I’ve written before about being an introverted mama and how that introversion connects to my experiences of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. The challenge to my personality type was most intense with the birth of my first child and I sure wish I’d had access to an article like this one when I was in the early months of motherhood: A Guide to New Motherhood — as an Introvert – The HerStories Project
“…At the end of the day I can be emotionally and physically depleted. I’m simply done. I am often exhausted by the pace of my son’s constant chatter and need for constant verbal and physical engagement. I need to be alone — sometimes for hours — to recharge my emotional batteries. And then I’m back to normal self…”
Yep. And, that alone time is really, really hard to come by as a new mother and also as kids grow!
I also enjoyed an article about praise. Praise has taken its share of knocks from the alternative parenting community and I enjoyed how this article differentiates between casual praise and genuine praise and does advocate for plenty of genuine praise:
“…People in the big wide world can often be pretty short on praise. People in the natural parenting world can get their knickers in a tremendous knot about it. I know how it makes me feel. And sure I should be a big enough person, and it shouldn’t matter, I should just instinctively know how great I am. But truth is I don’t. And it does matter hugely. To me and most people I know. To be honest I don’t enjoy spending time round people who are totally convinced of their own awesomeness with no room for a compliment top-up…”
If you don’t praise kids enough they may never forgive you…just kidding…but, I’m trying to segue into my next topic which is about forgiveness. After my grandma’s memorial services and our time spent with extended family over the last couple of weeks, a couple of articles caught my eye, the first with regard to choosing not to take offense:
I have been doing much pondering on this subject since. There are so many examples in our community of individuals and groups being offended and shutting down the ability for divinity to be a guiding force in our communications. Individuals see their relationships as in service to self rather than as in service to others. Over time I have witnessed multiple examples of people expressing that it is a positive thing to let go of relationships that no longer “serve them”.
What my recent experience has reinforced in my life is that taking offence in conversations is an expression of personable ego. Those with whom I disagree are valued partners in my journey; that my relationships and friendships are about my service to my friends, associates and community, not their service to me…
And the next, the radical notion that perhaps there is nothing to forgive:
3. Consider that there’s nothing to forgive.
Over the years I’ve thought about the shift that happens when we go from feeling angry and hurt to loving and peaceful.
Are we learning forgiveness or do we simply reach a point where we now see there was nothing to forgive in the first place?
Is forgiveness so tricky because the real “cotton dress running through the fields” feeling we’re after only comes once we realize there’s nothing to forgive??
To help me wrap my head around this I find it helpful to consider the larger picture. As in, outer space large:
I imagine a kinder, wiser and more compassionate version of myself sitting on the moon, perhaps kicking back on a deck chair drinking a margarita with Alice Kramden, looking down and watching, as the earthly me muddles my way through life…
Watching myself hold onto dodgy beliefs and making some epic mistakes.
Watching children around me born into challenging times and how this affects their sense of self-worth and how easily this passes on to others.
Watching us all learning to love ourselves unconditionally—trying, failing, and even succeeding, as we do.
And I figure this wise margarita-drinking self would conclude that everyone in their own unique way was doing their best.
And when you think about it, if everyone’s doing their best, what’s to forgive—doing your best?
Toss around the idea: “Forgiveness is understanding there’s nothing to forgive.” It’s big, but when it sinks in, it really helps.
Being a parent has given me compassion for most parents, past, present, and future, and how they are trying their best and that they are just people, no more, no less. We may have experienced our parents as something more powerful and dramatic, but really, they were just like us. Are we perfect? No. That means that it is okay that they weren’t either. Nothing to forgive. Ditto with friendships—if we ourselves are not a perfect friend, and I guarantee we’re not, it is impossible, unrealistic, and even cruel to expect that our friends will never do anything “wrong” and never, ever hurt our feelings. Nothing to forgive.