Embracing True Devotion as a Woman and Mother

by Sharon, Australia

My life has been all about devotion, and many who know me would agree that I have been a devoted mother to my seven children. In addition, I have been devoted to my work both as a Birth Educator and also a Nurse, as well as being devoted to giving back to the community. In all this devotion there has been very little self-devotion and self-nurturing to myself as a woman. In fact, what I truly have been is another D word, which stands for ‘driven’, in which I have felt that I could never do enough to feel that I deserved any space in which to just be devoted to myself.

For me, the experience of growing up in a large family with a father who chose alcohol and work over family, and a mother who was barely coping with her own life, created a belief in me that when I would have a family I would do it ‘better’. I was determined that I would be there for my kids and contribute something truly worthwhile to society. From reaction to my own upbringing I worked very hard to be a better mother, educator and forever available friend. In the pursuit of how to do it or things better, I embraced many ideals from what I read and from the experts I consulted. This resulted in me completely abandoning my own inner intuition and trying to do the best to have the ‘perfect home birth’, to be the ‘best attachment parent’, to ‘breastfeed for years’ despite what I felt about it, and essentially always put the needs of my children and others before my own.

In reaction to what I saw happening in school with my first two children, I decided it would be best for my younger kids to be home educated. This created a huge pressure for me as I continued to work part-time and run my home with very little support. Throughout all this I justified within me that I was ‘doing the best’ for my family, and would even openly share that I would see others who were acting out of reaction in their choices with their own children, but I was not one of them! The arrogance I held about my choices did not allow me to see the actual harm I was doing to myself and my children, as my motivation was coming from the place of all the doing that would fill the exact place where I felt I was ‘not enough’.

Despite all this doing and driving, I actually often felt that I was not doing enough… I would feel guilty about this at times and would lose it because it all felt too much. From this place I would try ‘even harder’ to meet my kids by consulting yet another book or taking yet another’s idea to ‘get it right’. Throughout these intense years, I had very little support from my husband ­as he was living his own belief that he was doing the best he could by going to work every day, and that it was the mother’s role to take most of the responsibility for the children. Inevitably my frustration and resentment grew with my choice to be responsible for so much.

Throughout this time my health suffered and I was often unwell with colds and viruses. I managed to keep myself functioning by placing my trust in alternative medicine, but never truly regaining my health. This all changed 3 years ago when my body, after 26 years of mothering, gifted me with the stop I truly needed – I was diagnosed with a severe endocrine issue that left me barely able to get through my days, and which even my fistful of alternative supplements could not fix. I had no choice but to seek traditional western medicine and to go on medication so that I would be able to get up each day and function. Even though I knew at some level my choices had resulted in my health issue, I still wanted to blame someone else for them. I decided that if only my husband had been more supportive along the way and had not held the belief that raising the family was all my responsibility, then I would not have become so sick.

In a vain attempt to nurture myself, and for the first time since I had been a mother, I booked into a five-day health retreat. This decision would completely change my life… and not just because I managed to get five days of rest and relief from the way I was choosing to live. The change experienced was ignited through some spa treatments I received from a Universal Medicine Esoteric Practitioner. I knew nothing about what an Esoteric Practitioner did, but what I felt in my two sessions inspired me to continue having esoteric healings when I returned home to my family. With the loving support of Jenny Ellis, within six months my health had improved dramatically, and more importantly, I had started to address how I was choosing to live. I slowly began to be more loving and caring towards myself; by going to bed actually when I felt tired; also by removing foods from my diet which I already knew did not agree with me; and starting to actually nominate the choices I had made that did not come from that innate place within me, but instead from all that had happened to me.

I realised that it was no-one else’s fault that I never felt I ‘was enough’, or that I didn’t feel supported. The fact was that I had never truly and lovingly supported myself. 

With time I allowed myself to feel the hurt of what I had chosen for myself in living out an ideal of what I have taken to mean as being a ‘mother’, and never what it truly means to live first as a woman who is devoted to herself.

This is a process that is still very much unfolding for me as I continue to expose many more of the ideals and beliefs that I still hold about ‘mothering’ and ‘being better’.

This unfoldment has been deeply assisted by my own initial commitment to return to a deeper connection within myself, and also from what has been shared with me through attending Universal Medicine presentations and workshops. I have been deeply inspired by Serge Benhayon and his unwavering devotion to making life simple and about love. For the last two years I have been attending an Esoteric Developers Women’s Group and have been lovingly supported by its presenters Natalie Benhayon, Jenny Ellis and Mary-Louise Myers, to understand what it means to live as woman in world that is dominated by drive and striving. I also continue to have esoteric treatments, including Esoteric Breast Massage and Esoteric Ovary Massage, which I have found to be an amazing way to feel more of the woman I truly am. As well I have been deeply supported by the honesty shared in my sessions with Michael Benhayon, and the Psychologist Caroline Raphael.

The way I choose to live each day now is much less about drive and striving to better, and more about being devoted to honouring myself first and being more aware of how I am holding myself in all that I do. From a woman who prided herself on only taking 5-10 minutes to get ready in the morning, I now can take up to two hours – and it feels great for me to have that time spent on myself. I also find I have more body awareness and can feel when I start to go into that ‘drive motion’ that does not feel good in my body. I can also feel when I am avoiding taking responsibility and looking for a reaction from either another, or a situation. I do not get this right every day and sometimes fall back into the pattern of trying, blaming and wanting everything to feel better. But what I am also developing in myself is a place where I don’t give myself such a hard time for not ‘being perfect’… which feels amazing from how I felt about myself before.

I imagine some women may read what I have shared and think “no wonder you became exhausted and sick in light of some of the choices you made” (not everyone goes to the extreme of having seven kids!). Although this is true, I do feel that many women I know personally have worked in similar roles as a Birth Educator, and also nurses working with people with cancer, and who have all felt driven to be better mothers, wives, partners, workers, givers in the community – often at the expense of their own self-care and true nurturing for themselves first.

My self-realisations are not intended to suggest that anyone who chooses some of the things that I chose are doing the wrong things for themselves, but more for every woman to consider what truly may be driving them to make certain choices in their lives that may not be working for them, as was my case.

For myself, I came to the knowing within me that how I feel about myself and my choice to be devoted to myself is not dependent on what I do, what I do not do, or how anyone else perceives me.

It is just about connecting to the undeniable truth that I have a deep loveliness within me, and that when I give permission and allow this feeling to be in me, it feels like there is no other way to be.

From this place I find I can be lovingly devoted to myself as a woman first, which allows me to more innately know about how to embrace myself as a true mother, Birth Educator, nurse and friend; and that it is not about doing, but more just about being connected to myself first, which allows me to then truly know what to do next.

234 thoughts on “Embracing True Devotion as a Woman and Mother

  1. I used to pride myself about how I was a ‘low maintenance woman’ where I pretty much got out of bed and threw some clothes on and then considered myself ready for the day…there was little to no self care or self nurturing and any exercise was done in a way that ticked the box, chores where done to show how capable I was of handling everything, studies were done to show how I was able to dedicate myself to a degree and complete it with great results…. This finally began to change for me too when I realised it was time to begin loving myself up. This happened for me, also after a series of Esoteric healing sessions and I realised how lovely it actually felt to do this for myself, and I am still growing and learning to look after myself with more refined detail and care and love.

  2. This is a super inspiring point that all of us as women can benefit from pondering on: “With time I allowed myself to feel the hurt of what I had chosen for myself in living out an ideal of what I have taken to mean as being a ‘mother’, and never what it truly means to live first as a woman who is devoted to herself.”

  3. “I realised that it was no-one else’s fault that I never felt I ‘was enough’, or that I didn’t feel supported. The fact was that I had never truly and lovingly supported myself.” This is a big one to realise, we are given pictures of how life is supposed to be, especially with partners, friends, and family, but the pictures can never be delivered in terms of others supplying their love to us. It’s a day to day learning that the love is within and allowing life and all our choices to stem from there. Part of that is letting go of expectations of others (and blame) and realising the power to change our lives comes from reconnecting to our own love.

  4. It is only when we make the choice to be devoted to ourselves that we start to re-connect to our inner essence and truly feel that in just being ourselves we are enough and no outside validation is needed. This is a constant unfolding for me as I let go of the need of others’ recognition in work and other areas of my life.

  5. Sharon thank you for your honesty and in writing this blog it enables us all to discuss how we just seem to function. It feels to me that we have reduced ourselves to robots and to get through the day we have invented so many distractions that we sleep walk through life totally unaware that there is so much more to life than what we can see on the surface.

  6. “I can also feel when I am avoiding taking responsibility and looking for a reaction from either another, or a situation.” I hadn’t quite considered this in my own life, something for me to look out for. I agree Sharon that all you have shared is very relatable to women everywhere, whether we do or don’t have children, as the striving and driving ourselves mentality is quite pervasive.

    1. In avoiding taking responsibility for ourselves we tend to blame others for not supporting us when all along it is ourselves who have abandoned us. It is only when we choose to build a supportive foundation and take the focus off what others are doing or not doing that we can feel what is needed.

  7. The feeling that we are never enough and we need to do and be more drives us into exhaustion and eventually sickness. I went through life thinking I was never enough and would be critical with myself for thinking that what ever I did not match up to my expectations of how I thought I should be and how I would like the world to see me. It is only from building a loving foundation and appreciating what I know is true for me that I know no longer need to be in constant drive to prove my worth.

  8. Constantly pushing and driving ourselves is a great distraction away from living the full power and magnificence of who we truly are,

  9. It is interesting how even in all the doing and driving to achieve we feel an emptiness inside and a feeling of not being enough. I now understand how it is through building a connection with ourselves first and consistently honouring how we are feeling in our body that we build a quality of presence and awareness to be able to lovingly support ourselves and to value and appreciate the beauty of our innate qualities.

    1. Achievement without connection really only gives us a brief excitement, and then the emptiness is felt even more… Doing things with connection means we don’t place as much emphasis on the outcome, but rather on the quality of how we do things and the quality of connection with self and another.

  10. What really stood out for me with this article is how we as women can go into drive being the best mother, daughter, wife, friend and yet we do not bring that to ourselves. Thank you, Sharon, great article.

  11. It’s pretty incredible that as women, we generally have no idea about the importance of taking care of ourselves first and how we make sure that everything else ‘has to’ come first. That putting ourselves at the bottom of our own to-do lists (of our own making) is so prevalent and so ingrained that not doing that is often seen as selfish. But if there’s zero quality in what we’re doing, what are we actually contributing, and what are we really bringing to our relationships, families and work if we’re resentful about all the responsibilities we’ve taken on and put on ourselves? Thanks for sharing your story Sharon of how learning how to look after ourselves, how to truly love, care for and nurture our own bodies, and make choices based on what we actually feel and not what we think we should be thinking, saying or doing, is where we need to start.

  12. I am learning the importance of bringing devotion and nurturing to self first before we are truly able to bring it to another, ‘In all this devotion there has been very little self-devotion and self-nurturing to myself as a woman.’

  13. Thank you Sharon for sharing your story. Having read your blog I will certainly be considering the driving force behind the choices I make in life, that are not supporting me to be all that I am.

  14. When we look outside ourselves for validation we will never get to the point where we feel we are enough. It is only when we connect to our inner essence that we can feel what it is that is needed in any situation and then we don’t have to go into drive to constantly be justifying our existence.

  15. I can really relate to being devoted to the many roles that I had created for myself and in the process totally losing sight of myself and then resenting and blaming others for not ‘being there’ for me. Since I starting looking after myself and letting go of the distraction of various roles where I imposed what I thought should happen in situations I am far more settled and people around me benefit from a calmer and more joyful mother, colleague, friend etc

  16. It seems you were devoted to everyone and everything outside of yourself with little time for you, and now you are realising the importance of nurturing and cherishing yourself, ‘more about being devoted to honouring myself first and being more aware of how I am holding myself in all that I do.’ What a fantastic turn around of how you were living.

  17. Being a super-mum is something that many women aspire to be. It’s great that you have burst this bubble. You will pave the way for many more women to make that change.

  18. A beautiful sharing of how your body brought you to a stop, and that you then chose to bring nurturing and devotion into your life.

  19. Simply becoming more aware of those moments where I put my kids before me is a start. I find it interesting the energy running through my body when I am behaving in this way. I can feel the functioning but also how I am being driven by something that is certainly not who I am. The more I feel the ill-behaviours and movements that do not support me the more I can feel the harm and abuse towards myself. This is a good thing because I then begin to change my ways.

  20. It’s a real trap in any kind of relationship to blame another, it cements in the disempowerment and let’s us off the hook from being responsible for ourselves. It can take a while to clear these things because we are taught that love is outside of ourselves and society has a myriad of pictures of happily-ever-after coming from someone loving us and the way another treats us. Thanks for all you have shared Sharon, like yourself I am a woman returning to self devotion and learning to live from my own self love after years of putting others ahead of me.

  21. “The way I choose to live each day now is much less about drive and striving to better, and more about being devoted to honouring myself first and being more aware of how I am holding myself in all that I do.” This is so beautiful. So many women – and mothers- are in drive – getting everything ‘right’ for their families to the detriment of themselves. Indeed many of us older women were taught this was the way – so not true…. When we honour ourselves we affect everyone around us too.

  22. I cannot ever blame another for the situation I find myself in. When blame begins to creep in, it is a moment to pause and reflect on my movements and how I can change them to be loving and supportive towards myself.

    1. The blame is like a condition we put on life believing we can’t move on or enjoy being ourselves because of what someone did or didn’t do. It is a great learning to realise we can still choose our own love and support no matter what is happening around us.

  23. I agree that most women are driven to be better versions of whatever role they have identified with – the mother, daughter, friend etc. Feeling not enough is a constant drain and means we are too busy for joy. Whereas with being the women you are, there is no trying or doing. It’s all just there. What a trick we play on ourselves to not know this.

    1. It’s the proverbial dangling carrot and unreachable ideal and we chase after it like is an actual truth, it’s a perpetual cycle we chose to engage in that keeps us from enjoying life and delighting in and appreciating ourselves exactly as we are.

  24. The never feeling enough feeling is epidemic amongst women in this world, how much time effort and energy is wasted feeding thoughts of un worthiness.

  25. The drive and striving to better coming from a belief that we are not enough is an exhausting way of life and I can relate to the frustration and resentment of having the idea that as mother you all have to do it on your own, that it is all your responsibility. I have had years of severe migraine on because I was so frustrated about my life and putting everyone first. Just like you I have turned my life around and ‘The way I choose to live each day now is much less about drive and striving to better, and more about being devoted to honouring myself first and being more aware of how I am holding myself in all that I do.’

  26. It is incredibly beautiful as I make self loving choices to see the reflections around me. There is respect, love, an honouring and appreciation for who I am that I could have only dreamt about and not that long ago either all because of my choice to respect, love, honour and appreciate me. There is a long way to go but I have begun the journey home to finding the real me and it feels amazing.

  27. Wow, I am sure that many can relate to feeling the way you described at the start – drive to do more, better and achieve at the expense of who we are. When we don’t use quality as a measure for how our days or lives are, then it is all to easy to get caught in the race to get things done to prove our worth, even if we end the day feeling exhausted or empty.

  28. Despite good intentions, when we parent from a reaction to how we were parented it never really supports the kids, the relationships or the parent, as it is really just the other extreme. I also experienced the drive to put everyone ahead of myself, believing this was how you showed love and care. I know it’s an old saying but I finally came to realise that you can’t actually love anyone until you love yourself. Caring for others more than yourself is an imbalance and disharmony that eventually will have an impact on your body as well as your relationships.

  29. “Despite all this doing and driving, I actually often felt that I was not doing enough…” I too know this one and ‘trying harder’ too. Holding up expectations and pictures of how we should be – and then bashing ourselves cos we don’t live up to them is exhausting. Stopping and appreciating who we truly are allows more space in the day – and to live in a rhythm that is our own individual and unique way also allows there to be more time to do what we need to. Magic!

  30. All the drive and striving to try to match up to a picture of our imagination is exhausting but when we stop to appreciate the precious beauty of who we already are then we understand the saying ‘Just be all the love that you are.’

  31. I have definitely been at times very invested in this need or desire to be the best parent I could possibly be, which was especially difficult when all of my failings would be so shockingly clear. Over time I am learning the value of simply being me, imperfect in so many ways, but also just very real.

  32. It is just gorgeous to read of the life you once chose mold to the one you have now created for yourself through your unwavering commitment to lovingly devote yourself to you and as a result benefit all around you. This is a truly stunning transformation that is deeply inspiring for all who read it.

  33. Not being enough is something that I have felt for a large part of my life especially as a child and so I can recognise the drive that you went into Sharon to make sure you were the ‘best mother to your children, but the drive comes at the expense of ourselves. Before coming to the Esoteric Women’s Group’s I had little understanding of what self care self nurturing meant and how harmful driving and pushing ourselves to the point of physical and mental exhaustion was to our health

  34. I agree devotion to self needs to come before devotion to any-one else other wise we need to question the quality of the devotion to another, because we cannot give what is truly needed to another unless we have given to our self first.

  35. When I hear the word devotion I immediately think of being dedicated or really committed to something outside of ourselves in a similar way that some religious people give themselves over to religious practices or beliefs at the expense of themselves or feeling not worthy of the same care or attention that they give out to others or their chosen religion. So it is great to hear you speak about devotion in terms of being devoted to caring for one’s self in equal balance to caring for others, with the understanding that how we care for ourselves builds a quality of being that then flows naturally into a quality of care that we can offer others.

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