November 23, 2021

A Letter to my Children as I Learn to Love Myself: I’m Sorry.

To my children, I’m sorry for the unhealed parts of me that may have hurt you. It was never a lack of love for you—only a lack of love for myself.

I am far from perfect; in fact, I spend most of my time floundering around the imperfect end of the pool.

Trying hard to improve my strokes and keep my head above water, and even then I falter and find my head sinking below the shallow water. Treading water and praying I will soon reach the safety of the side of that pool of life, where I’ve found myself diving in without any sort of a life raft, on more than one occasion.

But there’s one thing I did perfectly. One job that brought me more love and more pride than anything I have ever done. Having you two.

I, like most parents, had this map of how life was going to turn out. Never having the gift of seeing into the future, I, all of a sudden, could see the story of our lives unfold. Of course, like most stories, there’s a whole lot of fairy tales, little reality, and an element of conditioning and conforming. We don’t know what we don’t know and therefore bring our limited beliefs into being parents.

We bring our wounds and all those unhealed bits with us, completely unaware, with no insight into the effects this has on us as parents.

My beautiful children, I loved you so much and wanted so desperately to take any pain away that I didn’t allow you to set your own boundaries. I’m so sorry.

I know my motherly instinct was strong and keeping you safe was something I would do at all costs. But my own healing and growth has shown me there are better ways and that I didn’t need to wrap you up in cotton wool. I didn’t need to step in when you were going through tough times; instead, I needed to hold space for you, support you, and let you make decisions.

My beautiful children, I was so desperate to protect you that I stripped away the trust you had in yourself to make decisions. I’m so sorry.

When you were sad, my heart would break. The thought that you were hurting would hurt me—literally, I could feel your pain. My answer to this was to make you happy—shopping, a treat, whatever had to be done to make you forget.

What a terrible disservice I did to you both. If only I knew then that I just had to be there, listen, and maybe give you some tools to support you. We all get sad, and we need to unpack these feelings and allow ourselves to feel the emotions.

My beautiful children, in my desire to always see you happy, I taught you how to distract yourself from what you were feeling. I’m so sorry.

When you would face your struggles, I know I was there for you. But I was there for you in the only capacity I knew, and that was to try and fix you. I made the mistake of giving never-ending advice, advice that in hindsight was not helpful at best and at worst damaging. Perhaps even invalidating how you felt, with my own ideas of how we could fix whatever was wrong. I didn’t allow you to find your own solutions.

My beautiful children, in my fear of seeing you struggle, I overcompensated by trying to fix you, and that removed your power and forever made you a victim. I’m so sorry.

When Dad and I separated, I know it was hard for you, but I was so up in my own head that I don’t think I held the space for you—space for you to discuss your feelings. I now know this has impacted you. But I have dug deep and I’ve really battled my shadows. I’ve put my ego aside and tackled my limited beliefs, and I’ve removed myself from that box I put myself in. The box of conformity. The box where I hid myself because I didn’t know any better.

I was so afraid of judgement that I allowed myself to lose my true essence. I was so afraid to disappoint you both that I lost my rawness; I lost my truth; I lost myself. I was so busy listening to what everyone else thought I should be that I created that person and she became just a version of who I really am. And when we lose the connection to our authentic self, we lose the truth in our connection with others.

My beautiful children, I’ve made many mistakes, but I’m here to own them. There are things I could have done so much better. I’m so sorry.

In my need for you to see me a certain way, I took away the ability for you to see the real me. But no more, because the real me has found herself. The real me knows so much better now. The real me is perfectly imperfect.

My lessons can become your teachings. My gift to you both is the me outside of the box. A mum who fell hard and painfully but picked herself up and used her lessons, pain, and mistakes to grow and heal the parts of herself she never knew were broken. I’ve learnt the power of healing, in all its darkness and messiness, can be the catalyst for others to heal.

My beautiful children, my love for you is unconditional.

My home is always your home. My arms are always open, and you will always have a safe space to be your messy, authentic selves. In forgiving myself, I gave myself permission to grow, be better, do better. In learning to love myself, I am showing you both what self-love can do, and hopefully that’s the greatest lesson I can teach you.

I’m starting to swim a whole lot better these days, messy, and imperfect strokes, but my head is well above water, and the most beautiful thing of all, I’m good with exactly who I am and my very own style of swimming.

Always, my beautiful children.

 

Hearted by and 3 other readers

 

~

 

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