Last week — completely unplanned — I happened to be wrapping up my online course, Reclaiming the Mother Within, just before Mother’s Day. (RMW is for women who are ready to do the deep work of healing childhood wounds, and learn how to nurture and reparent themselves.)
Most women have a love/hate relationship with Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day can evoke painful feelings for women for many reasons.
Maybe you’ve experienced multiple miscarriages, or you’ve chosen to live child-free, or you’re a biological or adoptive mother who has had one too many painful Mother’s Day experiences.
A day that’s supposed to feel joyful and honoring too often feels guilt-driven, disappointing, or even devastating.
I invited the women in the course to think about — and to be proactive around — how they wanted to experience Mother’s Day which was only 2 days away.
Being proactive around special occasions like Mother’s Day, a birthday, or an anniversary means Returning to yourself and asking for what you want.
Unfortunately, this is not what typically happens.
Some of us try not to think about the day ahead, or some of us get amnesia, forgetting how awful last year was while hoping for something wonderful this year!
We come by our challenges around being celebrated honestly, because we weren’t taught how to do it.
In fact, we may have been taught — usually without words — that it is shameful to take care of ourselves by taking an active role in celebrating ourselves.
For example, if you would like to receive flowers for your birthday and you’re not sure if your partner will give you flowers, do you ask him or her for flowers? Or, would you be willing to take matters into your own hands and gift yourself with flowers?
The thought of giving yourself a gift — rather than receiving it from another person — may be embarrassing to you. But why would giving yourself what you want, when you have the power to do so, be embarrassing?
Because we’ve been taught to believe that it is better to receive from another person than it is to give to ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, receiving from others is wonderful! But it is equally wonderful to receive from yourself. It’s called self-care.
If you were taught that giving to you is inferior to receiving from another, ask yourself how you learned this.
You may not be able to identify the exact words that were spoken, but there will be a vague recollection of an unspoken message that to give yourself flowers or a card or a long-awaited trip is, well, kind of pitiful.
What is the hidden message in the thought that it’s sad or embarrassing for a woman to give herself what she would like to receive?
One of the possible meanings we impose on this kind of self-care is that it makes the woman worth-less (as in not as valuable) because she gave to herself rather than receiving from another.
Is it true that any person is worth less because they gave to themselves? Of course not.
The truth is, when you give to yourself out of care and self-love, your giving is high-quality self-care.
In our conversation about how to give to ourselves in the last session of RMW, I said:
“If you want something but you’re not willing to ask for it — or you make getting what you want contingent on someone else giving it to you — what you are (unconsciously) saying is that it is more important for you to get the other person to give you what you want than it is for you to receive what you want.”
Can you see the truth in this for you?
If you want something that you are not willing to ask for and are not willing to give to yourself, you are more interested in manipulating/controlling another person than receiving what you want.
Not understanding healthy giving and receiving causes us to play games in relationships.
We manipulate by dropping hints or guilt-tripping loved ones into doing what we believe would make us happy. Or we create an impossible bind by refusing to ask for what we want.
We expect loved ones to be mind-readers because, as one woman told me, “He should know what I like/want.”
And then, when we don’t get what we want we blame the other person for not showing up for us.
What is more true is that we are not showing up for ourselves.
When you understand how disempowering it is to expect another person to give to you what you could give to yourself, it will forever change how you think about giving and receiving.
Taking empowered ownership of your happiness is the fastest route to feeling more peace, joy, and contentment.
You’ll also be much more enjoyable to be with because you are resourced and filled up with your own unique brand of self-care!!
What does it mean to take empowered ownership of your happiness? It means:
- Understanding on a deep level that you are responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and your behavior.
- Asking yourself, “What do I want?” and listening to the answer.
- Deciding how you want to receive. Do you want to “wait and see,” make a request, or give to yourself?
- Being willing to give yourself what you would like (or even prefer) to receive from others.
- Not making yourself a victim when you make the empowered choice to give yourself what you want, even when you would have preferred receiving it from another person.
In what ways are you ready to show up for yourself with more self-care and self-love by giving to you?
What were you taught about giving to yourself?
Is there anything you want right now that you have been expecting to receive from someone else that you would be courageous enough to give to yourself?
© Victoria Priya (2023)
Hi, I'm Victoria!
I love guiding my clients on a journey of Returning to the authentic truth of who they are, Reclaiming what is theirs, and Receiving everything that is meant for them.
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