Tag Archives: self-forgiveness

Self-Love + Serenity = A Miracle (Hopefully)

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Even though in the past
I interpreted challenges like these
as evidence that I was somehow deficient,
today I deeply love and accept myself
and I am willing to see myself
with the eyes of love.
Even though I find myself
uncertain of my future,
my AC has gone belly up,
and now the outlets powering
my refrigerator and freezer
are no longer working,
today I deeply love and accept myself
and I am wiling to see myself
with the eyes of love.
Even though I never thought I’d be here,
never thought that at the age of 42
I’d struggle with anxiety and depression,
wondering where I’ll live
and how I’ll make ends meet
for myself and my children,
today I deeply love and accept myself
and I am willing to see myself
with the eyes of love.
I am willing to change and grow.
I am willing to learn new skills.
I am willing to stand in my power.
I am willing to shift this situation.
Now, God, grant me serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can
and wisdom to know the difference.

Self-Forgiveness for Parents, Caregivers, and All Beings

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Parents, caregivers,
and all beings–
remember to forgive yourself
when you lose it,
when you blow it,
when you stumble,
when you trip,
when you make
a complete ass out of yourself.
Just remember–
we all make mistakes.
We are human.
Our blunders connect us,
and we can find the connection
precisely through that which
makes us human,
that which renders us imperfect.
We can laugh together,
cry together,
we can become indignant together,
we can all fall down together,
and we can all get back up again.
Let us model self-forgiveness.
Those we care for
will trust us more
as we regain trust in ourselves.
Our children won’t make war
with one another
when they witness their parents
at peace with themselves.

The Best I Can

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First I ask for their forgiveness
and then I attempt to forgive myself.
I didn’t want to lose my temper
I didn’t want to jump up and down
and yell
and get red in the face.
But I’m tired, and sick, and human,
and sometimes I just lose it.
The critic said to me,
See? Five years of daily meditation
have done nothing for you.
You still lose your temper.
You are an imposter.
I said to the critic
If you think this is bad,
imagine how I’d be without meditation.
And then I forgave myself.
For what?
For listening to the voice
that told me I should have done better
than I was able to do.
I am, like everyone else on this blessed planet,
doing the best I can.

Confessions at a Quarter to Ten

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Yep. 9:45 pm,
and I feel a need to confess.
Bless me, for I have sinned,
and god knows how long it has been
since my last confession.

I lost my temper this morning.
I sat to meditate after settling my son
Into his room with some trains,
and as I was just entering the timeless
field of presence,
I heard him say, “MAMA!”

I paused my meditation to check in on him…
and wasn’t prepared for the sight that met my eye.
Poop in the diaper that he took off and left on the floor,
poop on the carpet where he sat to put his pants back on
after he took off the poopy diaper,
poop on his pants as he labored to pull the waistband up
to where it was supposed to sit on his little body.

I’ve given you enough gory details, I think.
With calm I cleaned him up,
got him a fresh set of clothes to put on,
and everything seemed to be going well…
until it all hit me.

I didn’t get to meditate!  That is horrible!  I am so angry right now!
I yelled, I stomped, I shrieked.
My son watched.
I wasn’t proud.
The energy it took to remain angry zapped me of my energy,
and I spent a good part of the remaining day feeling guilty and depressed.

Now I am so tired, and I know that it is time to wrap  this up,
attempt to meditate for a few minutes,
and then let my body, my mind, my soul rest…

Maybe I’ll get enough rest to be able to forgive myself tomorrow morning
for the mistakes I made today.

Being a Good Enough Parent

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As a life-long perfectionist, I am near constantly tormented by a voice that lets me know that nothing I ever do is good enough.  For some time now, I’ve been paying attention to that voice, noticing how the noise level changes–sometimes quieter, sometimes louder, depending on what I’m doing–or not doing–in the moment.   My big discovery:  nowhere is the critical voice of impossible perfectionism louder and more clear than in the context of the parenting of my children.  It doesn’t matter how good I am, how patient, how many times I overlook something annoying–it’s that one time that I become irritated, impatient, and bark at my children that sticks in my memory and rises up over and over to confirm how terrible a mother I am.

And then there’s real life that happens around me outside of my prison of perfectionism.  I was an elementary schoolteacher for five years and worked with children coming from all sorts of backgrounds: kids of single parents working multiple jobs; kids being raised by aunts, uncles, grandparents, older siblings; kids whose families were homeless, living in shelters; kids living in a two parent household where the parents’ marriage was on the rocks; and there were kids living with parents who had a balanced and happy marriage.  The last group of kids had a tendency to be the most well-adjusted.  Given that my husband and I are happily married for the most part, I know that we already have something huge going for us as parents.  Working together as a team helps us to be more successful, there is absolutely no doubt.

And then there’s the fact of my keeping my children fed and clothed, providing a living space that meets their needs, keeping them clean and groomed (mostly), taking care of them when they’re sick or injured, reading to them, playing with them, giving them lots of love, affection, praise and encouragement, and offering them opportunities to grow, to explore, and to enjoy the magic of childhood.

My kids seem happy.  Most of the time.  Occasionally they’re over tired, and they become very fussy.  Sometimes they get frustrated and openly express their annoyance.  Very loudly.  In public places.  But on the whole, my kids are happy little beings that wake up with an  enthusiastic smile, ready to meet the day and give it their all.

So why the mean perfectionistic voice that tells me my mothering is sub par?  Why does it tell me that to become angry and snap at my children means that I have failed them, myself, and the whole world?  Why does the perfectionist flash in front of me the faces of other mothers I know, and remind me how those women are so much more kind, gentle, and patient than I am?

It’s time to free myself from unrealistic expectations and allow myself to be a good enough parent.  It’s time to pat myself on the back for raising two healthy, happy kids.  It’s time to allow myself to be moody when I’m tired, and to forgive myself when I let fly some words of annoyance.  It’s also time to remind myself that it is perfectly normal to just plain lose my temper.

Knowing that listening to the hypercritical voice of the perfectionist makes me just plain miserable, it’s time to tune into a kinder gentler voice within myself.  It’s there, if I can quiet the perfectionist down and listen intently for a moment.  The perfectionist might be a disguise for the child in me who felt sad when her parents lost their temper.  This child might also balk at the idea that Mom can be aware enough of herself to practice some self-restraint.  She might be angry and envious that she wasn’t shown the same kind of consideration that I try hard  to give my kids.

To become a good enough parent means to me that I need to find some resolve within myself about the parenting I received.  This is pretty dangerous, because my emotional system wants me to stay exactly where I am and perpetuate what I inherited, so that I might pass it on to my children and my children’s children.  It seems disloyal to look back and identify mistakes that my parents made, instances in which they could’ve been more kind, more loving.  But looking back helps me to learn about myself and thus grow as a parent.  When I identify a painful memory and remember the feelings I had as the situation unfolded, I can muster the determination to not revisit that same pain on my own children.  Finding resolve within myself means that I can stop the cycle of not being good enough, and relax into who I am right now.

The change happens now.  I don’t have to wait to go a whole month without losing my temper to earn the title of “Good Enough Parent.”  I can identify where and how I am good enough right now. Here we go. Deep breath.  Say out loud, “I am a good enough parent. I am a good enough parent.  I am a good enough parent.”  Repeat until you believe it.

Whew.  Poem, then meditation, then bed.  Mama is tired!

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Dear sweet child,
do you see how much you’ve grown?
How the pain of your past
has carved a space in your heart
to give and receive great love?
Precious one, you are good.
You are talented, and lovable, and wonderful.
You need do nothing to earn love,
you ARE love, in every fiber of your being.
It has been a delight to watch you grow
into the fullness of who you are now.
I celebrate the being that you were,
the being that you are now,
the being that you will be.
From now until the end of all time,
my precious, sweet child–
I love you.