How to Be Enough

self_loveOne thing parenthood is good for on the path to spiritual growth is showing us our limitations. Last Friday I met a few of mine and let me tell you…they are a scary looking bunch. The sort of fellows a girl doesn’t want to find her self alone with in a dark alley.

Last week, I got feedback from a near stranger that nailed me right between the eyes. She took one of my greatest strengths – being a leader – and flipped it over to expose me for the equally poor follower that I am. This feedback wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to hear. It sort of knocked me off my feet because on some level, I knew she was right. She had seen a flaw in me and she let me know it, leaving me to stare straight at this glaring hole in the fabric of what is “me”. I could only agree with her. I had been a poor follower.

It dawned on me that this is the way of the world. So often our greatest gift, turned upside down, is also our greatest weakness. Think about it. A person praised for being truthful might at times be criticized for being harsh, a gentle spirit might be perceived as weak, a good listener as closed lipped and an open book sort of friend as a not so very good listener; for every gift a challenge.

Now I had a choice. I could sit around and beat myself up about this all weekend or I could go in another direction with this self revelation. I could practice what my yoga teacher has been inviting me to practice class after class…namely compassionate self love. Why not?

Turns out the next day I had signed up to be on this overnight yoga retreat. NICE. Coincidence? I think not. Just what the doctor ordered. A day and a half of yoga, nature, breathing, movement, stillness and silence to help me try on this thing called compassionate self love. Before I entered into this new place…I cried. I let the feelings in and cried. Not a lot of drama-sort-of-cry; more like a hanging out with an old friend and then saying goodbye sort-of-cry.

And then it happened. I went on retreat and somewhere in the silence of a day and a half silent retreat with 15 women I didn’t know and my yoga teacher Chris, between the movement and the stillness of it all, I fell completely and totally in love with myself. I really did; even with those parts of me that just the day before made my stomach churn. I was sitting in our final meditation of the first night when I heard the voice from within. It was a sweet, deep, loving voice. It said, “Hi. Did you know I love you just the way you are?” “You DO?!?” I said back…”Really?” “Yes” the voice answered back simply. “Yes.”

And so it was that by the end of this conversation in my head that I found my mantra. ‘I love myself. I am enough.” And in this moment I stopped struggling to be better, to be more. I felt a burning love deep inside me, a fire fueled equally by my gifts, my weaknesses and my flaws.

Moms and dads, this week, as we see ourselves for who we are and who we are NOT, as we see our kids for who they are and who they are not, let’s see if we can love whatever shows up. Maybe, just maybe our kids will grow up knowing and loving themselves because of and more importantly in spite of who they are. Compassionate self love: a lesson worth learning.

“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  …As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” –Marianne Williamson

Suzanne, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne owns a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers life coaching as Zen Mommy Coach and parenting tips through the positive parenting e-Book Yogi Parenting.

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  1. My wife and daughter are away from us boys on vacation this week, so I don’t have our little marital/family minutiae to focus on–positively or negatively. I have a lot of time to myself, which I can use either to pay attention or distract. Last night (thanks, Guitar Hero III) was distract. I’m fairly certain the urge toward distraction isn’t only the organic nature of the ADD, but also the aversion to spending too much time with what I tend to find on reflection. The reflections lately have led to much self-derision. You’ve reminded me of a positive way to spend that reflective time (other than patting myself on my back for beating Slash on Medium…).

    Thanks for sending me this timely message, ZM. Although I didn’t start the post with the “good timing” in mind, I’m smiling now at just realizing it.

  2. ZM, if your post where a book, I’d be highlighting away right now! First of all, IS IT a coincidence that I posted the same thoughts from Marianne Williamson on our Facebook discussion board on Sunday, while you were still on retreat (from @JenChicago, no less)? GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!! 🙂

    And of course, your words continue to heal the lessons I called to myself on Friday: “Every gift a challenge!” Yes!

    Sounds like Gili Meno don’t you think, Adam?

  3. Julie Bailey says:

    Thanks for this very moving post. I normally don’t get moved to tears by these things but this is exactly what I am going through. As a mom of two boys aged 3 and 2, I have these moments of self doubt and harsh self criticism. I love my boys more than anything but I as they grow so do my expectations. When I step back from these expectations I see them for the beautiful kids they are and just love them. That’s all, just love them and in turn love myself.

    thanks again,

  4. julie, ria, adam…your comments touched me deeply. so glad to read how this message of compassionate self love has taken root in your hearts too. thank you for the gift you give the world when you are just FLAT OUT LOVE YOURSELF these days!!!! right here, right now…just as we are…we are love.

    hug to self and to you!…smiles. wink. smiles. this self love stuff can be very contageous…so watch for it!!! has a tendency to spread like wild fire to all those you are in contact with. let’s hope, right?

  5. I was just reading this morning from Sara Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance about compassionate self love and what it means to live authentically.
    Being authentic human beings starts with that exact compassion you found,,,Seeing the light in both our strengths and weaknesses. (And like you observed, they are often times two sides of the same coin).

    Anyway, the quote I wanted to share was this,
    ““Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else”
    -Judy Garland

    Who cares if you aren’t the best follower? You are an awesome leader. Go with it!
    I bet the retreat was awesome. Would love to do one myself someday.

    P.S. I love starting my day with several sun salutations too 😉