The belief I have that my children are worth every goodness in the world, every lucky break, every forgiveness. The desire I have that they know in their bones that they are beloved. What did they do to earn that?
Of course, they did nothing
They simply chose me to be their mama and then they existed. *poof* my belief that he is worth of a bottomless well of love and understanding suddenly existed with them. It is unwavering. They are worth trying to understand even better so I can love them in the way that resonates most deeply, in the language of their unique soul.
The knowledge that they are on a path all their own, is something that was difficult for my parents to see in their days of raising children. When the overwhelming goal was to have well behaved, productive children at any cost - the cost was always total compliance by the child and the loss of their voice, needs, or unique experience.
My inner child is begging for the same unconditional love I extend my children. The view that they are unique and worthy of understanding. My parent's version of unconditional love included subtitles - a language read between the lines that encouraged productivity to receive love. That encouraged not having needs, doing without, being easy, proving value, not being too much.
My intense, emotional, LOUD child self that had a big love to share was told these things didn't matter. Which sounded a lot like *I* didn't matter to small ears. That my love didn't matter, only what I could accomplish. These were the rules that I learned to live by. In order to deserve love, understanding, and rest, you need to prove you've been productive enough to earn it.
So, obviously, I learned not to want too much. Not too much love, understanding, or rest.
It's an expensive transaction and I'm increasingly unable to pay what my brain tells me is due. I cringe to think of how many times I have done a mental tally to reassure myself that I was adding more to the situation than I was taking. I cringe to consider how many times I am doing that still. How I am quieting the inner worry that I don't matter with the delicious satisfaction of productivity equaling value and the scales balancing in my favor.
But I can't imagine telling my sweet children that they can't rest their little bodies until they accomplish enough to earn it. That people won't love them if they aren't adding value to the situation. It's unfathomable to say this to them. And yet, it's also hard to acknowledge that I am, through my actions, the lack of rest I give myself, and harmful coping skills I fall back on of overworking. This is how I'm teaching them to be adults, how I'm teaching them to walk through the world. What we say to them matters, but what we model for them is the longer lasting life lesson.
One day, because of this challenging internal work I'm doing, I know the volume of my inner child voice will be lower, and I won't be able to imagine telling myself these things either.