As we think about Mother’s Day, most of the public conversation focuses on showering love on all the Mamas out there who are raising the next generation of humans who will soon be inheriting the planet. And it’s well-deserved!
Speaking as a mother of two young girls, I know that mothering children is a beautiful, complex, and challenging role. All those involved in this journey of motherhood deserve so much more than breakfast in bed or a bouquet of flowers – though those things are certainly appreciated. Mothers – and all women – deserve a deeper and more nuanced cultural understanding of the complex dynamics of motherhood, not only in how they mother their own children, but in how they were mothered themselves.
Let’s also not forget that while some people happily celebrate Mother’s Day, other daughters are deeply sad about a beloved mother no longer here. That said, not everyone had or has a cherished relationship with their mother. For some, the relationship may be complicated or painful.
Here at The Shift Network, one of our key Impact Areas for social change is Women’s Empowerment. We focus on supporting women in expanding their inner capacities and building deeper and more resilient confidence, self-worth, and agency — as well as expanding beyond personal glass ceilings.
One force (among several, including patriarchy) that contributes to deflating women’s self-confidence is the “Mother Wound.” Inherited and subconscious patterns from childhood can give us a sense that we are somehow “not enough.” We might feel shame about who we are and what we choose to do with our lives. We might feel constrained in our personalities and emotions and “play small” so we can fit in and be accepted. We might feel jealous and competitive toward other women and their accomplishments. The list goes on.
It’s not fair or appropriate to blame our mothers for all of our challenges — they were likely doing the best they could with the tools they had to navigate the life circumstances they were facing.
In addition, many of our mothers’ own beliefs and behaviors were likely passed down from their mothers, who inherited them from their mothers. And so on. It’s important to have compassion toward our mothers while we unpack the unhelpful beliefs that we may have unconsciously inherited.
Yet I find that what is often perceived as a personal issue derived from our relationship with our own mother and her beliefs is actually a spiritual issue.
We long for an idealized vision of “The Great Mother” who is a fountain of unconditional love, endless support, and deep nurturance. We compare our mothers — and ourselves — to this unattainable archetype and feel our own human mother has fallen short.
However, we can consciously cultivate a relationship with The Great Mother energy that exists as a universal force. We can bring more of Her healing balm into our own deepest places of longing and hurt. And as we do, we initiate a profound process to heal our own mother wound and mother guilt.
Here’s a simple exercise to reconnect with this nourishing maternal energy:
- Begin by simply relaxing into a comfortable chair and imagining that you are sitting in the lap of an unconditionally loving mother figure. She may be someone you’ve personally known and loved, a public figure, a character from film or TV, a goddess, or someone else who feels deeply nurturing.
- Notice what she feels like… what she smells like… and imagine that she is simply holding you and pouring love into your most painful places.
- Imagine she is looking into your eyes with an energy of deep acceptance.
- Imagine she is telling you that she loves you, you matter, you belong.
- Allow yourself to take in this loving healing energy. Feel it seeping into your heart, your organs, your cells and bones. Allow this energy to fully flow through your body out into the space around you.
- Practice saying these words: “I am more than enough. I am loved. I matter. I belong.”
This powerful practice is a simple gift that you can give yourself this Mother’s Day. And to have the deepest and most lasting benefit, I encourage you to do this practice every day for a week.
If you want to dive more deeply into healing your Mother Wound, please check out my mini-course which is available on the Shift App. This program will provide you with 10+ minutes a day of content and practices to help you on your healing journey. We are offering it free for a limited time in honor of Mother’s Day. Get it here: https://theshiftnetwork.page.link/Vhr3 (available only from your mobile phone).