corner and turn. I have walked away from so many situations feeling ‘not good enough’, ‘not okay’, ‘wrong’ and like a total failure. I have questioned my own instincts and compared myself to other moms. And I have convinced myself that there is something fundamentally ‘not okay’ with me as a person, which meant I could never be ‘okay’ as a mom.
For years, I tried to ‘change’. To be more like other moms, other women, other people I saw who I thought had the right idea. For years, I tried to fight against what was inside of me because I thought it wasn’t good enough. And for years I was sure that I was a ‘bad mom’ because I was making mistakes.
Now – I don’t know why or how this happened, where it all started, what it was in my past that made me feel this way in the first place. I could go on about that for hours and bring up all sorts of theories which would probably all be true, yet somehow won’t help me, because the fact of the matter is that the answer was far simpler than what you might think.
This is a very recent insight, but it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I am already okay even if some of my actions are not. And to illustrate further, I asked myself – “can a ‘good mother’ (whatever that means) sometimes make mistakes?”.
I think the answer to that is pretty clear.
And just like that, it was as if my eyes had opened. For the first time in my life, I realized that I AM okay. Just the way I am, without having to change anything for the sake of others who might not like the way I speak, or how I express my emotions, my choices, the way I think, or who I am as a person and a parent.
Because I was finally able to see the massive difference between ‘I am not okay’ and ‘what I DID was not okay’.
It’s funny because this logic has always been so clear to me when it comes to my kids. I will usually try (even if I don’t always succeed) to focus on their behaviour rather than on their personalities (ie “you make me laugh” instead of “you are funny”), and I know that even if my kids ‘act bad’ sometimes, this does not make them fundamentally bad.
Yet for some reason, this was not clear to me when it came to how I saw myself.
I felt I had to share this life changing insight with you because it has set me free and I hope it can do the same for you.
Having a bad day does not make us bad. Having needs does not make us selfish. Making mistakes does not make us rubbish parents. And no matter what we do, we are already okay.
Next stop – realizing we are not just ‘okay’, we are freaking GREAT!
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