The last two weeks have almost been a blur. From the untimely death of my 27-year-old cousin, to the four year anniversary of my late beloved paternal grandmother’s death, to my mother’s debilitating health scare, to a devastatingly, life-threatening incident with a family friend, to my car troubles, and even my own health concerns, the list goes on and on of things that have been piling up and occurring lately. Needless to say, it’s just been another whirlwind of an emotional time in my life. When the fire is hot all around me, and the pressure is beginning to boil inside of me, I have no choice but to pray harder, read more and listen to the words of wisdom from My Heavenly Father God and my big brother J.C. (Jesus Christ).
I’m not going to spend today getting into too much detail about every single thing listed at this present time. However, I have been feeling drawn towards focusing on one specific thing that’s been bothering me lately. It’s something that I thought I took care of, overcame, even grew out of; yet, it wasn’t until recent events that I’ve been faced with the reality that I hadn’t quite conquered all of it just yet. The biggest problems that I’ve been faced with recently is my family’s opinions of me, in particular, my mother’s.
For years, heck all of my life if I’m being quite honest, I’ve tried to be the best, most perfect daughter and person. Growing up, I’d go above and beyond to ensure I stayed out of trouble, kept a good grade point average, went to school everyday never skipping / missing a class, graduated from college with my bachelors degree in Psychology, took care of my elders, have no children, and was determined to pursue an entrepreneurial path. Yet with all of my ideas of good achievements and “worldly” accolades, I’ve never felt like my mother was proud of me. I never had her validation that I was a good daughter, good person, nor that I would ever be “good enough” for her, or live up to her standards.
I must say, as I’m writing this today, I’m finding it kinda hard to be so transparent; although, I’ve always been completely honest with you. In recent years, after undergoing so many storms of hardships and tragedies, I found myself not caring anymore about perfection, nor being a people pleaser. This is why, through God, I’m able to be transparent with you in my writings. However, when it comes to my mother, that seems to be a whole other ball game. While I’ve been able to ward off people’s misperceptions of me, their annoying, ignorant statements of who they think I am, or the type of things they think I’m into, there’s still that one person who’s opinion I hadn’t been able to shake — my mother’s. Now you may be thinking, “Well, mothers know best,” or, “Mother’s know their children better than they know themselves.” While in some cases those sayings can be true, in my case; however, it’s not.
Although I’m 30-years-young, my mother and I never had a close relationship ever in my entire life. Yes, she’s in the picture, always provided the necessities I needed the best way she knew how, gave good birthday gifts, etc.; but most of our personal relationship hasn’t been the best. Growing up, due to the sometimes volatile, dysfunctional and tumultuous discord between my mother and I, most of my time was spent living with my late paternal grandparents, my maternal grandmother here and there, and my godparents on the weekends. So to say that my mother knows who I am, my hopes and dreams, my wishes, aspirations and business desires is indeed false.
I was never my mother’s favorite. It’s no surprise that I strongly believe parents shouldn’t show favoritism towards their children for I now know the repercussions it can lead on one’s value and self-esteem. Sadly, knowing early on that I wasn’t who she desired, this made me work even harder at trying to do everything I could to please her. Desperately, I wanted her approval, wanted her to like me and to tell me I was worthy. Instead, she was a militant drill sergeant who wanted perfection at all costs.
Regardless of how it made me feel inside, I always thought and believed that if I did things right, according to her terms, if I did more things for her, if I spent money on her, if I bought her nice gifts, if I followed all her rules, if I received scholastic achievements, if I focused my studies on the one particular career path she’d approve of, if I worked the type of jobs she’d applaud for, if I just put in even more effort and worked even harder, only then will she be proud of me, love me unconditionally, value me and show me that I’m worthy of her love, time, compassion, support, affection, tenderness and overall, her approval. Needless to say, it never came. I wasn’t her favorite; therefore, nothing I did mattered.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I received the biggest wakeup call ever! It came after spending a lot of time in prayer recently, waiting on God to send me some answers to a few questions that were plaguing my mind. My answer came through His Holy Spirit and in His word (the Bible). I’m so glad that My Heavenly Father loves my questions and doesn’t mind taking the time to patiently listen and respond to them. Funny thing, I wasn’t expecting to receive this particular message though. Foolishly, I’ll admit, I was hoping to hear what more I needed to do in order to receive my mother’s value over my life. Thankfully, God doesn’t move that way. He tells us what we NEED to hear, not what we WANT to hear!
“Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.” “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”
But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her.
But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.
When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!” Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.” (Genesis 29:16-21, 23, 25-28, 31-35 NLT)
I say all this to say, for anyone who feels like me, who longs so deeply for validation/love/ applause/ affection/attention from a loved one, this is your wake up call too. It’s time for us to stop living for others, hoping for their approval, and start focusing more on valuing ourselves, loving ourselves wholeheartedly, acknowledging and accepting the love, blessings and affection from our Heavenly Father (Our Creator), and start to find worthiness from within.
When God creates us, and forms us in our mother’s womb, it’s their job to nurture us, love us, show us our self worth, teach us, and train us in the way we should go. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Instead of crying over the past, I’m choosing to press forward into My Heavenly Father and allow Him to show me my worth and my value. After 30 years of trying to get the approval of man, I think it’s high time I stopped focusing on broken people who are just like me, and started focusing more on God, The Creator who is merciful, full of love, and who is perfectly flawless.
So, I hope my honesty helps you overcome if you’re going through the same thing. May you find peace and comfort in The Word of God, just as I have. I know it’s a process. There may be days or moments when you may feel prone to fall back into old ways of trying hard to appeal to those who’s undying love you desire, but fret not. Just like Leah in the biblical story above, and even myself now, there’ll come a time when you wake up, stop trying, rejoice and just accept the other blessings that God has brought your way. You may not get what you want from the person you always wanted it from, but it’s all about perspective.
I thank God because while I grew up longing to have that deep connection, empathy, love, support and affection from my mother, I received it ALL from my paternal grandmother. She provided me with all the undying love, nurturing, compassion, warm hugs, kisses goodnight, back rubs, patting, long conversations about womanhood, teachable life moments, support of all of my ideas and big dreams. Change your perspective and you change your circumstances. This is truly a lesson that I’m glad to be learning. While I can’t change how my mother views me, her opinions of me, nor her lack of the things I feel I need from her, I’m choosing to no longer live for her approval. My value and worth comes solely from God!
Sincerely with love,
Travel photography by IG user: @kardinalmelon