May 10, 2021

How she walked. Talked. Dressed. Cooked. I remember being so fascinated by this woman I called mother when I was a child. She did everything with such grace and excellence– like she always knew what to say or do.

She would gently and lovingly correct me even when I made mistakes – never once made me feel like I didn’t need her constant forgiveness. And it wasn’t just me; my mother saw everyone through the lenses of their humanity and she was quick to extend compassion to them. I grew up hoping to be half the woman she was; inspired to be just like her in word and deed.

When I was a teenager, she would write me letters to remind me how much she loved me and that I was her little best friend. She would buy me flowers every Valentine’s day and send them to my school. I saw and understood the many sacrifices she would make so that I would stand a chance of having a better life than she did.

Now that I’m an adult, I can confidently say that it’s my mother’s wisdom that has kept me grounded. I may have acquired the highest levels of education but it always circles back to her pot of everlasting insights that I’d love to share with you. I believe her words come from a point of love and it also helps that she is a therapist. These are things I’ve constantly heard her say and they’ve shaped my thought processes, world views, and social interactions.

• You are enough. Always have been. Always will be.

Sometimes you may feel like you’re unworthy or undeserving of the things you have or the spaces you occupy. I struggled with impostor syndrome because I thought I needed to dim my light for others to be comfortable in their darkness but my mom always reminded me that there was nobody more capable to do anything than I was. Take up all the space you need to exist as the highest form of yourself. You have worked hard enough to be where you are so you need to enjoy it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your value and importance. There’s nothing you have done or will ever do that will make you less than whole.

• When you know better, you do better.

You are a human being – making mistakes is your signature move but you don’t have to keep repeating the same mistakes if you learn the lessons. It also doesn’t make you a bad person if you keep messing things up. You won’t always get it right and that’s okay. Learn how to forgive yourself for every big and small thing and not to hold it against you. Track your patterns so that you can stop them from being cycles of dysfunction that will stagnate your progress. Always choose the right thing to do even if it’s hard because in the end, you won’t regret it.

• Cry. Let it all out.

Don’t bottle your emotions for whatever reason – male or female. Don’t let a problem eat you up when you can get help for it. You are allowed to cry until you feel good again – that emotion needs to be felt so that you can move on to better ones. It’s not a weakness to show emotion or to cry. It’s strength to be vulnerable and to admit that you’re not doing well. In a world that tells you to hide everything under a mask – choose to honor yourself by staying vulnerable.

• You can forgive them but you don’t have to let them back in.

Forgive people when you’re ready not because you’re pressured to but you should let it go early. The burden of carrying past hurt is not worth eating into your future. Set boundaries to protect your mental health which you have a responsibility to protect. Cut off toxic people if you need to but always

remember that your peace of mind or lack thereof affects every area of your life. Get rid of the unnecessary headaches in your life.

• There is always a solution.

No matter how bad a situation is – always think about the other half of it. You have the gift of hope; the audacity to believe that there’s better waiting for you. You will be alright – it may not look like it right now but you will be okay. When faced with a problem; think about all the solutions there exists to solving it – exhaust all of them because a majority of our problems are not unique to us only. Ask around until you find the answers and when in doubt, talk to a therapist to help you rationalize your thoughts and see the bigger picture.

• Do everything with excellence and love.

It’s incredibly easy to be average – just look around you. Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve and aim for the highest level of success as dictated by you. This is your journey and you get to decide how you want it to turn out. Learn to be content but not comfortable when you know that you can achieve better. Don’t do anything with mediocrity whether it’s the meals you prepare or the important presentations you make at work. Hold yourself accountable to the best version of yourself.

My mother painted a picture of what positive parenting (we will dive deeper in another blog) should look like. One that is guided by the purest intentions, mutual respect, sound advice, sternness when need be, and love.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, reflect on all the things your mom taught you and share them with your children. None of us will ever be too old to call our mothers for their advice and help. What was/is your mother’s wisdom?

Lisa de Geneste, LCSW

At Langniappe, we promise you a little extra. Our goal is to assist you in bringing about lasting and positive changes to your life. The word “Langniappe” means a little extra. It is a word that many people who have grown up in the Caribbean or Louisiana know very well.

“My mother would take the band-aid off, clean the wound and say, “Things that are covered don’t heal well.” Mother was right. Things that are covered don’t heal well.”

– T.D Jakes

We look forward to working with you…