Daring to Forgive

This week, I practiced forgiveness.

Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly allowed me to reflect on my culture, and on my relationship between my Hoyo and me. Hoyo is the Somali word for mom.

My parents grew up in an entirely different culture so they developed mindset that helped them survive in that environment. These last couple of days, I analyzed my relationship with my mom; I spotlighted our relationship specifically because I’m a mother myself, and as different as we are, I embody her; I often catch myself using my Hoyo’s mannerisms.

I stay up with my daughter when she’s sick; I cradle her in my lap, sitting on the uncomfortable toilet cover for hours so the steam from the hot shower relieves the pressure in her sinuses. Even long after she falls asleep. I learned that love from my mom.

My Hoyo tells us she sacrificed her life for us kids. She never finished her E.S.L classes or pursued a job or developed deep connections with other people because she was too busy caring for us. She never ate before we did, never slept longer than we did, and never bought nice things for herself. She engrained in us that she sacrificed her life, her soul, every fiber of her being for us.

My love for my daughter is fierce, and beautiful, because I learned how to love from my parents, specifically, my mom. I found myself working to the bone to provide what I thought was the best for my family. I believed, fervently, that scrubbing the tile in the bathroom on my hands and knees was an expression of love, the ultimate sacrifice.

Why then, did I feel so unbelievably empty, and alone?

The mindset of tremendous, soul-crushing sacrifice played a critical role in my depression. I used it as the only tool in my toolbox to quantify my love to those closest to me; it was the only tool I kept sharpened and oiled, not knowing there were other ways to practice love.

I went through the majority of my life feeling contempt towards my parents.

Today, I release that resentment because resentment hinders growth.

I forgive my parents, especially my mom. I will forever be grateful for my parents. They did the best they could with what they have. They loved us the only way they knew how.

Sacrifice is important, but it isn’t the only tool at my disposal. I can simultaneously want the best for my daughter, my husband, and my family, while also wanting the best for myself.

I will pursue my dreams and take time for myself. I will read books and seek experiences that will help me grow. I will go to the gym and eat healthy. I’ll cultivate meaningful relationships. I will be happy. I will exemplify grit, confidence, strength, independence, humility, and passion. If I don’t exemplify these qualities and pursue a life that I want, how can I expect my daughter to?

Thanks for reading.

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