I’ve struggled with being a single parent. It is so hard to see your kids hurting through the pain of divorce. Their lives are turned upside down and it will affect them for the rest of their lives. They struggle with having their parents apart. They struggle with their emotions. They don’t know how to express themselves. They act out in ways you don’t expect. Life is hard for them, and subsequently it’s hard to parent them.
Tonight I had to do some reflection after a struggle. I had to walk away and think about how I was going to react and not say or do something I would regret. I did that because nothing matters to me more than the people my kids will become. I know that I, as their parent, am a model for adulthood. They have other models in their lives too, but one of the greatest privileges (and responsibilities) as a parent is that you get to be the most consistent model to your kids of what it means to be an adult. So I think carefully about how I talk around them. I don’t want them to grow up to be self-critical so I work hard to avoid criticising myself around them. I want them to be kind and geltle with their words, so I try my hardest to model that. I want them to care about how they make people feel. I am far from “perfect” and have my share of moments as a mom that I am less than proud of. The things I am working towards are important to me because my kids matter. They matter to me. They matter to God. They matter to the world.
To that extent my response to the difficult situation I faced tonight, after talking it through and reflecting on the situation with a good friend, was to remind my kids that we all matter. They matter. I matter. Other people matter. All of our feeling matter. We are responsible for how we make people feel and because people matter we have to make sure we don’t leave them feeling sad or bad.
I was thinking more about this after the kids went to bed, and after reading something recently a friend wrote, I have to say I think we all need to hear this more. Whether you struggle with your self-image, or you struggle with your self-worth or your weight, with relationships or parenting, addiction or maybe you just feel like you have nothing going for you and sometimes you feel like giving up. I feel it’s a safe bet that probably more than 90% of people reading this struggle with something like what I listed above. Let me tell you something you may not have heard recently but should hear every single day. You matter! You are beautiful the way you are! You are worthy! You are so much more than you will ever give yourself credit for! Your life is worth it! You are worthy of having a good life!
If you’re thinking to yourself right now, “No I’m not”, I have a message for you: That thought in your head disagreeing with what I am saying is a lie.
I still struggle with my self-image and other things. I am slowly starting to see myself for who I am. I am more than what I perceive as my flaws. I am perfectly unique and perfectly me. I’m sick of the idea that I have flaws. Yes, there are things in my life I’m not “proud” of, but they are a part of me. Just like being a mother to 2 awesome children is a part of me, my weight is a part of me. Every single detail that makes me who I am, makes me unique and different from everyone else. I consider my flaws and see them as another part of me. I like who I am. I like that I am starting to feel beautiful again- despite images on the media and many advertisements that tell me I should lose weight- and that feeling is amazing. I have so many good people in my life who see me for who I am, not what the scale reads. They don’t see me for the acne I occasionally break out with or the size of my dress. They see me for my personality, my character, my compassion and my openness. As far as I know they don’t have secret discussions where they talk about all of the things I should change about myself. The only person who ever did that was me about myself. As soon as I started realizing I am perfect just the way I am, I started to feel happiness enter back into my life.
I have been talking to some of my friends lately and sharing some of my happiness with them. Many of my friends have said things to me like “you deserve it”. I couldn’t figure out what that meant. What did I do to deserve it? Was there some secret sauce that I finally found and my friends knew about all along? So I asked one of my friends and she let me in on a secret that was pretty profiund to me. She told me that everyone deserves it. She is sooooo right! Everyone does deserve to be happy. It might not be what we think will bring us happiness, but we really all do deserve it. Because every single one of us matters.
So if you’re reading this, please feel free to share this message with people. I think everyone should hear it. We will never really know the struggles other people face daily. Mentally, financially, physically, or more, we all have our battles. Every single person should know that through those battles they matter. Be the person that tells them that. Be the person who cares. And always remember, You Matter Too!