First, a definition. Mama: a loving, protective, enveloping presence that instills warmth, strength and belonging. By this definition, each of us, man or woman, has the capacity to be a MAMA. And yet how often do we look to ourselves for love, protection and a full, heart-warming, soul-filling embrace?
Let’s be honest. You're harder on yourself than on anyone else. In fact, you probably say things to yourself you wouldn’t say to an enemy, let alone a dear friend… and as it turns out, you are the dearest friend you’ve got. You bash, barrage and unscrupulously berate yourself for not accomplishing enough, being enough, or looking good enough and each judgement pulls you further away from what you so desperately need….
A big dose of mama love!
What would it feel like if, instead of receiving a constant reprimand, you consoled yourself like a mother does a child? By wrapping yourself in unconditional love (yes, it’s time to adore your interesting cowlick and elbow skin), you foster inner confidence to flourish rather than talking mad smack that shuts you down. Remember the old adage, You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar? The same applies to you.
The mama you need is just dying to be let out, so let her do her thing. Here are the 5 steps to be the mama you need:
1. Find your inner child.
Yes, it may seem corny. We so desperately want to ignore and push past pain, but the only way to heal the hurt is to first locate the little person inside who needs attention. What does she look like? What's her favorite way to play? What are her fears and concerns? What are her misinformed beliefs that make her sad? By sculpting your younger self in your mind’s eye, you're able to fully feel the compassion needed to comfort her.
2. Listen with love.
How often do you just want someone to listen? No ideas, no commentary, just two working ears to hear what’s on your mind and in your heart. Being a good mama means knowing when your entire job is simply to listen to yourself. In this space, planning, strategizing and the dreaded judgement are forbidden. By listening to your inner little self express her desires and fears, you support her in clearing her own path. (If listening to YOU with love is hard, this is your ticket.)
3. Protect and deflect.
As a mama, it is your job to protect your self from the cranky critters inside your brain and that give unsolicited and painful commentary. Negative thoughts (and people) are like toddlers. Ignore them and they only get louder. Deflect negative input by acknowledging the givers’ advice and informing them that though appreciated, it simply isn’t pertinent at this time. Scuffle averted. This also works beautifully with family members and in-laws.
4. Forgive, for real.
Forgiveness is a crazy powerful tool and a good mama knows it well. You may not want to, but forgiving yourself for being human and having faults is the quickest way to settle into the comfort and strength you seek. Start with one thing that irks you about yourself. What would it be like to forgive this piece of you and be OK with it? What does forgiveness feel like? A wise mama knows that with forgiveness comes a lightness that makes everything easier.
5. Create a protection posse.
This is a group of like-minded, loving mamas who protect you just as you protect yourself. They support you, keep you honest and notice when the judgmental junkies have arrived. There is no rule that says you’ve got to be a mama alone and, as you know it takes a village, or in this case a power posse.
Now tell me in the comments below, what’s one thing you can do right now to feel loved, strong and completely understood? Much love and, remember my little mamas, you can be all you need and more.