Episode 35

Nurture Series Part I: How Do You Nurture Your Self-Perception?

What do you think of you?

I ask because if you’re not intentional about your self-perception, you’ll passively take your cues from others’ opinions. And your place in this world and your child’s life is too important to live out bound by people’s limited perspective of you.

This episode starts a series empowering a woman known for nurturing others—to nurture herself.

Listen to Episode 35

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Homework: Step Back and Reflect

The following are the questions I asked in today’s episode…

What do you think about yourself and where did that come from? What’s true and what’s trash and do you need help in sorting that out? How does your view of you impact your motherhood? What would nurturing a healthy self-perception look like for you?

If you have trouble answering these, consider meeting with a therapist. There’s no shame in teamwork.

Book cover titled...DADDY's Girl Forever: Come Home to the Truth About God's Heart Towards You by Vanessa A. Harris

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Because your womanhood has everything to do with your childhood—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This book helps you care for the girl in you and for yourself.

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Episode 35 Transcript

It’s said you are what you eat, but the book of Proverbs says you are what you think. So what have you been thinking about yourself? And how are the seeds you planted in the soil of your mind impacting your quality of life? We’ll talk about that in today’s episode. 

This is Motherhood Unmasked. The podcast for real talk about the challenges moms face. I’m your hose, Vanessa Harris, but momma, you’re the hero. So, leave your mask at the door. We’re all friends here.

Hey there, Mama Bare. Vanessa here with compassion, candor and clarity for you, the mom who knows motherhood is a wild ride and sometimes you want off the roller coaster. 

I’m so glad you’re here. 

Before we get into today’s topic I have a quick question for you. Did you know your womanhood has everything to do with your childhood? 

Think about it. What you did or didn’t get growing up informs how you show up and move through life today. 

Women, like me, who struggled with insecurity and tried to compensate with perfectionism, found the truths in my book DADDY’s Girl Forever liberating. 

And the audiobook is now available on Audible. For a free copy of DADDY’s Girl Forever and a free 30 day trial to enjoy other books on Audible head to bit.ly/dgfaudio

So, if you’re a regular then you remember episode 10 when I went on record about the best self-care. 

And I stand by my position that delegating household maintenance aka chores is the best self-care for moms with children living at home because it’s built into your daily life rather than living for a pampering session once a week or on a holiday. 

Though to be clear, I love a good massage any time I can get one on my schedule! 

But those are practical examples of self-care involving your body and you are soul and spirit also. 

Your soul is your mind, will, and emotions, all of which need care too. 

So starting today and for the next few episodes I thought we’d unpack other types of self-care. 

The kinds you may not give much forethought that are essential to the quality of life you may find elusive. 

Elusive because they’re tied to your ability to nurture yourself. 

Nurture. There goes that word again we touched on in episode 21 when we debunked the myth that all moms are natural nurturers. 

And it’s not surprising when many women aren’t natural self nurturers. 

Oh, don’t get me wrong, you nurture your husband, your children, your pets, your neighbors, your friends, your friend’s neighbors—you get the point. 

You will nurture anything you can find before you consider your own nurturing. 

And will be mad someone else doesn’t do for you what you do for others, but guess what? 

I love reciprocity much as the next person but sometimes you have to let misplaced expectations fall to the side and advocate for yourself. 

And that may not be natural for you if you weren’t nurtured growing up. 

I grew up in an immigrant family where there wasn’t a lot of feeling sharing or self-discovery going on. 

We’re a dust yourself and keep it moving kind of crew. My parents had an American dream to pursue. 

So I didn’t have a framework for processing experiences, my feelings about them and how to properly characterize them. 

Which is a needed skill because your takeaway from an experience significantly impacts what you think about yourself. 

My temperament helped me fill in the gaps to a degree, but just enough to make clear the importance of nurturing yourself in the context of self-perception.  

And today we’re diving into that. 

Now unless your temperament is similar to mine where you’re predisposed to analysis, I’m guessing taking time to think about WHAT you’re thinking about is low on your list of priorities and thinking about what you think of yourself doesn’t even make the list! 

And you’re not alone in that. 

I think it’s fair to say like most women you’re more aware of what you think about a friend or your child than what you think about yourself. 

Not realizing your thoughts about you informs your self-talk which has everything to do with your emotions and how you engage life: your willingness to try new things and meet new people and your resilience. 

In fact the only time you may think about what you think of yourself is when you take offense at someone. 

How many times have you felt insulted by someone saying to you what you already say to yourself? 

It’s like how my middle child said he can talk to his little sister that way because she’s his sister, but no one else better talk to her like that.

Yeah well, that’s not how it works. 

No one should talk to her like that and especially not him because he’s her brother. 

And the same goes for what you say to yourself that you leave unchallenged until someone else mentions it. 

Real talk, I have the opposite problem. 

I’m an analyzer and I analyze myself more than anyone or anything else. 

Now It’s helpful for self growth when approached from a place of security. 

The kind of self-awareness that comes with living from the inside out. 

But the last few years I noticed water getting in my boat as the dynamics changed with a few women I considered friends. 

Their unexplained change in attitude toward me started sinking my confidence and led me into a whirlwind of self analyzation that I fought my way out of till the pandemic showed up—the weight of which made the fight too much to face on my own. 

Even though I started this podcast I was riddled with self-doubt, believing the rejection by these one-time friends meant there was something wrong with me. 

And whether or not that was true, I knew I couldn’t process it on my own any longer. 

Pandemics have a way of making you deal with stuff taking up head space for far too long—wouldn’t you agree? 

My warped self-perception affected my confidence in everything from parenting to podcasting to pursuing new projects and opportunities. 

And I’d had enough. 

I needed to recalibrate and nurture my own view of me free from the opinions and actions of others. 

Because here’s the thing, contrary to how life feels sometimes, no one lives in your head but you. 

And other than God himself, no one cares how you see yourself until the effects leak out and negatively impacts them. 

So it’s up to you to keep in touch with yourself and feed your soul truth. 

And for me that meant finding a corner woman for me, like I try to be for you.  

And the fact that I’m a loner by nature, wasn’t going to cut it in this season. 

I needed to get my thoughts out of my head and let someone else sort thru them with me. 

So I started meeting regularly with a licensed counselor I met through a group I’ll talk about in the next episode. 

And that brings us to the segment of the show called HOMEWORK. The work a woman does to build her home and family.

But can I tell you how freeing it is to have someone you can tell anything, who doesn’t need anything from you? 

Who can listen without taking it personal but is there to help you think out loud, reflect what she hears you say about you, help you unpack where it came from and whether it lines up with truth. 

Girl, my counselor is a God send reminding me not to view myself in light of people’s treatment of me but in light of who God says I am. 

And the proof that I’m at peace with me is the fact I’m sharing my story on this episode. There’s a level of free you have to be to do that. 

I didn’t know till recently that May is National mental health awareness month. 

But if you believe counseling is just for those who are off their rocker, let me relieve you of that false notion. 

Counseling is also for conscientious people like me who aren’t afraid to look at themselves and own their stuff, but who also get overwhelmed by everything else there is to process and could use some help. 

And there’s no shame in that. 

Oh, and don’t have childhood wounds you never dealt with layered under your current stuff. 

it’s no wonder motherhood feels weightier than it should when You’re carrying so much junk you can’t run your race well. 

So, how do you nurture your self perception? What do you think about yourself and where did that come from? 

What’s true, and what’s trash, and do you need help in sorting that out? 

Those are some questions for you to sit with for this week’s homework along with how does your view of you impact your motherhood and what would nurturing a healthy self perception look like for you? 

You may be able to answer these on your own, but if you get stuck, I highly recommend seeking a licensed counselor. 

I know you have that one girlfriend who’s a perfect listener but I’m talking about a counselor who more than listens, helps you connect the dots in a way that moves you forward. 

My counselor is also a coach a but most importantly for me, she is a follower of Christ. 

And we meet virtually, which speaks to the point that counseling has never been more accessible and affordable, so don’t let them be barriers to looking after your soul. 

One thing’s for sure, becoming a mom doesn’t mean the woman in you goes on autopilot. 

You need to feed her just like you feed your children. 

And fun fact, the more your children eat the more you need to fortify your soul because you need your whits about you as they get older—trust me on that. 

I hope my candor encouraged you today. And that you remember who you are is worth getting to know and worth fighting for. 

For the list of homework questions I mentioned, you can find them in the show notes at vinelifefaith.com/episode35. 

I look forward to us getting together next time for another look at self-care that nurtures the soul. 

And until next time, remember, when it comes to you being the mother of your children—YOU are the woman for the job. Take care.