Practicing Parents

It Begins with Us

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~by Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz

This month I’m giving a shout out to all the moms like me that for at least one day a year, our partners and children call us blessed and society sees us as the goddesses we are. We pause to acknowledge the limitless and priceless value of mothers. Yes one day, for some of us, is all we get. The rest of the year we’re asked what, again, we do all day, or we receive the eye roll at work when once again we need to leave to attend to someone at home.

Just one day. What of the other 364 days of the year? Who honors us then? Who remembers the sacrifices we’ve given to better the world? WE DO! We honor ourselves. Women run around so ragged attending to the cares and whims of all around us that we leave little for ourselves.

For many years it just didn’t feel right to be my sole lovegiver. I had the expectation that I deserved for my partner and/or others to give appreciation and love to me, and the resentment would build as they just didn’t express their appreciation and love in just the right way—didn’t they see how I made this special meal or how all their clothes are washed? They should see all the effort I expend to make our life better! After years of this going back and forward between bitterness and seeking gratitude for my life, I realized that the best person to love me is me! That doesn’t mean others can’t love me or that I’d reject another’s expression of love for me, but I wasn’t dependent on hearing it as the sole basis for my worth and value. And I needed to be able to look at myself and ask myself the harder question: did I love myself? And was I willing to show myself the love I so desperately needed?

Finding the strength to ask the question if I even loved, appreciated, accepted, valued myself seems simple, but I’m guessing for many of us, we’re afraid to even look within. It reminds me of how we look (if we even do look) at ourselves in the mirror naked and vulnerable. We only see what it is that we don’t like or what’d we’d like to change or the marks that are permanently graffiti-ed on us. Could we truly see ourselves naked and begin to love first the person we carry? Can we see how powerful, strong, sustaining, giving, amazing our bodies have been to bring forth ourselves, the lives of others, and our love for the world? Can we simply begin there loving what is us.

And can we change the narrative about who we are? We may carry words like failure, depressed, incapable, bitchy, angry, lost, shy, ugly, fat, fill in you ‘favorite’ words for yourself… the ones you say to yourself about yourself when you say something you wish you hadn’t said or before you walk into a party not really wanting to be social.

Turning the story around is constant work. Thinking about the time it took to create the opportunities for you to accept the negative words above, sometimes to unravel the old story, it takes being confronted with new experiences that again give us the opportunity to choose what our new narrative will be.

Rewriting your story is one of the most loving acts you can do. Deciding that you were not a mistake and how you were created was exactly as you need to be. Even the gifts of extreme emotions like deep grief, anger, and irritation are present for us to learn more about ourselves… they are our loving wake up calls showing us who we are and what we need… they scream for us so that we can wake up and be true to our calling.

This May, 2014, as you consider your life and the value of being a mother, remember that the best gift you can give yourself comes solely from you. Loving yourself to know when to say YES to something new just for you that would be for your own personal pleasure OR when to say NO when you’ve reached your personal limit on what will work. And I deeply encourage you to begin saying NO to the hurtful lies of a story you’ve created for yourself. It needs to begin with us. No one will do it for us, and it’s not worth living a life that isn’t abundant with love and joy… it begins with us.

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2 thoughts on “It Begins with Us

  1. Janet, this is so true!
    I love the idea that at ANY point, we can reframe the story in our heads and choose to see ourselves differently!
    Thanks for writing – glad to find your blog!

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