Tomorrow in the United States, people around the country will take time out to celebrate Mother’s Day. Florists and restaurants will be bustling with patrons as children everywhere endeavor to show Mom just how much she is appreciated. Even those whose mothers have passed will take a moment to reflect and remember times gone by.
My mother transitioned from this stage of existence nearly 10 years ago and within the first few months of her passing, I discovered and purchased a beautiful pottery vase for the specific purpose of filling it with flowers each year on Mother’s Day and her birthday. You see, Mom had an extensive array of glass bud vases, all shapes, sizes and colors that proudly held cherished rose buds from her rose garden. Each room would have at least one vase proudly displayed in a prominent spot and if it was an especially good season, often two or three vases would adorn any given room. Even now, I can close my eyes and imagine the fragrance permeating the air.
This display of colorful, happy, little vases strewn around the house represented one of the very few ways my mother indulged herself. Like so many women, mom made her family and friends the priority often putting their needs and desires before her own. It comes naturally to a mother to be self-sacrificing and filled with unconditional love for her children, especially when they are young and even after they have grown and my mother was no exception. However, as a young adult it became apparent to me that my mother’s unconditional love did not extend to herself. In spite of my mother being a stunningly beautiful woman (a model), naturally thin (no matter what she ate) and incredibly talented (a professional musician and singer at one point) her self-worth was lower than one would imagine. No matter how often those who loved her showered her with expressions of affection it couldn’t/didn’t change how she ultimately felt about herself.
Looking around and as I communicate with women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, I realize how pervasive this theme is in today’s culture. With tremendous access to a plethora of self-help tools at our fingertips, how is it that so many still struggle to honor personal needs, desires, and successes? And how can we as women shift this way of being? Could we shift this by simply taking a moment each day to acknowledge our individual uniqueness?
Let’s begin with this special day, dedicated to women. I challenge every woman reading this to take a moment on Mother’s Day to honor themselves. We will all be sending waves of gratitude to other women in our lives but how about taking a few more minutes to do the same for yourself. Here is my challenge: identify one thing you appreciate about yourself and perform a meaningful act in celebration of YOU. Whether you place a vase with a rose from your garden next to your bed or you indulge in a hot bath, take a few minutes out of your day to remember that before we can effectively spread unconditional love to those around us we must first focus that love on ourselves, amplifying and reinforcing our own inner strength.
“Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begin.”
~ Mitch Alborn