A big barometer of self-love is how well we are able to parent ourselves through difficult times, mistakes, disappointments, grief and other challenging emotions.
All too often, this is where our wounds are triggered and we enact ways of being that perpetuate the cycle of wounding within our psyches. If we keep treating ourselves and our inner worlds the way we internalized, the way we learned to treat ourselves, then we continue the cycles of pain in our lives without realizing it.
This is the realm of the death mother and one I see most common in clients and my own soul life.
Grief is a very common reaction not only to loss but heartbreak or rejection or disappointment. We make mistakes. We are human. Life has its ups and downs. Things happen. We feel things in response to it.
The death mother swoops in with all her ideas about what is wrong with you. What you did wrong. Why its wrong to feel that way. Seeks to punish you or make you feel worse than you already do. Forces you to smile and pretend its okay. Isolate you. Tell you how you are a terrible person. How you will always deserve to be lonely or miserable.
This archetypal energy is cruel.
In a death mother culture where emotional cruelty and dehumanizing others online (and off) is the norm, most of us don’t think that there is anything wrong with how hard we are on ourselves.
This is the antithesis of self-love. It is being an abusive parent to our own soul, body and inner life...none of which is valued by our culture yet totally necessary for our well-being.
It’s hard to be happy if there is a dragon waiting to breath down your neck about what you did wrong, how it’s your fault, what you should have done or that you are weak or ridiculous for feeling normal human feelings.
Self-love is a conscious parenting of self. It is entering into a conscious, loving relationship with the aspects of self that long for love, that need ongoing tending and attention, kindness, gentleness, fierceness at times (but a loving kind), compassion, attunement, listening and follow-through. It’s offering ourselves nourishment and nurturing, protection and holding. It is allowing the transformative aspect of our emotions to flow through to bring us closer to the pulse of what our soul life has waiting for us.
It is transforming the death mother into the loving mother. It is learning that our inner parents, the ones we internalized, have their own wounding. So, we don’t realize that it’s a thing or where to direct our own love. After all, who is it that is looking after our inner child?
The death mother’s original wounding lays in betrayal, oppression and neglect. Often the wound our own parents carry, one that is passed down generation to generation. One we aren’t supposed to talk about.
Not talking about it is causing so much of us harm. It keeps the patriarchy going in our own hearts. It perpetuates this soul wounding and hurts us when we are already hurting from being human and affected by all the trials and tribulations of life.
In grieving and hardship, in all our human seeking and suffering, it’s imperative we be KIND to ourselves (and each other)and surprisingly seems to be the place we are hardest on ourselves.
Healing the inner parents also helps us heal our relationship to pain, which is necessary for the true alchemy of pain into love. Death mother to loving mother.
This is the archetypal journey to self-love. It’s healing the soul wound.