How To "Mother Yourself" With Nurturing Energy This Weekend & Beyond
I once heard famous self-help author and mother Byron Katie declare that there's no one better equipped to mother us than ourselves. Practicing being your own mother isn't about having experienced an ideal relationship with your parents or guardians, or about being a parent to a child yourself, or about being a certain personality type or gender. Mothering yourself is about meeting yourself with the nurturing energy we have traditionally associated with mothers.
Mother's Day can be a really connecting holiday for people, or a very triggering one. Use the following tips to make this weekend a nurturing experience for you:
Practice meeting yourself with unconditional love.
Remember that meeting yourself with unconditional love is a practice, and never something you'll do "perfectly." The next time you disappoint yourself or do something you really regret, picture yourself as a small child. (Keeping a photo around your home of yourself as a child that makes you feel tender toward yourself really helps.) Imagine your child self running up to you for love and reassurance.
What nurturing words of wisdom would you give a small child you loved if they regretted an action? Meeting yourself with unconditional love is a mindfulness exercise—like practicing thinking before you speak when you're angry—that gets easier with time. Consider it a self-love experiment that will help you meet others with unconditional love too!
Give yourself today what you craved more of as a child.
Whether you feel your guardians did an excellent job of raising you, or a tragic job, or any shade in between, we each can look back on our childhoods and identify something we craved more of—like attention, security, love, freedom, or playfulness. Giving more of that to yourself now, as an adult, can be incredibly healing.
Again, you don't have to give what you craved more of to yourself in a "perfect" way, just in any way you're able. Healing generally happens in small moments and tiny steps, so don't underestimate the power of your actions today to help heal childhood wounds.
Make yourself feel special and worthy.
In spiritual truth, we are each special and worthy—without exception. Yet your parents may not have been present enough, healthy enough, experienced enough, or emotionally mature enough to realize you needed to be reminded that you were special as a child. Also, culturally the way we are conditioned to treat children and reflect their worthiness changes a lot with time and varies significantly from culture to culture, which certainly influenced how you were cared for as a child.
Make yourself feel special now by being aware of your greatest strengths, which can be revealed through compliments you receive from others. Also look back on the most unique experiences you have survived, your most unique traits, and your most unique accomplishments, which also hold clues to your specialness. When you remind yourself how and why you're special, and unlike anyone else, you'll feel more valued. Feeling more valued and worthy makes you more comfortable seeking out and asking for what you need and desire.
Snuggle and cuddle regularly.
Whether touch is one of your love languages or not, there's science-backed evidence that healthy, loving touch improves your mood and overall well-being. We often picture mothers or nurturing caregivers as hugging, holding, and kissing infants. Give yourself the nurturing skin-on-skin touch by holding a loved one's hand or putting your arm around them when you're walking down the street or sitting on the couch. Make a point of hugging good friends hello and goodbye. Get a massage from a caring practitioner. Let a pet lay their head on your shoulder or leg, or snuggle up with your favorite comfy pillow, weighted blanket, or soft sheets to feel nurtured.
Practice comforting yourself.
Mindfully exposing yourself to music, books, articles, and movies that contain a comforting message is a wonderful way to parent yourself and can increase feelings of calm and contentment.
My new book full of self-love affirmations, mantras, and messages, Love Notes to My Self, is also great for keeping on your desk, coffee table, or nightstand. Any time you need nurturing, encouragement, inspiration, or a lift to your mood, flip through it and read the self-contained message on any page.
Comforting yourself every day isn't a way to ignore painful issues in your own life or the world but rather a way to balance that energy so you have more overall stamina for being with life unconditionally.
Create more feelings of grounding and safety.
Helping their child feel grounded and safe is one of the greatest gifts a parent can provide. If your parents are elderly and require your care, your parents are deceased, you never knew your parents, or your guardians aren't able to act as a source of grounding and safety in your life, give yourself this vital gift. Develop a healthy relationship with discipline, stay on top of your practical responsibilities, start a savings fund, take good care of your physical body, and seek out loving relationships based on mutual respect.
Identify someone who embodies healthy mother energy for you.
Is there a friend, colleague, or family member you admire for their comforting, protective, loving, nurturing energy? Or maybe there's a public figure, expert, or author who has taught you how to mother yourself more proactively. Who is the first person your intuition brings to mind? When you need motivation to mother yourself, connect with this person.
Require periods of rest.
Resting as you move through life is a simple, actionable way to mother yourself. If your own parents or guardians were often absent, or you had to grow up fast and start adulting very young, scheduling periods of rest into your day, week, and month might be a foreign concept. Remind yourself that sometimes a "lazy day" is the best way to increase overall productivity and protect yourself from burnout.
If you're in a particularly busy cycle personally or professionally—or both—aim for days when you can slow your roll and have a more gentle to-do list. Gentle energy is something we often associate with mothers, which is why Mother's Day cards often contain flowers and soft colors. Be gentle with yourself regarding your schedule!
Some of the recommended actions for mothering yourself from this article might be stuff you're already pretty good at—while others you may really struggle with. Current circumstances in your life might also demand that you mother yourself in specific ways right now. Ask your intuition for a number between one and eight as a word, picture, or thought in your mind.
I heard and saw the number three in my mind, which means I might work more on making myself feel special and worthy right now. Or scan the numbered items in this article and see which one you feel most drawn to. Wherever you land, wishing you a Mother's Day that is truly nurturing.
Tanya Carroll Richardson is a professional intuitive, giving readings to clients all over the world. She’s also the author of seven nonfiction books including Angel Intuition, Are You an Earth Angel?, Self-Care for Empaths, Zen Teen, and Forever In My Heart: A Grief Journal.