An overwhelming shame sits waiting in the wings of my motherhood parade. I miss them terribly when I’m apart from them, but when I spend day after day, chore after chore, a tantrum that turns into full-scale meltdown, I find my reserves waning.
The muddy water that shame brings to my reservoir of empathy implores me to once again sit in a place of reflection searching for clarity. I want desperately to care more about what my children think, rather than the empathy that grips my heart about the world at large. I want my children to know I care more about their fingers that have just caught in the bathroom door, than those images I am shocked by online.
It seems so noble to want to serve the world at large and spend my days trying to escape my everyday. Filling my social media feed with quotes and inspirations. Our lives were not designed to run away from; they were brought together with beautiful attention, detail and purpose.
Do my children know they are the apple of my eye?
Do they know when I am with them that my full presence and attention is theirs alone?
There is so much goodness to be found here on the internet, but the discipline it takes to stay fully present in the empathy of my moment today wears my patience thin. It’s so much easier to read an article about parenting than to implement the discipline required to diffuse the three-year-old time bomb before she turns thirteen.
Can it be both and?
The word nurture means to care for and protect something or someone while they are still growing. This is the call of motherhood. It is not a pretty call. It is not noteworthy, Instagram filter enhanced one, but it is the call that I prayed for year after year.
Each time I say no to the broader call of empathy to engage in the present reality of my every day I realise that nurturing is a lesson my heart needs to learn. I know both are possible and every time I surrender to an invitation to explore the world at large, the beauty that is birthed in my coming and going is profound. When I travel to places and sit in the gutters with families who exist daily with nothing, my perspective shakes and empathy once again tsunami’s my heart.
Everyday empathy is a call to nurture and protect even when we are tired, empty and feel so forgotten. Here I sit once again, reminding myself of moments of stark reality and committing myself to the terror of beginning again.
Shame thrives in darkness.
When we expose it to light, it struggles to stay in its current shape. Maybe the empathy that is required is an extension of understanding to myself, and it will overflow into every part of my world. One of the easiest ways to bring your shadow into light is by just admitting the conversations you are having with yourself.
We’re often afraid of looking at our shadow because we want to avoid the shame or embarrassment that comes along with admitting mistakes.
Self Empathy is a love we extend to ourselves, reminding our internal worlds how far we have come and how significant we are. Self Empathy is a balm that soothes over shame and replaces it with grace, reminding your weary soul that tomorrow you can begin again. Self Empathy is a self-love club that every person is invited to join, but many don’t realise the invitation lies unaccepted.
Shame balmed by empathy.
One extended to ourselves.