Today is Mother’s day. One of the most bittersweet days of the year for me. I’ve been estranged from my parents for several years. Most days it still seems like the right thing. When relationships are not healthy despite the best efforts of the parties involved, it’s better to sever them. That might sound harsh to some, but the ones who understand it, most likely understand because they have been through trauma in their relationships with their parents.
Not everyone has an easy childhood. And when you haven’t had a good relationship with your parents, it’s really hard to relate to things like the deluge of Facebook posts that happens on days like Mother’s day.
I’m not saying it’s bad for people to honor their mothers. It is absolutely the right thing to do. It’s just important to recognize that not everybody honors their mother in the same way. Some of us honor our mothers by choosing not to continue a relationship that causes pain on both sides. And that’s okay. It’s certainly preferable to giving or receiving guilt, blame, anger, and resentment.
I posted something on Facebook today acknowledging that this day is not easy for everyone. Several friends have lost their moms, a few are estranged from their mothers, and a couple have children who were lovingly given up for adoption. This day brings a vast array of emotions for many of us. It felt important to acknowledge those whose hearts have a bit of heaviness today.
Someone posted a comment to my post on Facebook, thanking me for the things I post in general as well as that specific post. It was nice to read those words. I’m mindful of what I share with people and daily work on keeping my personal energy clear and bright. To know that my words make people feel better means a lot to me. The compliment got me to thinking about something that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately.
How many times have we all heard (or read) that in order to love others we must first learn to love ourselves? This is one of the great mysteries of the universe in my opinion. It took me a really long time to learn what those words mean…a lifetime, really. But a few days ago, I had a moment of insight in which I realized I think I may have reached a place where I am mostly my own best friend. Coming from the other end of the spectrum, of being my own worst enemy, this feels very good, by comparison.
This realization came in a roundabout way. It was through others’ recognition and seeing that I am actually helping people. People I know over Facebook and people I’ve never met over Twitter and through this blog. And the most amazing and beautiful part of it is that I set out on this part of my journey as a way to help and heal myself because there was nobody else in my life at the time. I was always open to the idea that if even one other person felt a little less alone in the world because they read my words, that would be a blessing multiplied, but my primary concern most days was soothing my own troubled soul and getting through the day each day.
I’ve been on this path for a while now and for a lot of the past several years I’ve carried a burden on my heart of having people in my life I haven’t been able to forgive. Again, myself first, but there are others. Recently I decided to stop worrying about the people I feel this way about and work on forgiving myself, strengthening my relationship with God as I understand it, and choosing to live a happy life, come what may. Miracles are starting to happen as a result.
My feelings toward someone who has caused a lot of harm in my life have begun to soften. And a few nights ago, I found myself praying sincerely for my parents. In a way that a heart with even a shred of unforgiveness would be unable. In that very moment I knew a miracle had happened. I knew that miracles do happen in our lives and the only thing that keeps miracles away is unwillingness.
We humans like to place a lot of limits and conditions on things. When we let go of the need to do that so much, the world opens up like a flower.
The Buddhist metta meditations always starts with oneself. We radiate kindness that we first give to ourselves. It’s lovely.
Figuring out how to be your own best friend, and how to let others be exactly who they are without needing anyone to do, say, or be anything other than what their heart tells them to be, that is true freedom. When you are free, truly free in your heart and soul, you have the keys to the kingdom.
And in my humble opinion, when you find yourself in possession of the keys to the kingdom, the right thing to do is make copies and pass them out to everyone you meet.