Self-care is a hot topic right now. Everyone is telling us to take a bubble bath or curl up with a good book, and mamas everywhere are trying to figure out how, with three kids underfoot. But why? Why do they keep telling us it is so important? Why should our mental health be such a priority to us?
I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of blog posts written on self-care, and mental health, so why do you need to read another one? Keep reading. I want to tell you my story of why I believe it is so important.
I was born into a family of 14. Yes, 14. I am the fourth child, second girl. That makes me a big sister of 10 siblings. 10 siblings guys! I have cared for them, worried about them, and loved them as if they were my own children. On any given day, you’ll find one of them at my house, sleeping on my couch or hanging out with their friends. I love them.
This past year I have turned a question over and over in my mind. How does a parent project their pain onto their child?
I have always thought that I would never want to make someone feel the pain that I have felt, and couldn’t wrap my mind around how my parents could do some of the things that they did.
I know how their childhoods were, and I understand that they hurt me, out of being hurt, but I couldn’t understand how, or why.
As I’ve healed from the things that I have experienced myself, I’ve become emotionally aware. I pay attention to how I feel and try to understand why I feel the way I do.
One day my younger sister climbed into my lap. She is 7 years old and not exactly small. It irritated me. When I noticed my irritation, I began to ask myself why I would be irritated with a child?
I started to notice how boldly she asked to be loved. No shame. She never once seemed to give a thought to whether or not I wanted her to sit in my lap. She boldly asked for what she wanted and expected that you would want to give it to her.
I thought about myself. How much I worried that my husband or my friends would eventually get tired of me if I wasn’t always adding value to their day, and giving something to them. I thought if I didn’t have enough to give they would eventually get tired of me and move on to someone else.
I don’t ask to be loved. If I ask to be listened to, I end up feeling guilty about, thinking that I’m asking for to much.
I thought about how innocence is, slowly over time, stolen from us. We start out like my little sister, believing that we are beautiful and that everyone should love us. Why wouldn’t they? And then, rejection after rejection slowly snuffs it out, and that little girl dies. She’s replaced with a woman who is afraid of being to much, afraid of being let go of.
So what does this have to do with self-care? Well, it’s this. As I looked deep into my heart, I found the answer to my own question.
My little sisters boldness in asking to be loved annoyed me. Why? Because I thought she should feel as I feel. Unworthy to ask for love. I feel unworthy, because I’ve been hurt, rejected, ignored and treated like asking to be listened to, was asking and expecting to much from others.
Deep down I thought it unfair that my little sister didn’t feel as unworthy as I felt. This is how we hurt people. This is how we break children. By thinking that they don’t deserve any better than what we got. This is how my parents projected their pain onto me, and this is how I can end up projecting my pain onto my little sister and my own children one day. Unless, I actively choose healing.
We are all so busy running here and there trying to take care of everyone else, that we forget to check in with ourselves. We run on empty and think that we are somehow doing everyone a favor.
My parents were so busy taking care of 14 children that they never dealt with the trauma from their own childhoods. They never faced who they really were or why they were that way. They never faced why exactly they did the things that they did, and by doing that, they hurt the ones they were trying to protect.
So take care of you, for you and for them. Take a long hot bubble bath, and when you do, check in with yourself. What are you feeling? Why are you feeling those things? Peel back the layers of your heart and try to discover who you really are and why you are that way.
If you’ve had trauma in your life, don’t be afraid to see a therapist. Your children need you to be whole. They need you to be filled, so that you can fill them. You deserve to heal.
Do something that gives you the space to get to know yourself. Journal, go on long walks or runs. Do whatever you have to do, to be the best, for yourself and for them. You deserve it. They deserve it.
Practicing self-care, can give you the quiet space to evaluate yourself. The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to identify negative feelings and emotions. By identifying those feelings and emotions, you can understand whether or not you could be projecting them on your child, your spouse or your friends.
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Thank you for dropping by today. I hope you have an awesome weekend!