Last summer my husband decided he really wanted to get my daughters a kitten. They had been asking for years, but we kept putting it off. We already had 2 dogs and 1 older anti-social cat in our lives. Plus it had only been a couple of months since my sweet cat, Kona, that I had only had for 4 months, had suddenly died from heart problems.
I didn’t think I was ready for the risk of loving and losing a pet again. Nor did I think that my daughters would ever be ready to keep their room clean enough that I wouldn’t be afraid kittens would get lost or stepped on in there. If you haven’t been able to tell from my past posts, I am a sensitive person. I hold things close to my heart and take things personally. That’s just who I am.
Well, my husband went to the shelter with my son, who has just as soft of a heart for little ones as I do. After snuggling many cute fur balls, they ended up bringing home not one but two sweet, tiny, sister kittens for the sister girls. My son claimed that it just wouldn’t have been right to separate sisters. They needed each other. He was right.
I’m sure they would have survived on their own, and led safe and happy enough separate lives. But seeing them together has been so sweet. Those kittens were so tiny and needy when they first came home. They would hide under the bed, snuggled up to each other so close. They would cry for each other if they were apart for too long. They were best friends.
Even to this day, almost a year after we brought them home, they are very close. They will lay under the coffee table together in a big pile of legs and ears, snuggled so close that you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. They will clean each other, watch each other play, and be there when the other is ready to snuggle. They get it. They understand sisterhood.
I get it. I have two biological sisters. One that I get to see as often as we arrange it, and one that I only get to see a couple of times a year if I’m lucky. But we are sisters. We have been through a lot together. First loves, break-ups, marriages, divorce, babies, family vacations, personal struggles, the death of both or our parents. We can’t imagine life without each other. Although we don’t snuggle up in a pile like kittens, we do hold one another so close to our hearts that it’s like we are literally connected by strings.
We haven’t always been as close as we are now, the teenage years were rough sometimes. Or when we were in different places in our lives with relationships, families, personal things. But the older we get, the closer we get, and the more we realize the importance of sisterhood.
Sisterhood doesn’t always come from being blood related. Many women find sisters through marriage- sisters in law or even, if you are really lucky, an amazing mother in law. I have amazing sisters like this. Ones that you weren’t expecting to come into your life and be a part of your family. But they end up being some of your best friends.
Sisters can be friends that you've known since before you even understood the world. I am lucky enough to have one or two like this-sisters that have been there through all of it and love you more today than ever before. Or maybe you have sisters through things that you have in common, like one of my sisters is a runner. She has made many sole sisters that have helped push each other further, pick each other up when one fails, and run alongside the other, with encouraging words and sweaty hugs. They get it.
As far as I can tell, the relationship that sisters have is about as close of a friendship as you can have. Sisterhood is such an important relationship in your adult life. You need someone to be there for you no matter what. You need someone that you can tell your secrets to and not worry about them judging you or criticizing you, but just loving you.
Every woman needs a sister, whether blood related or related through love. These friendships only come from putting yourselves out there and really letting someone else into your heart. Not being afraid of what might go wrong, or if you might lose them some day. But being fully committed to being sisters.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. Please CLICK HERE to share this post via Facebook with a sister. I would love to connect with you personally if there is anything you would like to hear my thoughts on. Please contact me and tell me your sisterhood story.
I am writing to my younger self, to you as my friends and even to myself....with that in mind going forward I will begin each post with:
I want you to know that You are important. No matter what you've gone through in the past, you are here right now and you are beautiful. You have already overcome so much more than you realize. You are already becoming such an amazing person. You matter. This is so important to be reminded of every day of your life. The dreams that you have, the desires in your heart, the hopes for your future- they matter. You matter.
Don’t be afraid to hope for big things, dream up an amazing life, desire good things for yourself. You are worth it. You matter. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, seek after what makes you happy, and strive to be what you want to be. You are important.
This is a really hard thing to truly grasp, especially as a mom. I think we are so used to putting everyone else’s needs in front of ours that sometimes our own needs get lost. We don’t even realize we have our own wants anymore. We forget that part of being a great mom is being a whole person and that means working on yourself too. Well, this is something I am working on daily right now.
I am reminding myself, a lot lately, of my own worth and that I am not a finished product. I am not who I was 20 years ago. That is good. I have grown so much. I am growing and changing every day and constantly trying to come to a closer understanding of who I am and who I want to be. I am learning to ask for what I need and let others help me.
Being sick is a time that I’ve had to really let other people help me. For some reason it is way easier for me to say no, I’m fine, thank you anyway. This week though, I was thinking about all of this and I said yes, and I am so glad I did. This gave me a chance to see how loved and valued I am.
I am so grateful for the people in my life that love me in a way that makes me love myself even more. I love helping people and doing kind things for them, so why is it so hard to let others do that for me? I am learning how to do this more and more and not feel bad or like I’m making them go out of their way for me when I don’t feel worthy. But I am worth it. Everyone has times when they need more than they can give. In those times we need to let others help us, for their sake and for ours.
Every day for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been saying to myself in the mirror, every morning, my mantra from my 30 day challenge. I've been saying, “I am Strong. I am Confident. I am Brave.” And you know what? It's working. That mantra pops into my head at other times of the day when I need that reminder. I am believing in myself more, and feeling stronger, more confident, and brave.
I am recognizing those characteristics in myself throughout my days. I am proud of myself for taking time to work on myself in this busy time of my life. I am not feeling guilty for wanting things for myself, but feeling empowered because of it. It is helping me see my worth and my value in this life. It is beautiful.
I am already thinking about what I will do next to challenge myself when the 30 days are over. I want to feel good about myself and I want to continue to believe in myself a little more every day.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. Please comment on this blog page or send me a message on the MamaBear Facebook page to let me know how your 30 day challenge is going and how I can encourage you.
5 Things You Need to Do Immediately!
MamaBear is sick today. Not an ideal way to spend Mother’s Day. I’m guest blogging for her so she can sleep. Oh, this is PapaBear by the way. I won’t pretend to know how to continue MamaBear’s amazing journey. Instead I’m going to make this post about you. Before I dive in let me say Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing Moms. To the rest of you strong, independent women, keep up the awesome work! Now to the title...how in the world would I know what you need to do immediately? Well give me a chance and maybe you’ll agree.
Keep being incredible!
Dear Young MamaBear,
Sometimes life is really hard. One day you will lose someone that you love very much and it will be so so hard. At times it may feel like you will never be okay again. Some days you might wonder if anyone has ever been as sad as you feel. But in the end, you can use the pain, from the loss, to be more real and more you. With time and love and support, you can become a stronger, more confident person than you’ve ever been before.
I think everyone, at some point in their life, will most likely lose someone that is really hard to move past. For me it was my mom. I had already lost my dad 3 years before, when she died. It’s been 5 years now. Lately I’ve been missing her so much.
Part of it has to do with me myself moving into a new decade this year. I’ve also been doing a lot of soul searching/life examining this year. I’m realizing that it is really hard to move into a new phase of life, knowing that my mom would be so proud of me, but knowing that she can't see it happen. Wishing I could hear her approval in my ear.
I’ve heard all of the things that people say to someone who suffers a loss: She's watching from above. She’s in a better place now. She's in your heart always. She's with Jesus. Pray. Honestly though, none of this is really helpful, when your heart is missing a piece of it. I know that people mean well, and I am so thankful for their kind hearts. It's just not something that anyone can understand though, unless you've been through it yourself.
There is one comforting thought though, that my amazing, beautiful husband reminds me of. I think of it often, when I have a big wave of ‘missing my mom so bad it physically hurts my chest’ wash over me. It is this: When you love someone and are really connected with them, you can never really be apart from them, because they become a part of who you are. They become so deeply connected with you that you are never really alone. Your ‘souls', or ‘beings', or however you want to think of it, are merged in a way that no one can ever separate.
I understand that thought in a way that I've never understood love before. It's so personal and real and validating. It’s painful to love someone that much and physically be separated from them. But that thought is what carries me through hard moments. That thought is what keeps me connected to my mom in a tangible way. In a way that I can find peace about it all.
I know that I am surrounded by people that love me. I know that I am growing. I know that I am working everyday to get closer to who I want to be. I may still have hard moments or hard days, or hard weeks, especially around anniversaries of when I've lost loved ones. I also know now, that on those days, it's okay to let myself feel those hard feelings and let myself be sad or scared or hurting. I know that those moments come less frequently and usually less intensely than they used to. I now know that those moments or days are part of who I am. And that is beautiful.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey
Please share this blog or www.facebook.com/mamabearlife with anyone that you think needs to hear this message.
Dear Young MamaBear,
Being you means discovering what you like about yourself. Letting yourself feel good. Allowing yourself to try new things and being okay with failing. Being you means continually working on making yourself feel good about who you are. This can start with some positive self-talk.
Think about yourself from an outsider’s perspective. You would never tell another woman, that you love, the kind of things that you say to yourself every day. You wouldn’t tell her that she is kind of pretty except for that big butt. You wouldn’t tell her that she is stupid for not remembering to get something at the store. You wouldn’t say to your friend that she is broken because of the things that happened to her when she was little. Things that were out of her control. So don’t say those things to yourself.
Don’t let yourself feel like you are not whole. As though you are not worth much. As though you are ugly or stupid or fat. When you let yourself say those things to yourself, you will let others say that about you. You will believe those horrible things about yourself. It’s pretty impossible to be you, the real - amazing - beautiful you, if every day you say those negative, hurtful things about yourself.
You’ll have to change the way that you think. You will consciously have to stop yourself from going to those negative places. You will have to purposefully challenge yourself to think kind, positive things about yourself. This is something that I continue to struggle with.
I recently learned, from someone close to me, about a way to encourage positive self-talk on a daily basis. Every night before she goes to bed, she looks in the mirror and she says, “Today I am proud of you because…”. She ends each day with positive self-talk, even if it's been a really hard day. She comes up with something that she can be proud of about herself. This is a beautiful idea.
I am going to challenge myself every day for an entire month to do this. I will look myself in the eyes every night and tell myself why I'm proud. I am going to challenge myself to go one step further as well. Each morning, when I am getting ready for the day, I am going to look in the mirror and say 3 positive things to myself. I will repeat those like a mantra while I do my makeup and hair. Example: I am smart, I am confident, I am brave. I am smart, I am confident, I am brave. I am smart, I am confident, I am brave. I am going to commit to doing this for 30 straight days.
If you'd like to join me in challenging yourself with some positive self-talk, that would be great. Let me know if you do this by commenting on the blog. We can encourage each other and remind each other over the next 30 days. By the end of the month, we will begin feeling more confident, loved and positive!
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey.
Comment below and let me know if you decide to challenge yourself :)
Dear Young MamaBear,
Our memories are often crowded with pain and grief but hopefully you will be able to let go of some past, painful experiences through this. You won't need to hide those parts of you any more because you can let them stay in the past while you continue to move forward. They will always be a little part of who you are, but you don't have to let them be in charge of you. You don't have to let the past hold onto you anymore.
Sometimes you need to look at the big picture to realize that you are going to be okay, or that you are at least a little more okay than you were 6 months ago. You are a work in progress. You always will be. You will never again be exactly who you are right now.
Every day you can move toward being you and being real and being loving and being loved. You can try every day to enjoy the little things in life- a call from a friend, a hug from a little one, a game with your children, an unexpected gift, a warm shower, an iced coffee! It’s all those little things that make up your life, so try to enjoy them as they happen.
If you have anger or other strong emotions that you're holding onto from your past, that can really hold you back from being who you want to be. Something that I've learned, when you feel that anger, or whatever emotion trying to take over you or attack someone else, stop for a second and take a breath and acknowledge that feeling. Acknowledge that you are feeling angry, or scared or whatever the feeling is, and then decide that yes I know this feeling and I am not going to let it control me. I can be in control of my emotions. I don't have to let this control my life. It’s hard, it’s an everyday choice. But it is possible.
Each day that you decide to really try to discover who you are and who you want to be, will be a day that you are moving toward you. Each day that you decide to open up to someone will be a day that you are growing. Each day that you try to overcome something that's been hurting your heart is a day that you are becoming stronger. One day you will look back and think, “I've overcome so much!”, “I've grown so much!”, “I am so much stronger and braver than I ever thought I could be”. I am me!
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey!
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Dear Young MamaBear,
Being you can be really hard. It can mean that a lot of hurtful things may come up from your past, when you start thinking about who you are and how you got to where you are today. It can mean that you will have to process a lot of what makes you who you are. You might discover some things about yourself that you don’t like. That can be a good thing if you let it be. It can be a good time to talk to someone safe-a spouse, a parent, a partner, a good friend, a professional counselor if it’s too much to even think about by yourself.
If even talking out loud to someone is too much to handle, then try journaling to start with. Writing to yourself. You can discover a lot about yourself just by writing down what you are really thinking. Process the things that you’ve been holding onto, deep in your being, way down in the corners of yourself where it can’t be found by anyone, until you decide it’s time.
Don't edit your thoughts, just write and let it flow. It doesn't have to start out extreme or intense. Just write what you're thinking and why and what you're feeling. Once you've started letting it flow then that should lead to deeper and more personal thoughts that will sometimes surprise you.
Processing with someone safe is a really important part of letting yourself be you. You can start to work through things, one at a time, so that you can realize that you are not just that person anymore. Every day you are changing, becoming a little more of who you want to be, and moving forward. If you are moving forward, toward who you want to be, then you aren’t stuck. You aren’t staying still or moving backwards, so you are already becoming who you want to be. Processing with someone safe will help you start to heal and grow even more.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey!
Check out the Become a MamaBear section to find journal prompts.
Dear me-young, self conscious, hurting, scared, me,
I am writing this for you, so that you will know that you are worth more than you have ever let yourself think. You are worth more than anyone has ever told you. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are worthy of being loved in a healthy, real way. I know what you’ve been through. I know life is really hard. I know that being you is a big challenge. I know that really being the real you is extremely hard. You don’t have to be afraid to let yourself discover what that really means. You don’t have to be scared that no one will like you if they see all of the little things about you that you try to keep to yourself. You can be free from trying to be who you think everyone wants you to be.
You have a choice. Every day when you wake up you can decide that today I choose to be me. The real me. The raw, open hearted, free me. Yes, you will still hurt. Actually you will hurt a lot at first, because you will feel more. You will feel more pain, but you will also feel real joy and real peace. You can’t experience true happiness in your life until you decide that it’s okay to be you. It’s okay to let people in. Some people will still hurt you, but some people will love you in a way you’ve never experienced love before. And that alone will be worth it.
I am starting this blog to let you, and others out there like you, know the importance of being you. The importance of letting yourself let go of what’s holding you down. Letting yourself discover who you are, what you want out of life, what you want to look forward to, what you have learned from your past, what you have to offer the world.
I am writing this blog so that you will know that everything is going to be okay. Not everything is going to be perfect, but everything is going to be okay. Choosing things that you can do everyday to be okay with being you and be in a good healthy place within yourself is the starting point to all other healthy relationships you will have in your life moving forward. You won't be able to be a truly great mom or wife or friend or anything else you want to be, until you are good with who you are yourself.
There is hope for you, for sure. You can be all that you want to be and even more that you haven't even dared to dream up yet. You are already amazing and I believe in you. I am here to help you believe in yourself too.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey!
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This is really scary- writing about myself- letting everyone have a peek inside my heart. I'm a pretty open person, so it's not that I don't like sharing myself. It’s that these are very personal things we're talking about. So it's going to be really hard letting people judge that. I have always struggled with wanting to be liked, wanting to be loved, wanting to feel good and feel pretty and feel special. That's probably something that a lot of people really want, at least to some extent. But willingly putting myself out there to be seen for who I really am, that's new for me. Even just admitting that this is scary for me, is hard for me. What if someone thinks I'm dumb? What if someone thinks that I think that I know it all?
But then I think- what if someone needs to hear this? What if someone likes it? What if someone really needs to know that they're not alone out there? The what ifs can be bad- holding you back from what you really want to do and making you feel bad about yourself. And what ifs can be good- pushing you to dream bigger and try new things and discover more about yourself. So, I am choosing to push through my fear and self doubt and listen to the good "what ifs". So I will write for those who need to hear this.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey!
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