Did you get the memo that motherhood is messy? That no one is superwoman, and we all have our secret areas that we have to compensate for, because there are only a limited amount of hours in the day?
The idea is trending. From anonymous magazine articles to women bravely sharing their struggles, we are finally taking off the mask and stepping down from our pedestals. We are admitting that we are all in this “thing” called life together, and we are all struggling, so we may as well be open and honest and give each other much needed support.
However, we are stopping right there. We managed to collectively scratch deeper than the “perfect” outside, but we haven’t explored past our heavy challenges and issues.
It reminds me of a story.
A man once came to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, disillusioned by the people in his life. “Rebbe, I meet all these people who come across as kind, upstanding individuals. But as soon as I get to know them, I discover ugly sides to their character. And then, I just lose hope for humanity!”
The Rebbe responded with a metaphor.
“Imagine walking down the street and seeing a beautiful garden. You would see delicate flowers and bright colors. You’d see beauty and elegance and Mother Nature’s touch.
But if you would dig deeper, do you know what you would find? Mud. Lots of mud. Under all that beauty is mud.”
The Rebbe paused and smiled. “But if you would keep on digging, you would reach pure, flowing water. Maybe a spring, or maybe other natural resources. Under some gardens, you can even find gold. You just have to keep digging.”
The man got the point, and so can we.
It’s true that underneath the perfect exterior, we have an inner world, or mud if you may. We all struggle with our very human challenges or demons we come across on a daily basis. But we have to keep digging!
We can’t stop at “admitting” we’re not perfect. We gotta dig until we reach our inner core, our inner spring of water that helps us overcome anything that comes our way. It’s not enough to acknowledge that we need help, but we have to actually access it and reach deeper than our issue. It’s important not to deny our problems, but we can’t be defined by them either! If we are drowning in our own mud, it’s pretty certain we’ll be seeing everyone else through muddy eyes as well.
So there’s the garden. And there’s the mud. But we can’t settle for that! It takes tenacity to keep on digging. It takes belief in our inherent goodness, in our soul’s infinite potential. We owe it to ourselves to clear the mud and reach our precious resources.
Here are some ideas that can help with the “digging”:
1. Having someone who passionately believes in you. Whether it is a friend, coach, spouse, or therapist, it is important to have someone in your life who believes that you can thrive, and that you have whatever it takes to be the best person you can be. Go ahead and be honest with them—and believe them when they tell you that you can do it.
2. Taking the time to discover what makes you feel connected to your healthy, inner core. For me, it is spending time in nature, especially near a body of water. I literally feel like I could connect to my soul, and by extension to Hashem, when I have my “fix” of nature. And so, I build “nature time” into my schedule.
What can you do that will make you connect to your inner, unstoppable self?
3. Learning. When my mind is not engaged, I feel empty and “stuck in the mud”. It is important for me to have time to stimulate my mind. To learn things that inspire me and take me out of myself.
Does learning invigorate you? Does davening? Does meditating? What is it that helps you dig deeper to the awesome potential found inside your soul?
Resourceful woman that you are, I’m sure you can add to the list! And the amazing thing is, when you are on your own journey, tapping into the strength of your inner spring, you can, in turn, inspire others to do the same.