“Loving yourself… does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.”

~Margo Anand

A month ago, I heard from the lips of my 5 year old daughter while falling asleep “Mami, papa says you are selfish.”  At this moment, my world stopped, my heart started pounding, and it felt like my heart was stabbed slowly. I started breathing deeply to hold my tears and only remembered crying to sleep.

It is so interesting to see the many sides of my identity reacting to this experience. My first reaction was to be shocked, then angry at my daughter’s dad for saying those things about me in front of her. Who does that? How dare he do that?  Why is he saying bad things about me to my daughter?  Is this his new way of attacking me passive aggressively?  

The fighter in me took the lead and started building a case of WHY he is such a “terrible” human.  My reactive victim self had an angry pity party!  After I acknowledged my anger, felt it, and chose to experience and release it in a healthy way, I stopped blaming my daughter’s dad for my anger and extreme discomfort.   To my surprise, something interesting happened… 

I started the process of questioning my thoughts and asking myself questions…Why is being selfish bad? Why did I have big emotions around the simple word selfish? Why is he saying that I am selfish? 

Oh I see,  for the first time since becoming a mom, I gave myself permission to have a solo self love weekend to reboot, recharge and reconnect with myself.  My energy tank was running extremely low, and when it got to negative digits, I made a last minute getaway decision. Why?

I learned to listen to my body, mind, heart and soul and they were all desperately screaming that something had to be done.  You see, when we become moms, it is understandable that our obligation and biggest responsibility is to take care of our children’s needs, wants and desires.  Our todo list is interminable and there is no sight, space and time to attend and take care of ourselves. Usually, because there is not much time left, we tend to leave ourselves behind and tend to be the absolute last item on our to-do list.  

When you are in a co-parent relationship, you share your child.  Our custody agreement is always alternate weekends.  When my daughter goes with her dad- I usually do things locally and I am always close by, just in case she wants to come home earlier. Things changed that weekend.  I chose to drive solo 3.5 hours to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and be close to the water.  I booked a waterfront room and replenished my whole being.  It felt amazing, and I gave myself attention, appreciation and love without any distractions.  I ate the most yummy food, saw the sunrises, and sunsets, meditated next to the water, and picked shells while the warm water was caressing my feet.  

The reason why I was judged as selfish was because I was not available and chose to get away and “self indulge” for 3 days.  Moms don’t do that, right?   Certainly, I didn’t learn that from my mom.  

My mom was the most selfless, kind, loving, devoted, compassionate, caring and super busy human that I’ve ever known. God bless her in heaven. My mom was a saint living in a human body.  I saw her love and heart for everyone, and at the same time I experienced how her light was slowly dimming and debilitating.  She didn’t take care of herself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and in my humble opinion ultimately caused her to get physically and terminally ill.   You see, I experienced how my mom’s energy, vitality, and vibrant personality dimmed very slowly.

For my generation of women, we’ve been taught early on to be nice, kind, sweet, loving, caring, pleasing and accommodating to every one.  We learn to care for others, give and give some more, even if there are times we don’t have anything to give. You never put yourself first, because it is selfish… 

Oh my, being labeled as a selfish girl, a selfish woman and a selfish mom is a big moral condemnation!  Too much emphasis on the self is considered vain, self absorbed, judged, negative and even narcissistic.  When you are judged as selfish, it’s so hard! And to make it worse, to hear it from the voice of your 5 year old, it’s really tough.

It has taken me more than a month to process, digest and integrate this enormous trigger…  Even though I have many tools in my toolbox as an associate certified coach, I have to confess that this trigger was a big one for me.  It went from a considerable challenge to a big time blessing.  Why?  Because it made me stop, step back, observe and reflect on my emotional reactivity around the judgement of being condemned as a selfish mom.  

I experienced hurt and pain because of the meaning, negative stories, connotations, and ancient limiting beliefs I’ve learned along the way that I’ve attached to that simple word.  That emotional reactivity that automatically takes me to a fighting coping mechanism, and takes me to a place of defensiveness and survival from a bully attack.   After I allowed myself to experience big emotions, I chose to own my “selfish ways”, and free myself from those emotional chains around caring what people think of me.

Today, I stand in my power persona and loudly state that I really care about myself and how I feel.  In order for me to be the best human I can be, I have to take care of my whole being first.  This will allow me the energy, time, and space to be the best mom I can be, and model a new way of being as a wholesome woman to my daughter. 

What does self love really mean? It means giving yourself permission to listen and connect to your body, embrace your emotions, assess your energy, question your thoughts, and listen to that gut feeling/intuition we tend to dismiss so many times!  It’s creating a healthy and loving relationship with yourself and attending to your needs, wants, and desires.  Why does this matter? We’ve been taught to always have a relationship with the whole world first, leave ourselves behind and constantly belittle and betray our own being.  

I’ve come to realize with lots of reflection, my mom’s experience, age, two non-happy ever after marriages, and a healing journey, that the most important relationship to nurture is the relationship with your whole self.  When you show up from a healthy and wholesome place, you give with a full love and energy tank, and life becomes satisfying, fulfilling and joyful.  Because at the end of the day,  you are the only one responsible for the way you feel and you’re happy ever after!

Socary Rodriguez is an Global ICF associate certified coach (ACC) and reinvention strategist and works with high achievers and empathic women that are going through transitions in life, love and leadership. She guides her clients to REVIVE, by remembering their courage, confidence, worth and JOY! You can connect with Socary at [email protected] or schedule a complimentary connection call here ==>https://www.socaryrodriguez.com/connect-1