Day 2 has a focus on forgiveness and being at peace with one's self.
For me this may prove to be the most difficult part of the journey. I often struggle with self-forgiveness.
Some wounds that require self-forgiveness:
1. I raise my voice at my son more than I would like knowing that this akin to blowing the horn of a car at a cow in the middle of the road. It's not going to change the situation or make my son do what I would like. I cannot parent from the couch or across the room. But it's important forgive myself for the instances in which this happens and just try to do better next time.
2. I have tried spanking as a disciplinary tool as a last resort. I tell my children to use gentle hands and never to hit another living thing. It is hypocritical of me to then use physical punishment as a disciplinary tool. I will forgive myself for spanking and resolve to never do it again. I can feel good about the fact that I apologized for it to my son and explained that it was not right.
3. There have been people along the way that have helped me. I have not always repaid them for that help or even truly thanked them for it. I am changing that aspect of myself and trying to truly appreciate when I have received assistance and thank them for it. I will forgive myself for this and hopefully my inner work will help me change this aspect of myself.
Part of being at peace with who I am as a mother means losing the guilt over these wounds and others. Realizing that I am doing the very best I can with the resources and knowledge that I have. I know that my children are not an extension of me and they will see the world differently than I do or my husband does. I rejoice in this. One of my parenting practices I believe makes a difference is that I try to give an honest explanation for every request I place on my child. Sometimes this means that my son will find another way to achieve what he hears I ultimately want other than the way I asked him to. This is fine. I love that he is thinking it through in his own way. Really is my way the only way? No! My son is wildly creative and he will probably always find a way that is 'outside the box' to do what needs to be done. Great!
Part of the reason this post is so poignant for me is that I tend to acknowledge disappointment and loss by pushing it down deep and locking it away. I do not grieve as deeply as is necessary to forgive and move on. This lets old wounds fester until the infection and explosion point. Acknowledging this in my adulthood has led me to some much needed healing. It's also helped me to realize that this avoidance leads me to burn bridges that I may need later. Maybe some can still be repaired? However I need to forgive myself for the ones that cannot.
Today's focus on forgiveness leads me to contemplate how I've encountered many people who blame their parents for their shortcomings. I myself have done this. Letting go of this is key to healing and changing. Parents give a foundation for life. Our parents were on a journey just as we are. They are not perfect. We have many years after we have left our parent's nest to change what we do not like or enrich what we did. How boring would life be if you left your parents knowing and having everything you needed in life? In my mind forgiveness requires accountability. This means that once we start our journey of adulthood we use the foundation our parents gave us as we see fit.
Essentially what this comes around to for me is that blame and guilt are two powerful negative emotions that I will lessen in my life. I am human, flawed, and limited and I love myself.
My parenting mission statement from Day 1's inner work:
I will empower my children to live their lives with caring, compassion and honesty.