Have you ever read something that is meant to be inspirational and positive but it sends you into depression instead?
So that happened to me yesterday. I came across something that Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife said in an interview I had with her. What she said I absolutely love and agree with, but after reading it and thinking about it, it left me feeling a little discouraged. In fact, the rest of the day I was in a bit of a depressed mood.
Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife : When you’re making a difference in the world in whatever domain—whether it’s medicine or education or parenting or anything where you know you’re shaping the world for better—it is sustaining for your sense of self. Being happy is unrelated to how much money you make (once above the poverty line) or what college you go to. It is related to finding a passion or something you’re able to develop that makes a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. We want a sense of efficacy as humans, and I think that is connected to a solid self—developing your gifts and abilities, and doing it in a way that creates strength in you and offers strength. The strengths I’ve developed as a therapist exist whether or not they get public recognition. Those capacities can make a difference for people whether or not they receive external acknowledgment. So it’s sustainable and secure in that sense—when you develop real capacity it stays with you and is a part of you.
You see, after reading that I started thinking about my life. I started asking myself some questions like: What am I doing that is making a positive difference in the world? How am I using my gifts, talents, and passion to create good? And I started wondering about the reality of my current ability to create good. What can I offer? What are my current abilities?
I think that there is a natural desire within people to create good. To be able to contribute in a meaningful way. To be able to have a positive impact. And I wonder how often we find ourselves in a situation where our opportunity to do good is right in front of us but don’t see it for what it is.
Part of my discouragement yesterday was thinking about the realms in which I have the opportunity to do good and to make a difference. And for me right now in my life, that primary realm is motherhood. This is something I value and that I have chosen and that I love. This is something that takes a high priority in my life. But my thought yesterday that lead me to feel discouraged was “I’m just a mom.” That word “just” devalues motherhood. So today I decided to focus on seeing the importance and the value of this position I have and to rededicate myself to being the type of mom that is going to make a positive impact on my children.
I don’t want to minimize, downplay or discount the role of motherhood. And I would never want someone to feel, nor do I want to make myself feel, that because my primary and most dominate role at this current stage in my life is being a mom, that I am not making a valuable and significance difference in the world. But please, if motherhood is currently one of your chosen paths of creating good in your life, don’t treat it lightly. Yesterday I was discouraged, and today was my wake up call to the good that I can create as a mom. It is a day to choose into motherhood again, not just to go through the motions of being a mom, but to live my role as a mom with more passion and to use my unique gifts to simply rock at motherhood.
That being said, I do feel a responsibility and a desire to be constantly working on increasing my ability to create goodness. I think as we continue to work on developing our gifts, our capacity to create good will increase.