Throughout our lifetimes we take on many roles. Often these roles serve to shape the way we live, from our perspectives, to our emotions, to our values. This is a concept with which I am intimately familiar.
Sixteen years ago I became a mother, and while the role does not define me, motherhood informs my perspective on absolutely everything in my experience. Motherhood is the lens through which I view my reality; every day, in every circumstance.
Among many things, the archetypal Mother is a gentle nurturer. Viewing the world from this perspective brings clarity to so many situations, and has caused me to adopt an attitude of compassion that was not nearly so fully developed before.
For example, I see it as my role to make sure that my children know they are cherished. But I have found that it doesn’t stop there. Through this lens of motherhood, since everyone is someone’s child, is it not beneficial (rewarding to both myself and these others) for me to do what I can to awaken that knowledge in them as well? And if, indeed, I cherish everyone, how can I ever deliberately cause another person pain? (The gentle nurturer’s flip-side is a fierce lioness. For me this is manifest in the compulsion to speak and act in defense of people who are victims of injustice, or who suffer unnecessary pain.)
Of course, I am not unaware that there are many who share this perspective who have arrived here without having borne children. Perhaps this sense of empathy would have been awakened in me through some other role I might have taken on, some other detour on the journey. But it was the path of motherhood that led me to this place of love and compassion, or at least to the awareness of its presence within me.
Motherhood doesn’t define me, but in shaping my worldview and molding my experience, it most definitely shapes Who I Am. Sixteen years ago I became a mother, and in giving birth to my child, I gave birth to my Self.
What roles in your life have given birth to Who You Are?
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