ENCOURAGE YOURSELFFor me that looked like telling myself- “That’s okay baby, you’re doing the best you can.” Mothers are our cheerleaders. They are compassionate with us when we fail. When we disappoint them or ourselves, they motivate us to DO BETTER next time. Give yourself the grace of the mother.
PHYSICAL CAREGIVINGBathe yourself. Brush your hair. Lotion your body. Nurse yourself. Feed yourself. Dress yourself, dote on yourself, every detail. This is important, because I started to tell myself that the neglect I had engaged in was a result of the fact that I consider myself to be low maintenance. You are worth the time. There is nothing more important than caring for yourself. You cannot effectively take care of others from a place of emptiness. This could look like bundles and lashes, or a fresh wash and go, but being faithful in tending to my personal needs reminded myself of my worth and value.
SPIRITUAL WORKCelebrate yourself. Pray for yourself. Love yourself unconditionally. Celebrating the fact that we exist is what our mothers do before we come into this world. Even when they are anxious about our arrival, they gather with other women to shower themselves with gifts, love and advice. Remember that you are a blessing to this world. We are what our mothers and grandmothers prayed for. I firmly believe this. But we need to follow their lead and pray for ourselves. Find quiet time to meditate, grieve, feel, acknowledge our past mistakes, and forgive ourselves. Teach yourself. Listen to yourself. Listen to the advice of trusted friends, take what resonates, and let them love on you. This is what mothers do. This saved me. Mothering, something that had become a mundane and repetitive part of my life, pulled me out of the darkness. I know that all of our mothers didn’t or couldn’t love us in this way. I acknowledge this. But the general understanding of what motherhood looks like helped me see how I needed to treat myself. I needed tenderness, kindness, care, and grace. The grace of a mother. Important Note: I am not a mental health care professional. This is my story. I encourage you to seek services from either traditional , non-traditional/spiritual practitioners, because there is no shame in getting support. You deserve to heal and be whole. Here are resources:
THE HEALING IN OUR TIMES PROJECT- Curated by Jade T. Perry
THERAPIST DIRECTORY- Curated by Dr. Joy, TherapyforBlackGirls.com