I once saw a humorous Mother’s Day menu that included, for a wine special, “oh, just half a glass of whatever you have open, I don’t want to trouble anyone.”
The joke being that moms never want to trouble anyone, even when it’s their special day.
That’s a joke that wears thin when you’re the mom. Mom’s are expected to be endlessly self-effacing and self-sacrificing. We give everything and don’t need anything. It can get downright exhausting.
Ever feel like you’re running on empty? Not living up to your potential? It might be time to treat yourself to some of the same tender loving care you give your family.
Tara Parker-Pope’s Well blog highlights the new movement for “self-compassion”. Self-compassion is a fancy term for how kindly people view themselves, and it affects everything from how depressed we are to how much we eat.
The trick, in essence, is to learn to treat ourselves with as much love and compassion as we extend to others. That means letting go of those critical voices that tell us we’re never good enough, not working hard enough, and just plain not enough. Instead of demanding more of ourselves, self-compassion argues, we need to accept who we are, foibles and all.
We do this for our kids. We do it, or at least try to do it, for our spouses. Anyone we’re close to gets a pass on some bad habits because, well, we love them.
Most of us are less forgiving when it comes to our own faults. We beat ourselves up for being lazy when we’re tired. We spend all our time and money trying to improve ourselves, to be more fit, more mindful, more productive, more attractive, just more.
Self-compassion says it’s time to take cut ourselves some slack. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more gentle we can be with ourselves, the more we can actually adjust our lives to be what we want. People who score high marks for self-compassion have less anxiety and depression, and even have an easier time losing weight.
Mindfulness practices like meditation are one great way to quiet our inner critics. For moms, it can be especially hard to get some time alone, but it’s also especially important. We’re better at our jobs, relationships and goals when we’re taking time to be kind to ourselves.
Photo: Grand Velas Riviera Maya