It’s Love Yourself First! Friday, and we’re continuing our May Tribute to Mothers. Since May is their special month (although every day of every month should be a celebration of motherhood), we’re dedicating LYF to them.
We asked three mothers to participate; they agreed, so we asked them thoughtful questions about self-love, and they eloquently answered with wisdom! So, here’s the second self-love story in the tribute series.
Our community liaison, Angela Eddings, asked her mother, Mary, these heartfelt questions, and her answers were very inspiring, to say the least. We appreciate that she shared her experiences with us. You’re beautiful, Mama Eddings!
How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?
I love myself first by accepting myself fully, just as I am. I am pleased and thankful for who I am. I came to a place in my life (I would say during my forties) where I was completely satisfied with my family, my life, and myself. I try to live in a place of gratitude and positivity. People are always asking me why it seems as if nothing is ever wrong with me or why I’m never upset. Well, I believe it’s not that I don’t feel those emotions, I just try to ‘stay in my lane’ and not let what’s going on around me interrupt my joy.
What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc.)
Self-care is very important to me; I try to avoid negative thoughts by focusing on something beautiful and pure when it enters my head – like my granddaughter, for example. I look for the good in everyone, which isn’t hard to do when you’ve been on the planet 74 years!
I also pay attention to the simple things and find God in those places. For example, I’m awakened by the birds chirping, and I know it’s God. I count the butterflies I see. All of these things I’m doing, my daughter has taught me, are a part of living in the moment. This directly correlates to self-care of my body because when I’m living in the moment I focus on my breathing, and in turn, the feelings and emotions go through my body, and I know it’s my spirit that is lightened. Now, I know that it’s all a cycle: positive thoughts and feelings/emotions equal a lighter spirit; thus, a more intimate relationship with God.
Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led you to a deeper love for who you are?
There are many obstacles I’ve endured and grown from. Losing relatives; my mother, and more recently my son. I’ve learned to accept transition, and the power of the spirit world. But lately, my husband, whom I’ve been married to for 56 years, is ill. I am of course his primary caregiver, and it becomes difficult at times; however, it is teaching me patience. After 56 years you would think I have gotten that down, but his weakness has become my strength. And this has definitely helped me acquire a deeper love for myself.
What have you learned about yourself from being a mother? How has it helped your personal development?
I have learned from being a mother that my children represent all the accomplishments and successes that I wasn’t able to achieve for myself, especially my daughter. I am in awe of her, especially since she’s become a mother. I wanted all my children to do what I couldn’t or wasn’t given the opportunity to do. I learned my children’s rewards are mine.
What have you learned from self-love?
I have learned: yes, I can. Yes, I will. And yes, I do…to all of the above.
Love Yourself First! Friday is a weekly self-love series created by the Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women of color tell their stories of triumph, share their personal affirmations, and declare their love for their own lives! The series is meant to inspire and empower women to fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self-esteem. Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.