If you are seeing this post, not only have I written it (in draft), but I have felt stoic enough to hit publish.
I actually have another one on standby in case I chicken out.
I always feel very torn about writing such posts, because inevitably someone, a family member, a friend, or aquaintance thinks I am writing about them.
And perhaps in truth, I am. I have to be, because I am after all living in a world surrounded by relationships, and my experience of the world is often filtered through such relationships rightly or wrongly so.
So here it goes.
Mother’s Day can be tricky.
Some love it, some hate it, some want a big deal made, others not so much. It is a very personal celebration. I was reading some mothering/parenting groups on Facebook over the last week, and heard many women chatting about their experiences of Mother’s Day. And at times this was really heartbreaking. Because they had clear opinions about the day, but those around them, weren’t listening to them.
And if they were listening, they had chosen not to hear and act in a meaningful way, for whatever reason.
But it’s not just the mum’s who have opinions about Mother’s Day. Single people, sons and daughters, couples trying for babies, people who have lost babies, adoptees, foster kids, children, husbands, partners, girlfriends and boyfriends also hold opinions about the day. Both in relation to their own mothers and how it may impact them personally (ie having to make a fuss of their wife or mother).
What a minefield of opinions to navigate.
But the most important opinion here is that of the mother herself.
Prince Harry (not a source I normally quote- but wise words none the less) once said;
For me, empowering, has to do to listening to my heartbeat. When I share something of meaning with you, listen to it. Listen to what I am saying, what I am struggling to communicate, what is behind the emotion and sometimes, even the tears.
And once listened too, hear me! Not to answer but to hear, really hear. Not to judge me, or approve of my words, or point out to me why and where I am wrong.
Not because I am insecure and can’t handle this knowledge, but because right now you are receiving a glimpse into the very raw centre of who I am. Not everybody gets that.
Your opinion at this point is not relevant.
It will be in time, but right now, at this moment, it is not.
Your empathy is what’s relevant.
I just need to know that I have been heard and understood. That my opinion has mattered, that I have been empowered both to think the thoughts I think, to own the thoughts I think, to take responsibility for those thoughts and to have permission to say them out loud in a safe and loving space.
Saying them out loud helps me clarify my thoughts, it helps me see in another’s body language if I have misunderstood them or nailed it. It also takes the sting out of those thoughts, and releases me from their captivity when I have it wrong.
Our thoughts hold us.
By saying them out loud we either break their chains,
or we give them wings.
That for me is the pinnacle of respect. That the person who I have shown my soul too, handles that with respect, honour and dignity. There is not much more empowering than that for me.
The flow on effect is that those around me benefit from my empowering. My strength gives others strength. When I can stand strong, I can help others stand strong.
And while ultimately I am responsible for my own strength, well-being and happiness. No woman is an island. She needs to be both strengthened from within and without. I would argue that this is not bound to a particular gender and it is equally true for men as well. We need to hear each other’s hearts, and we need to understand one another better.
But what next?
Well I guess that depends doesn’t it?
And those actions will be unique to every situation, every relationship and every moment.
For me, it isn’t about being pandered to it’s about being heard and I think sometimes the two things get muddled up in relationships.
It isn’t about being agreed with either.
It isn’t about the other person compromising their integrity nor what they believe is right.
I think what it is about for me is empathy.
Before we form an opinion about what someone has said to us, have we first empathised?
And having empathised, do we still feel the same?
So maybe if the woman in your life is expressing discontent about Mother’s Day, or or any other day ending in Y, it might be worth hearing her out.
Her thoughts are just that, her thoughts. They don’t need your approval, they don’t need your judgement they don’t even need your agreement. They just need your empathy and your empowering permission to be granted a glimpse of her soul.
But I suspect, it will empower her to feel heard and not judged. To not have to fight to be heard, nor feel like she has to have an arguement to be listened too.
What you do with that knowlege, is up to you.
What she does with that empowering is up to her.