By Abbey Benvegnu
I’ve liked to believe that the relationship I have had with my mother has always been good. And, it has. But, I think we have reached a new level and it excites me.
You see, a mother daughter relationship is very complex… and diverse. Some mothers and daughters are best friends and talk every day or two (this is us) mum is on speed dial and you have your regular catch ups. Some though, are more like sisters with competitiveness, often clashing at times. Others clash dramatically and the relationship can be somewhat toxic. There are strong opinions of opposing sides and basically the only thing in common is their DNA. Then, you have the reverse nurture where the roles are reversed and the daughter takes on the role of looking after the mother. Whatever your relationship is with your mother, its not right or wrong, your mum is your mum but hear me out. I learnt as even though mum is my best mate…. our relationship can reach a new level. And here is why…
When we do not flow freely with life in the present moment, we are holding onto a negative emotion from the past. Love is always the answer to healing and the pathway to love is forgiveness.
The Art of Forgiveness.
Ok so Mumsie didn’t actually do anything wrong. She has always been supportive and caring and has always been on the other end of the phone anytime I needed. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t had our little tiffs. I remember one year she didn’t talk to me for aaaages because I didn’t send up a Mother’s Day card. Pretty sure I didn’t make the same mistake twice. But then there have been times, when, lets face it.. due to the generational gap we have had our frustrations at each other. We are human after all and even the best of friends still have their disagreements.
So on my way up to the Sunshine Coast on the weekend I finished listening to the audiobook You Can Heal You Life by Louise Hay and there was a fantastic chapter on forgiveness. And a couple of little exercise to practice that can help with the process of forgiving someone. Even if they haven’t done anything wrong, this process truly helps you see the person you are forgiving in a whole new light.
Forgiveness of ourselves and of others releases us from the past. According to Hay in order to forgive we must dissolve resentment and deal with any potential feelings of revenge before we practice the exercise on forgiveness. Now in my case, I held no resentment or revenge so I went straight for the forgiveness for your parents exercise.
Begin to visualise yourself as a little child of 5 or 6 – look deeply into the eyes of your child. See the longing and realise that there is only one thing the child version of you wants. That is love. So reach out your arms and embrace this child. Hold her with love and tenderness. Tell her how much you love and care for her. Admire everything about this child. Say its OK to make mistakes while learning. And promise you’ll always be there no matter what. Now, let this child get really small… until she is just the size to fit into your heart and put her there. Whenever you look down you can see her little face looking up at you. And you can give her lots of love.
Now visualise your mother as a little girl of 4 or 5, frightened and looking for love and not knowing where to find it. Reach out your arms and hold this little girl. Let her know how much you love her, how much you care. Let her know she can rely on you to always be there no matter what. When she quiets down and begins to feel safe let her get very small too. Just the size to fit into your heart. Put her there with your own little child and let them give each other lots of love.
You can also do this exercise with your father.
Doing this exercise truly worked. Not that there was anything bad there to begin with, but the little niggles I’ve had at mum over the years have gone. Anytime I converse with her over the phone or in text, I visualise that little child sitting in my heart. Because, I know a bit about mum and I know a bit about her childhood. It wasn’t bad either but as I have said once or twice before, we are all victims of our childhood. We are never taught how to deal with the emotions we experienced and that’s where we make up our stories, which turn into our beliefs and they can haunt our adult life. So knowing mum and knowing her childhood struggles I can be completely empathetic towards her and I can love her. She did the best she could with what she had and continues to do so. There is so much love in my heart for that woman and all the battles she fought. She’s an inspiration to us all.
Letting go of the past is hard… it was easy for me to do with mum, but now I’ve turned my attention to the one person I thought I would never forgive. This one will take some time but stay tuned…