Mama Bearings: Self Love

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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2019 is here. It’s officially a new year and as I always do, I try to come up with goals to make a new and improved me.

Last year was a mixed bag. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA in my MBA program, had financial success within my salon career and I made amazing connections and new friends. My nine year-old transgender son started at a new school and is having an amazing second chance at his third grade year—and my other kids are doing well and growing into amazing young adults. Still, 2018 ended with the loss of my mother to cancer and the end of my marriage, negative events I’ve dwelled on. I miss my mother immensely and I feel lonely most nights since my marriage ended, but to focus on those feelings above the good in my life was not healthy for me. I used to hate when people would tell me that you’re only dealt as much negativity as you can handle in life when things are rough, but I think I understand it now at the age of 41.

I have four kids and multiple jobs. This alone has been an excuse of mine not to do things socially—“I am too busy,” “The kids need me tonight,” “It’s not in the budget”—and I realized I was staying busy on purpose. I overloaded my schedule each intense day to be exhausted enough to fall asleep each night. I thought I was living each day to the fullest but I was avoiding my life in many ways.

I was hiding from the elements of my life that were not exactly awesome. The slow death of a long-term relationship is heartbreaking and empowering alike. Some days I feel proud of my choice to be brave and accept being alone after a decade. Other days I want to stay in bed with the covers over my head.

In 2019, I have made the conscious choice to be healthier by loving myself. It sounds so cliche, but to truly love myself I have to put real work in. The days I want to stay in bed I am not going to tell myself I am weak. The days I worry about never finding love again I will try to imagine finding love with the right person. The times the kids are struggling, I will remind myself that they are, like I am, works in progress. Their successes and failures do not entirely rest on my shoulders. Every day, I will try to love myself and remember my strengths and weaknesses with understanding.

This great “Kumbaya” epiphany did not happen overnight. I am not Zen every day at all. I go to therapy and I take medications for my depression and anxiety. I need help for myself even though I prefer to help others. I looked back on 2018 with a heavy heart after my mother died and my husband moved out. I write about self-care and self-love but was not practicing this for myself. To survive and thrive in 2019, I knew I would need to change my personal health.

I am surviving. I want to grow as a person—mentally, spiritually and emotionally. What is around the corner is unknown, but for a mini-van driving mom of four that can sound kind of exciting. I have such an amazing circle of friends and being a part of their lives is a gift that I cherish more these days.

A good friend and co-worker is planning his wedding to his fantastic fiancee and he recently apologized to me for talking about his upcoming nuptials. My new perspective and growth gave me the ability to tell him that helping with his wedding would be an honor and great sense of happiness to me. I reminded him that their happiness shows me what I deserve and should hold out for in my next relationship.

None of us are perfect. Most days, I am wondering if the outside world sees what a hot mess I feel I am internally. But that is okay, because I am me and I’d rather be authentic. We all need to take care of ourselves.

In 2019, I will not wait for anyone to take care of me. Exercising, seeing friends, entering into healthy, equal partnerships, taking my medication and just loving myself a little more each day are my personal goals this year for my improved health.

None of us know what the future brings, and I believe each day can hold some small piece of magic if we know how to look for it. On the days where that magic is hidden, I will let myself off the hook to feel what I need to feel. May we all do the same to be wealthy in health all year!

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