My little girl Avery is now three and half months old. She smiles when she sees me and likes to look me in the eye and have engaging conversations in her adorable yi-yi-ya-ya baby language. She’s happy and content most of the time.
But when she gets tired, she can be REALLY cranky. She fusses and cries as if the world is coming to an end. Basically, she makes sure that I stop everything I’m doing and attend to her…
And I do. I hold her tight and gently rock her to sleep. When she’s asleep, her face is so angelic and peaceful. All is well in her world again…
I, on the other hand, have been struggling. Being a new mom is sweet, but also very challenging. I find myself tired, depleted and cranky at times. But unlike her, I’m not allowed to fuss, cry, and go to sleep.
When this happens, I feel irritable, angry and sad. I become unpleasant and short with my husband. And my world turns colorless and joyless in spite of all the wonderful blessings I have in my life (and the fact that I know it.)
One day as I was holding my baby — rocking her to sleep and seeing her face resembling so much of my own as a baby — a realization came to me:
I have TWO babies to take care of. One is her and one is my own inner child.
My inner child has been crying out to me that it needs my immediate attention and loving care. But I’ve been ignoring her, overriding her needs, and soldiering on…
Even though I’ve been practicing self-love for years — which was instrumental in helping me heal my PMS — the challenges of motherhood remind me that I need to strengthen and deepen this practice.
I need to be kinder, gentler, and more loving to my inner child, just as I am to Avery. The simple truth is that if my inner baby is not happy, I’ll not be able to enjoy the blessings in my life, and I’ll not be able to give my best to the ones I love.
In her awesome book, The Gifts of Perfectionism, Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brene Brown presents an insightful discussion on self-love and its connection to our own sense of worthiness.
She states that we can’t really love anyone more than we love ourselves, and that we love ourselves as much as we believe we’re worthy. Love, especially toward ourselves, is not a feeling, but a daily practice.
Yes indeed. Letting go of the need to please, perform, seek approval and be perfect is not an option. Neither is the need to practice loving kindness to myself. It’s a priority. Every single day.
How about you? How are you treating your inner child? Is she happy? How do you practice self-love on a daily basis? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can all learn from one another.
Let’s grow more love in our lives. And let’s tell ourselves, “We are enough, just the way we are.”