Mother Yourself

The lesson to mother myself, or ground myself, keeps popping into my awareness. Layla Martin said in class a couple of weeks ago, that to understand self-love, we must become the mothers we wish we would’ve had. This is what I gathered from the class, my own inner knowing and lessons I have learned over the last few months, and the subtle hints I have been receiving for years as to what “mothering yourself” means:

To show up for ourselves, honor, nurture, and listen to our inner most needs and desires.
Instead of avoiding your needs and strong emotions, criticizing yourself, and neglecting care of yourself, to instead treat yourself like you would a small child.
It also looks like leaning into your emotions, feeling them while also holding space for yourself and listening to what comes up.
If you normally berate yourself for making mistakes, remind your inner child that he or she is still learning.
Hold compassion and acceptance for yourself, it teaches others to do the same of you and gives them permission to show up for themselves.
Take care of your basic needs first. We can’t expect to perform at the top of our game when we are behind on sleep, eating unhealthy foods, or being pulled in one million directions.
Learning how to say “no” to things that harm you are prevent you from going after your purpose is also mothering yourself.
It feels like having the mom in you reminding you to brush your teeth, eat your veggies, and go to bed at 10.

Sometimes, I have to be the harsh mama and ground myself. I go home when I feel cranky. I’m learning to tell my friends “no” to plans because I have something really important coming up and can’t stay out late, or just to honor the fact that I need time alone. To ground myself also includes taking away the distractions that are holding me back from achieving what I want most in life. It’s not always easy, and it’s often not what I “want” to do, but to truly parent ourselves, we can’t just give into what we want. It’s understanding that instant gratification doesn’t typically lead to long-term fulfillment.

As an ENFP, I have done a lot of research on my own Myers Briggs personality type, it’s a really ENFP thing to do. In my findings, I discovered my cognitive functions and what they mean to how I operate. In order of highest function to least: Extroverted Intuition, Introverted Feeling, Extroverted Thinking, and Introverted Sensing. I could go on for hours about all of these functions, how they show up in my life, and what I do about them. I will also add that being aware of yourself, knowing yourself on many different levels, and using that information to enhance your life is another form of mothering yourself!

My first two functions are what I operate the most in, and what the world sees of me. As an Extroverted Intuitive, I love, and get energized by, talking to people about ideas, expansiveness, connecting the dots, and piecing things together. I enjoy expressing and taking in the world through all of my senses and emotions on deep levels. My next function, Introverted Feeling, is what creates the need for alone time to process what I experience. I feel my inner world and create the connections to my outer world. Introverted Feeling gives me an opportunity to step back and get clear about what I want, need, and the next best step. This takes time and distance from others, and if I listen to when this needs to happen, it doesn’t need to take long. Stepping away gives me the space to write, create, workout in flow state, and design my ideal life and a place to retreat so that I respond instead of reacting. My alone time is a must for my well-being. If I neglect this cognitive function, I feel frantic. It’s like there is a ton of energy that needs to be diffused, felt, and processed. Sometimes, I get so far off, that I have trouble wanting to perform at my Extroverted Intuition function.

The last function in my Myers Briggs ENFP type is Introverted Sensing. This function is what I need to get back on track, to truly mother myself. In this space, I need structure: healthy eating, regular workouts, organizing my spaces, having a morning and bedtime routine, and grounding myself when necessary. I think it’s pretty cool that this is already part of my function for success. I believe everyone could use this structure, especially when you feel that life is a little out of control. We all need to be able to parent ourselves. We can’t expect anyone else to do it, and it is a huge act of self-love.

I left a weekend-long retreat today, about a day and a half early. I wanted to go to the event because it sounded fun. The activities listed were things I wanted to check out and there were so many options. It was out in nature, and it was opportunity to meet like-minded people. I thought it was what I needed at the time. Then, upon waking in my bunk, I realized that it wasn’t resonating with me. I also had the thought that I hadn’t had much time to myself lately and that is what I was craving. I did some yoga classes in the morning, and meditated on my decision. Instead of people-pleasing or worrying that I wasn’t going to get my money’s worth, I decided to do what was best for me. I packed my bags and as soon as I left the property, I felt amazing for having stood up for myself. I was the mother I needed at the time. I felt like I was my own mom picking me up from camp because I felt homesick. I listened to my inner knowing, and followed my intuition. It was SO empowering to say “no, this isn’t for me” and to not have to give anyone an explanation, to have my own resources (my own vehicle and gas) to come and go as I choose, and to choose ME before the opinions or laid out plans of anyone else.

Mothering yourself is not always easy. We want to rebel so we can look cool in front of our friends, we want to experience all of the events and can have a difficult time knowing when we need rest, or we never had a great example of what mothering yourself means or looks like. In the long term, mothering yourself is to experience pleasure. Pleasure is not about indulging or hedonistic behavior only. There’s absolutely a time and place for that! Pleasure is taking care of ourselves so we can feel vibrant, alive, and present to our lives. I do enjoy, and will experience bliss to the max, when biting into a decadent dessert, but I love how great I feel when I do things to take care of me. Working out gives me a natural high, and it feels great to have the energy and to sleep well at night because of the activity. I feel refreshed and ready to take on a new day after a good night’s rest. Choosing foods for their vibrancy and ability to give energy lifts my moods to pleasurable levels.

Already, I feel so much better and I am grateful I trusted my gut. I will continue to check in with myself, to honor my intuition, my needs, and my desires. Mothering yourself is a profound act of self-love. It teaches you to honor and accept yourself fully, to set boundaries, and to experience joy and pleasure. I commit to mothering myself and also showing myself that mothering, nurturing, and full acceptance when I slip off the path.

What can you do today to mother yourself?
When do you criticize yourself most?
What is your Myers Briggs type? Check out to find out!
What comes up for you (emotions, thoughts, sensations) when you think about what it means to mother yourself?
When was the last time you honored your own needs?
When was the last time you neglected to honor your own needs?
Finish this statement “Today I commit to…”

Check out Layla Martin at (life changing stuff!)

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