Self-Love & Mothering: Stopping to Take Responsibility

by Denise Cavanough, aged 56, Brisbane

Over the years that I have been seeing Serge Benhayon and attending Universal Medicine presentations and talks, I can say that nothing he has said has made me feel uncomfortable, squirm in my seat or want to run away. Not until recently have I felt like I was confronted, stopped in my tracks, cut to the bone; felt like I wanted to throw a tantrum and run away kicking and screaming like a child (I think you will be getting the picture).

This all came about when my daughter Shannon sent me a text in reply to mine, saying that it was ok to stay the night, but to have organised it before, not just as an afterthought, and not without consideration for her plans. This called a stop to a behavior that I had been doing and, I now recognise, that my mother had also done to me.

I can now feel how I had (as a mother) this thread of a feeling that my now adult children owed me. That because I had more life experience I knew better, and I could fix things for them my way, instead of letting them come to things in their own time, or waiting to be asked. I felt how in some ways I had taken our relationship for granted, thinking just because they are my children, I had the right to tell them what I thought they should do. I thought this was loving, but now I felt how controlling it could be. I remembered how I had felt when my mum gave me unwarranted advice, and would not leave me to come to things in my own way.

This triggered a chain of events in me that was far bigger than I could have ever realised.

How had I allowed this to go on between mum and me and never put a stop to it?

I felt so angry. I had no idea what I was feeling at the time, but I knew it was HUGE. I had not felt anything like this before, only that I wanted to run away.

My body was screaming and I could feel that I didn’t want to face it. But there was no way I was running away from whatever it was. So I stopped.

From that short text, I had got to feel how I had never truly honoured and loved myself. By my daughter Shannon, also a mother, showing me the love she held for herself, I got to feel how I had never chosen true self-love for me. How I had always put my children first – I would do anything for them, in total disregard for me, never considering how it felt for me. No wonder I was kicking and screaming so much, it was H U GE.

I had spent a lifetime mastering this, thinking that this was what mothering was about. I loved being a mother, but I was mothering at the expense of me, and could see how mum had done the same all her life.

By Shannon saying truthfully what she felt, she reflected to me all the choices I had made that were not loving for me. It hurt me deeply to see what I had been choosing for myself. Since then I have had a great unfolding, allowing me to discover more of myself.

I have been seeing the same patterns running through my relationship with my mum, habits that I had taken on that mum had done. I’m seeing a stop to these patterns, a break in generations of this behavior. The buck stops here. By calling it out for what it is, it has stopped – it has run its course with me.

It is amazing to have felt all the changes I have made since that day. I had never allowed myself to stop and feel how the choices I was making were affecting my life, my children’s and grandchildren’s. They are now seeing the way I am making different choices, and becoming more loving to myself and others.

By holding on to mothering in that way, I was not allowing myself to claim time to nurture me, the lovely me, the beauty-full me, the gentle me, to treat myself tenderly, to speak to myself in a loving way, to adore me and cherish the amazing woman I have become.

I feel that through having attended presentations by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, I am seeing things in my life through different eyes. By taking responsibility for my choices, this has changed my life. I wanted to get to truth, no matter what. I can no longer blame anything that comes into my life on others – it has been my choice.

Self-love can only be where there is truth.

That’s my miracle for today.

196 thoughts on “Self-Love & Mothering: Stopping to Take Responsibility

  1. What a great gift for you from Shannon and wonderful that you embraced the learning and wanted only truth. Much appreciation for you both.

  2. Thank you for sharing this moment of revelation, Denise. And being a mother, I have learned that mothering at the expense of myself and therefore the children also is not worth it – it is a no win situation for anyone and no one grows.

  3. I recognise living just as a mother without honoring the beautiful tender and wise woman I am. It is such a painful exercise and your blog is a great inspiration to deepen the relationship with myself and adore and cherish my gorgeousness.

  4. The fact that our choices bring us all our situations, good, bad and ugly has been presented by Serge Benhayon constantly and consistently. I can feel in myself a hesitation towards feeling my choices at various times but in those moments it’s like I completely forget that I have a whole collection previous choices to feel the results of my choices. And the choice always remains the same, to be love and then I get to feel that love and also the part which is not love that has been allowed and accepted and created. The choice remains the same, only the depth becomes grander, both good and bad and what this blog has reminded me of was the fact that with grander love gets exposed equally the not love, but that lack of love is not greater. Thank you Denise.

  5. You invite me with this blog to deepen even more the self honoring. To always put myself first. Not in a selfish way but from love. To feel what is right for me, to feel that in my body. Then I can be sure it it the best way to go. The body never lies.

  6. Your blog is such a brilliant example of the power of speaking up and out when something is not right – and not allowing it to fester. That your daughter expressed to you what was true for her allowed you to completely re-evaluate your behaviour, come to a deeper realisation about what was truly at play, heal some old hurts and move on gracefully, for the good of you all. A win:win in anyone’s books! The key ingredients? Feedback that is lovingly given, with understanding of the other and not an ounce of judgment.

  7. As we are in the midst of the Christmas season, an issue that has arisen for me is the power that I have given away to family in the past. So I can totally relate to what you have written Denise, Thank you

  8. Wow Denise – I (and I’m confident many others) can very much relate to your experiences of mothering in a way that disregards yourself. It’s a web I am working on unravelling. There is such strong cultural norms around mothering that I can totally see where I, my mother, grandmother etc have all fallen into line with common thinking and behaviours of the times. How controlling and imposing is this behaviour on others, let alone loveless towards everyone, especially myself! Definitely time to make different choices!

  9. We are all driven by the hurts accumulated in our lives, many people talk about what to do, but Universal Medicine presents a way to live that is innately healing and then we can have true and responsible relationships.

  10. I just happened to revisit your blog Denise and enjoyed reading through it again. The pattern you dared looking at and take responsibility for is (as I am sure you have been able to observe) quite a common one for mothers, so it is fantastic and very valuable that you are exposing it so clearly and honestly. By taking responsibility for our choices yes we change our life.

  11. A great blog that highlights the power of a simple reflection to expose a lifelong pattern and shatter the casing it’s been held in so that we can’t help but start to make different choices.

  12. This is a huge miracle. I know when we break a long held pattern it feels massive. So many of our ideals and beliefs are tied up in mothering and the way we see our relationship with our children. I know I can consider it easy going to just take them for granted but it is so worthwhile to respect our children and mothers and all our family as people and consider that we respect ourselves in the same way too.

  13. A revisit to your sharing Denise has been needed, for me to re-assess where I am at in the Motherhood stakes! I can see that I need to step back every now and then to do this and take more tender care of me again. It is true we need to allow our children to make their own decisions and mistakes along the way as we did, they are more than capable adults and if they need support they know they can ask. Thank you Denise, a truly inspiring sharing.

  14. Denise it is great to expose living an ideal that hides under the auspice of being unselfish but is actually selfish and affecting many close to us – this is a great reading and understanding of taking on the mothering role and what may be felt to be owed through taking it on and how coming back to oneself as a woman first offers so much for oneself and others through self love.

  15. Knowing that true self-love and responsibility go hand in hand is the easy part. Accepting and putting it into action takes commitment and your willingness to make that commitment to honour and cherish yourself is inspiring. Really love what you have expressed here Denise that “Self-love can only be where there is truth”.

  16. Although I am not a parent, I can see one of the greatest gifts any parent could give their child is the space and grace to grow and foster who they truly are.

  17. Self responsibility is the most empowering choice we can make. We get to feel that the level of love, care and acceptance in our life is completely a reflection of our choices and not because of how anyone else is or anyone else’s actions towards us or themselves. It’s easy for a mother to ride her success and happiness off the back of her children’s success and happiness but in truth there is an emptiness that remains unable to be filled until we fill it ourselves.

  18. True responsibility is to live equally with everybody else and not stay attached to roles and behaviors we have accumulated during our life. Our choices to be true have to reflect the all and cannot be based on individual identification. A great blog on how to let go of one of the biggest consciousnesses we have on earth, which is the role of the mother.

  19. Mothering has been the biggest learning. How to carry through with what I feel is true, against the wiliest of consciousnesses, and the moment self-doubt comes in – all is lost. And then everything turns into the most amazing celebration of connection. I have learnt and am still learning so much.

  20. A beautiful lesson in cutting the apron strings of being a mother and allowing our children to show us how to be the woman we are.

  21. Like the saying goes ‘you sound like your mother’ or ‘you sound like your father’… well yes we can but it’s more that we are repeating a pattern that we have chosen to repeat and keep alive by saying, doing, moving and living in the same way. Until, as you did Denise, you see it for what it is and put a stop to it. I’ve found stepping back and observing myself and what is pouring out of my mouth to my children, really helps to arrest all the rubbish that is not me or anyone really. It’s a learning everyday… especially when it comes to choosing to be distracted or getting overly involved as a parent just so I don’t have to deal with what is needed.

  22. “By holding on to mothering in that way, I was not allowing myself to claim time to nurture me, the lovely me, the beauty-full me, the gentle me, to treat myself tenderly, to speak to myself in a loving way, to adore me and cherish the amazing woman I have become.” I can so relate Denise. As a mother I gave myself over to my children, also to the detriment of my relationship with my husband. But now – as a grandmother – I claim my time – to go to bed often before my young grand-children for example, because I now value myself first.

  23. Denise with your amazing blog your are not only changing your life you are offering every mother the opportunity to change as well. To reveal what you have revealed is gold. “That because I had more life experience I knew better, and I could fix things for them my way, instead of letting them come to things in their own time, or waiting to be asked.”

  24. Great to read this… gives me pause to consider what I take for granted with my kids, the expectations I have of them.. rather than just seeing them for who they truly are, stripped of all the things I have put on them.. the gorgeous human beings that they have always been.

  25. What a great line Denise, “Self-love can only be where there is truth.” and how true this is. We cannot make changes until we feel the honesty and truth about whether choices are truly working for us (and others) or not. So simple.

  26. “I was mothering at the expense of me, and could see how mum had done the same all her life.”. These words could have been easily written by me and I am sure the majority of mothers in the world. Our mothers are such pivotal teachers in this world and so it follows that we as children take on board so many of our beliefs from them; what they do simply becomes what we do, without question. How amazing Denise that when you were offered this wonderful lesson from Shannon, instead of staying stuck in the belief that you have lived by for so long, you chose to learn and grow from it.

  27. Denise, it is lovely to read of your openness to embracing, unwrapping and learning from the evolutionary gift your daughter presented you with. I have learned much from your sharing, thank you.

  28. Denise,
    Realising where we are living that is in some way controlling or over powering of another hurts us deeply for we know innately that this is not how we want to be. We like to think that we are not being this way and when it is exposed to us by another it is this inner knowing that we have disregarded ourselves, our love our tenderness that we then want to not feel how much it hurts. But hurt it does and like you share Denise it is only when it is exposed that we then reflect on the choices we have made and begin to make different choices.

  29. Reading your blog again Denise made me realise why I used to throw these horrendous tantrums around my children, I did exactly the same thing, I disregarded myself and often put others first. The sadness of these disregarding choices came out as pent up anger. It was really exposing to realise this and also very supportive as I now understand how harmful it is to not honour and love myself first. So, now I am learning to not impose or fall back into disregarding myself but to truly love and care for me first so I can be that to others.

  30. Wow Denise I love your honesty! What you have shared can change the way of being a mother: “I loved being a mother, but I was mothering at the expense of me, and could see how mum had done the same all her life.” With this kind of change our children will never live at the expense of themselves – how powerful is it to be a true mother!

  31. Thank you Denise I loved what you have shared i can so relate to what you have said, I too loved being a mother and thought by advising my children that was a loving thing to do all the while with no love for myself and no true love for my children. I have learnt to gradually cut the ties and allow both myself and my children to be responsible for our own choices, my choice to self love and and self caring can reflect to them a different way of being with no more telling them what to do.

    1. Jill, i love this … ‘my choice to self love and and self caring can reflect to them a different way of being with no more telling them what to do’.

  32. I can relate to believing that telling others what to do, how to do things, or giving advice is helpful when it actually can be quite imposing. What I have learned now is that the true way is actually to live something ourselves and reflect it to others, allowing another the space to make whatever choices they need to without imposition. For me, when I’m invested in an outcome (another being or doing what I want or need) then in comes the interfering way of imposing advice etc. Its a great learning you have shared Denise.

  33. Denise , this has also been such a huge topic for me, and no doubt for so many mothers and how they have mothered. I had realized how controlling and imposing i have been in my behaviour towards my own daughters, but never known how to overcome this. As i now know and continue to learn and practise that by focussing on myself first, taking care of me, how i feel, what i need, appreciating and accepting what i feel and know, I can carry myself in wisdom and love. There is now more space in me and my relationships with others, as i accept myself more and more as i am. I recognize that I do not need to make ‘things’ right in the world , or ‘right wrongs’ with my children or others to get a sense of satisfaction that i am ‘mothering’ right. Just being there to listen, (without needing to fix anything) is all that is needed often.

  34. A very real and relatable blog Denise. There is such a magic when a parent and son/daughter and a ‘best friend’ relationship, as opposed to a mother/father – son/daughter one.

  35. Mothering is such a big issue that is often deeply ingrained in everything we do. What I have come to realise is that even when I think I am not mothering I am.

  36. Thank you for sharing this, Denise. I can see in the way we are in my family how we hold on and keep playing the patterns through generations as if we have no other options. It is very beautiful and inspiring to read how a drop of honesty can make a ripple of true change into the way we have carried on life times. This may or may not happen in my family, but your sharing has inspired me to commit more to bringing the whole of me in any interaction, just in case it might inspire others.

  37. Denise, this is an amazing account of your willingness to look at what is in the way between you and LOVE and to actually take the steps and the responsibility to remove these self-created obstacles, which is as you share not always done without resistance and some kicking and screaming but certainly liberates us to express more of who we are.

  38. When we are kids, we find tricks that get us what we want and cover up the painful bits. We learn to play up and out to manipulate life to protect us from the bits we don’t like. As adults, we like to think the problems we have are complex and deep, but really all we are doing is playing out the same games we have always done, just in a different shape and form. If only we could stop and see that like the youngest sweetest child we all deserve someone to say ‘hey that is not ok, but tell me dear whats going on? How do you feel my son?’. How amazing that it is not too late for this healing to happen, no matter what your age, and for the repeating pattern to be brought to an end. How sweet that in your case Denise it was your daughter who brought this game to light.

  39. Many parents feel that they have rights over their children and I have felt this in the past also. Like you, Denise, I am deeply grateful to my children for calling out this behaviour which has allowed me to peel off another layer of the deep disregard i held myself in.

  40. What a profound revelation Denise. Thank you for sharing this deeply healing unfolding, one we can all learn from. I too have lived in a way that was not self-honoring or self-loving, putting what was important for others or what others needed first, which led me to impose this expectation on others also.Through disregarding myself and what was true for me, I then held the expectation for others to do the same for me. In separation to our truth we live a lie, perpetuating behaviours and patterns that do not reflect who we are or offer the opportunity for another to be themselves either. Through being honest with ourselves we live in connection to our truth and we then express and share with a quality that embraces and honors the love we all are in essence.

  41. The awarenesses you have come to about mothering and some of the behaviours around this are truly profound. Many don’t usually stop to contemplate them let alone commit to changing long held patterns regardless of the harm they cause. I can’t but be inspired by you choosing the love you have… and the benefits of this are a testament to the enormity of what you have chosen.

  42. When we allow ourselves to see things as an offering to learn and grow, we enter a evolutionary relationship. The way all our relationship should be. Very beautiful Denise.

  43. To have and hold the self love to speak up no matter to whom it is, is so honouring of oneself. I have found myself in Shannon’s shoes on several occasions having to speaking up and then carrying it out what I have said which I have found to be the most difficult part. People respect me and do not have expectations like they did before that I will drop everything to fit in with their plans.

  44. I love how you describe with honesty the reaction you felt and how you stayed with it and didn’t run away but allowed it to be and sat with it and looked at it. So often when something comes up that rocks our comfort we can react, try to blame, play victim or push it away. So great that you allowed the learning and the evolution that came from that to then give you a greater platform for a more loving relationship.

  45. The image of mothering and its whereabouts is a killer for mothers. Mothering (like fathering) is an expression through which old hurts, beliefs, concepts, emotions make their way into the present. We have to be aware of it.

  46. It is very beautiful to feel that we are all teachers and that when we have an ideal or image that teaching can only be one sided, we miss out on some very important and life changing lessons.

  47. ‘mothering at the expense of me’ is a great realisation. What else do we do ‘at the expense of ourselves’? This exposes in me and age old energy of self-negation and putting others first – anything but self-loving. It also makes me aware of an energetic dynamic in my relationship with my mother I had not seen before. Thank you for sharing your miracle here Denise.

  48. Although taking responsibility for everything that occurs in my life makes absolute sense to me I have not found it easy. It is a step by step process uncovering more about myself through the reflections in my life. Those closest to me are my biggest reflections hence they have triggered the most intense reactions in me but recently I got to feel and become more aware of my ill-behaviours which I found to be quite revealing.

  49. To demand anything energetically from another is to not be in true relationship, full stop.
    That said, we have been bombarded from day one, with expectations and demands, roles that ‘should’ be played and the rest – and so every step we take in recognising what is not true, and releasing others from the hold of our own demands, expectations and needs, is deeply important and powerful for all concerned. Offering the opportunity to set the relationship at a whole other level, in a whole other playing field – where we may actually grow, rather than perpetuate the ‘same old’ that has gone for perhaps generations before, that truly we must ask, hasn’t really got humanity anywhere…

  50. It’s a pretty amazing moment when you realise that the buck stops with you. In my case there has been a cycle of self-abuse that has continued unchecked throughout my family. I have now seen this clearly, felt how it is playing out in my life and my relationship with abuse. It will not continue past me. It stops here.

  51. I love the true relationship that was allowed to establish by you taking what Shannon said and living through your initial reaction. It’s very confronting when our comfortable Ways are exposed and our way of life needs to adjust, but wow look at the growth you both had from so doing, well worth it!

  52. This blog blows me away. I have such appreciation for ‘The way of the Livingness’ when I hear and read stories such as yours Denise. It offers a way to be with another that is based on truth and not emotions, and in this true love can be lived.

  53. Self love can only be where there is truth; what a responsibility we have to know and feel the truth. I love what you have expressed in this blog Denise, it is loving, nurturing and very inspiring, thank you.

  54. It is beautiful to read Denise that you were so open and willing to look at this deep held pattern and to take responsibility for your part in letting it go. Too often many parents feel a sense of ownership over their children and don’t treat them with respect or as an equal, the choice you made to stop and review your behaviour has bought many including yourself a deep healing.

  55. The role of parenting is so thick with illusion and so tightly bound and held by the many ideals, belief and pictures that breaking can be attempted many times before it truly happens. Today I too, celebrate the honesty and calling out of old patterns by my adult children for it is their honest reflection that allows me to see the unhealthy attachment I hold to them. This blog has been so supportive Denise – Thank you.

  56. When I took responsibility for my choices the veil that I had been hiding behind just dropped away which gave me so much understanding of my past choices and at the same time, I knew all I had to do was make new choices to self-care and self-nurture and it began with baby steps, with one new step leading to another. Today my life has transformed, all the drama and emotions I once bought into and controlled me are no longer there. My life has become simpler and uncomplicated, and I am being constantly confirmed of the sweet, gorgeous and wise woman that I am, and that we all are when we so choose it.

  57. Beautifully expressed Denise. I always find that the things that make me react the most hold the key to the biggest healing and your story demonstrates this so well.

  58. Taking responsibility for all our choices is true parenting both for ourselves and for our children.

  59. It is so common for parents to give advice thinking they are helping, but it actually feels horrible, I always hated it when my parents gave me advice, ‘I had felt when my mum gave me unwarranted advice, and would not leave me to come to things in my own way.’

  60. So many mothers mother at huge expense of themselves, ‘I had always put my children first – I would do anything for them, in total disregard for me, never considering how it felt for me.’ A great realisation and opportunity to heal this false pattern.

  61. What a beautiful story of graciously accepting the reflection on offer, taking it and running with it. What a healing from a simple text.

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