Why Can’t I Be Kind To My Mother?

By Val Boyko • March 14th, 2011

Daughter looking at motherReading  a recent posting on the Active Kindness blog, I found myself asking this question  “Why can’t I be kind to my mother all the time?”

Mother daughter relationships are complex. We feel close and depend on Mom’s love and approval, yet need to be independent and separate adults. What holds us back from giving our mother kindness?

Are we holding onto the resentment of not feeling fully loved or the hurt when we didn’t get our needs met by her? The answer is  probably YES!

Surprised? Relieved?…..

You are not alone.  When Mom criticizes you, ignores you, or tells you what you should be doing, it triggers a button that protects the hurt feeling that we experienced in the past.

We get hooked into the blame game and holding on to a grievance. It helps us feel right and self righteous, which also prevents us from looking inwards or admitting that there is an old hurt still there.

What is the cost to us of holding onto the grievance and not allowing ourselves to be kind?….. It might be guilt, and a feeling of something that’s incomplete. Or having to live with a button that easily gets triggered and raises our blood pressure. Or an uneasy knowing that we are not being our best selves. Research shows that it can also cost us our optimal health.

Think about what it has cost you to hold onto this grievance.

Now think about what the cost is of not being kind and forgiving.

If an internal voice still says “but it’s up to her, not me!” then it’s time to review what you are learning about mother daughter relationships! We all have the choice of being kind or not.

Holding out for our mother to make the first move may be a pipe dream. Waiting for her is also giving our power away and putting it back with mom. It keeps us stuck instead of moving towards the outcome that we want.

If not now, then when? ….. What has been holding you back that you are ready to let go of?


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