We have all heard that forgiveness is a powerful tool. It can liberate you from anger, it can help you move forward in a more positive way, and it can heal negative emotions that may be wreaking havoc on your well being in more ways than one. With this meditation though, I don't want you to find another person to forgive, I want you to forgive yourself.
As mothers, nobody is harder on us than we are on ourselves. And there are few jobs or life experiences out there that seem to have you "fail" at nearly every turn. It can be isolating, making you feel like you are the only mom who is failing. You can start to create that self talk like "Man I am screwing these kids up" or "I am the worst mom". The time goes by so fast that you feel like you are making mistakes that you can't make up for while they're still young (yes I have actually had this thought, it's the worst, isn't it?!). This kind of stuff can snowball, giving us anxiety, depression, and it can rob us of the real joy of being a mother.
The other day, driving back from preschool, my four year old once again unbuckled his seat belt and was freely roaming the back of our minivan, chatting happily to me, not a care in the world. Within seconds of him unbuckling though, I had to stop short to avoid hitting a car that had cut us off and he fell into that middle area between the two seats. I made sure he was okay, and then my reaction was, I hate admitting this, but it was to yell at him. In my head I was seeing what could have happened and what could have been prevented if he would just LISTEN to me and DO WHAT HE WAS TOLD and WHY DOESN'T HE LISTEN didn't he know he could've gotten REALLY HURT?! I was almost in tears, he was in tears, and it just sucked. I let my frustration and the adrenaline and the rush of emotions get the best of me, and I took it out on him, thinking for a second that maybe this would really get it into his head that he needs to keep his seat belt on.
I felt like I had ruined our day, and I felt like I had done the wrong thing. And I really beat myself up over it. Like "Jeez I can't even get this kid to keep his seat belt on what would have happened if we really got into an accident?! Why did I have to yell at him like that, that solved nothing and only made things worse!". Those feelings, those crappy, punishment feelings? They don't help. They make things worse. What I needed to do was forgive myself.
We, as mothers, need to forgive ourselves and our shortcomings, because we all have them. Being a mother is a work in progress, we are learning as our children learn and sometimes we do our best and sometimes we don't, but don't let the bad moments, the frustrated moments, the I Give Up moments define you or your worth as a mother.
In order to get past these moments, you need to acknowledge the feelings that come up, forgive yourself, and let it go. Then, and only then, can you learn from what happens and commit to making different choices next time. Realize that by learning from the experience it becomes something worthy and not a mistake to regret forever. It can become a learning experience that will help you grow. And once you let it go you LET IT GO. It's gone. It's done. It's in the past. Let that s%*t GO.
For this week's meditation, I want you to focus on forgiving yourself. Find the time and space to read this to yourself, and give yourself a few minutes to really take this in and sit with it.
Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down. Notice how you are feeling right now...physically and mentally.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and release the breath through your mouth.
Take another breath, and allow your breathing to relax you as you exhale fully.
Breathe in gently... and as you breathe out, let the air carry the tension out of your body.
Continue to breathe slowly and gently as you begin to focus on relaxing your body.
Notice where your body is tense. Focus your attention on one of these areas. As you breathe, picture that part of your body becoming slightly more relaxed than it was before. With each breath, that part of your body becomes a little more relaxed.
Imagine what the relaxation feels like... tingly... soft... gentle... calm... loose... free... and let that feeling of relaxation grow.
Scan your body for any areas of tension, and for each area, let the relaxation soften the muscles as they give up their hold. Let the feeling of relaxation grow...spreading calm throughout your body.
Breathe in relaxation... and breathe out tension...breathe in calm...and let all the tension go as you exhale...
Continue to breathe slowly, and gently, deepening your state of relaxation more and more with each breath. Deeper and deeper. More and more relaxed. Calm. At peace.
In this peaceful space you've created, create forgiveness in your heart for anything you think you've done wrong . Forgive yourself for all the past omissions and commissions. They are long gone. Understand that you were a different person and this one is forgiving that one that you were. Feel that forgiveness filling you and enveloping you with a sense of warmth and ease.
Recognize the goodness in you and the goodness in you as a mother. The effort you are making as a mother to care for these children of yours. Recognize the love you have and the intentions you have for your children. Feel the warmth and ease that comes from forgiveness.
Now, tell yourself:
I do the best that I can at the time. I accept my imperfections and the imperfections in what I do. My efforts are good enough, and they're okay.
I do not have to be perfect to be a good mom.
I am a human being with flaws. I enjoy being who I am, and love myself as I am.
I feel secure in who I am, and do not need to compare myself to others.
You are a good mom, and they love you.