Lately I’m hearing from moms who are feeling lost. Their kids are gone, maybe having families of their own, and they are mourning the loss of that role and those relationships. Some of them have even expressed sadness at feeling ‘squeezed out’ of their kids lives as they launch into their own parental roles.
It makes sense, right? We have spent our lives willingly pouring our heart and soul into giving our kids everything they need to grow up and go out into the world, successful and happy. And in many cases, our worth was measured by how ‘good’ of a mom we were or how well the kids turned out.
When all you know is being a mom, and that role disappears, it can leave a void in our identity. And as we search for some way to fill it, we can look to others to validate our self-worth.
The thing is, when you look to others to fill you up, to complete you, you are operating from ‘lack’ or ‘scarcity’ rather than wholeheartedness or sovereignty. And that lack and scarcity can dramatically impact the quality of your life, often without you even realizing it.
We’ve all been there at various stages of our lives. Feeling less than or self-conscious which led us to making choices about what would make us feel better. Maybe it was hanging out with the cool girls in high school, or getting the ‘perfect’ job or driving a brand-new super fancy sports car. But here’s the thing - when we look to other people – friends, kids, husband or partner - or even material goods – the nice car, vacation home, designer shoes – to validate our worth, our filter and perspective are skewed so we are only looking for something – or someone to fill that void.
To ‘fix’ us, to make us enough or validate us. Sometimes when you’re operating from this place, a place of ‘need’, you may attract people or things in your life that may make you feel better about yourself temporarily, but they don’t serve your highest good. Unhealthy relationships or addiction are a couple of examples.
And sometimes, your ‘neediness’ might actually prevent you from forging strong, healthy relationships. Have you ever been on the receiving end of that kind of energy? Someone who is constantly looking to you to validate them or fill them up? It can be exhausting. And - I might argue - not much fun to be around.
Most importantly, when you rely on others to complete you, you are giving up your power to them.
So how do you overcome these challenges? How do you stop looking to others to fill you up?
How do you get your power back?
It’s pretty simple: you figure out who you are and what you want, and from that place of clarity and self-confidence, your relationships will shift around you. From that place of autonomy – from standing in your own power, you’ll find you have everything you need to be happy.
So where do you start?
Step one: commit the time to focus on YOU. Ask yourself what you need. Find those activities that fill you up and feed your soul. Whether it’s a walk with friends or starting a new business, as you build the confidence in yourself, you start to stand in your power from a place of ‘enough-ness’. You are fulfilled. You are complete. You are sovereign.
When you no longer ‘need’ your kid’s approval or validation or inclusion, they will start to be attracted to who you are. Your independent, alive, wholehearted self.
And the next time you get to spend time with them, you won’t be filled with dread at the end of the visit wondering how you’ll fill your days until the next time you see them. No, you’ll be present and engaged in the moment, soaking up every precious moment with them knowing that they are complementing your being, not substantiating it.
Then you can go off to your new purpose-filled, joyful life. Whatever that might be.