I love being a mother. I have enjoyed all of the moments so far that are involved in motherhood, but there are moments that stand out the most, memories of our daughter toddling around on her own, reading books in the corner by the couch, trying new foods in her high chair with most of it in her hair. There are so many moments, pictures in my mind, that represent to me her perfect innocence. I still see it so easily in the here and now, her as a teenager, and full of that freedom and beauty that represents innocence to me.
However, it is so much more difficult for me to see my own innocence. Innocence in this sense, means to me the sense of purity, love and caring. An openness and vulnerability. Sure, it easy at times for me to recognize my innocence when I feel like it is well deserved. I can most easily acknowledge my own innocent nature when I am helping someone in need; or hugging a loved one; or opening a gift or traveling to a fun destination. The difficult times of acknowledging my own innocence, are when I am experiencing the other normal occurrences of humanity. Those times when I am judgmental, angry, hateful, or really dismissive toward others, even if only in my mind.
And, as a human being, I am hateful, dismissive, spiteful, manipulative, and angry toward others at times. I could safely say that we all are, in our own way, at times.
I used to pretend that I didn’t have these negative thoughts and feelings toward others. I wanted to be seen as a good person, a kind person. I thought that if I was honest about being angry, hateful or judgmental, then I would blow my cover. My friends would not want to be my friends anymore. I was sure that everyone around me believed that my display of always having it together was how I always was.
In addition to not wanting to show that part of myself, I also didn’t want to even admit to myself that I felt that way inside. So, I would let these thoughts of resentment and paranoia float around in my head. I would feel guilty for feeling that way, so I would act even more nice and sweet to pretend that they didn’t exist. It never, ever occurred to me that the thoughts might be normal and human. And, that there might actually be relief and redemption if I were to acknowledge them.
What I can say with absolute certainty, is that when I started to acknowledge that I do have feelings that are negative, and I acknowledge them to myself, WITHOUT JUDGMENT, I feel free. In that way, I am declaring my own innocence. Having others acknowledge my innocence, by validating my angry or judgmental feelings doesn’t really count. Sure, it always feels great to have an ally, who can agree with how we feel about someone or something. Yet, the only person who can fully restore our innocence of self is ourselves. Is me.
So, if I am having trouble getting there, I look in the mirror. I remember that I am not perfect. I cry a little, or a lot. I write it down. I remember that although I like for others to view me in a loving way, I know that I also, more importantly, want them to know all of me. Even though that is terrifying to think about, I am a complex, multifaceted person who is learning how to show the world all of me.
And, like you, I am an innocent, beautiful being and I deserve to see myself in that way.