My daughter, Marion, has a special relationship with her pacifier, affectionately known as “Binky.”
So much so that she is almost three and we just recently said “bye-bye” to her beloved binky for good, after several failed attempts. I was hesitant to take something away that brought her so much security and reassurance; however, once I started realizing that it was doing significant damage to her teeth, I put my foot down and threw it in the trash.
The first night was hard—it broke my heart to see her cry. It was a genuinely devastated cry. She had just suffered a loss in her life. She had to separate from something that was her go-to for comfort and peace. I try to put myself in my children’s shoes when I interact with them and ask myself the question: “What would I need in this situation?”
When I asked myself how to soothe my devastated child, what I heard was, “Fill it with love.”
So I sat down on the kitchen floor with her and pulled her into my lap. I literally filled that void with love. I filled it with so much love that I actually cried with her. And then I took her face in my hands and said, “I know this is hard, but you are so loved and we are going to do this together. You are not alone. I am here for you.”
And that was it. She knew she was supported and didn’t need her pacifier anymore. Love is a much more powerful force than we realize—where there is pure love, fear can’t exist.
Marion hasn’t looked back since. I see her now with new eyes. She seems older and wiser. I will never forget that moment with her on the kitchen floor and how beautiful it was. There was growth between the two of us that can only happen when love is involved.
This experience made me think about myself and how I react to stress and fear.
My whole life, I have been searching for someone or something to make me feel secure, and it occurred to me that I could be that person for myself. I could fill my own void with self-love. After all, if I can do it for my children, then why can’t I do it for me? Why shouldn’t I be there for myself? I am the best person for that. I am the one constant in my life—the only one who’s really permanent, so why not me?
Why is it that I can respond to my children with compassion instead of judgment, but I am the first one to beat myself up in certain situations? In response to this, I have been trying to do just that—show up for myself when I feel that old familiar feeling of fear creeping in. I have been trying to respond to my insecurities and errors from a compassionate and loving place, instead of tearing myself to pieces. I have been trying to fill the void with the hardest kind of love—self-love.
Who would have ever thought I would learn this lesson through my three-year-old daughter’s pacifier? For years, that pacifier was the bane of my existence, but now I see the significance in it all. Everything happens for a reason—as insignificant as it may seem at the time. It’s all laid out for us with more support and love then we can ever imagine.
Let’s all show up for ourselves, let’s all be our own knight in shining armor.
Let’s all fill it with love.
Author: Christa Warnock
Image: Maria Montagnari/Flickr
Editor: Danielle Beutell