I love perspective. 

I believe it to be one of the most powerful tools we have in life as we navigate its different seasons.

The power to believe that life’s happenings aren’t on accident, and that there is a positive twist to and a deeper meaning for everything.

In a world that takes us on such a complicated journey sometimes, that perspective superpower is invaluable.

But even I . . . the one who most people come to when they need help being pulled out of a funk . . . can find myself mindlessly crawling down into the negativity trap, forgetting that my superpower is in my back pocket ready to dig me out.

When it happens, I can be pretty awful to myself. I think a lot of terrible things and tell my heart a lot of heavy lies.

“You’re never going to make it,” my mind will say.

“Your life will always be chaos. It will never change.”

“It will never be your turn.”

“Your body won’t fit in the clothes you want it to.”

“You should just give up.”

“Your dreams are too big. Don’t waste your time.” 

“You really need to get it together.”

“You aren’t as good of a mom as you think you are.”

It’s amazing that a person that considers herself to be so positive can have a voice inside her brain that is so catastrophic.

If someone said this to my face? I’d ask them to leave my house. If a friend told me she was telling this to herself? I’d give her “the speech” about all of the things that make her wonderful. 

But somewhere along the way I gave MYSELF permission to speak to MYSELF this way . . . and that’s not OK.

Because this morning, as I was digging myself even deeper into my rut hole with a litany of negative thoughts, my baby tapped me on the leg and whispered, “I wuv you, Mommy.”

It stopped me dead in my digging tracks . . . and the mind that had been terrorizing my soul, suddenly allowed me to remember that perspective superpower in my back pocket.

I looked at my pigtail-doting two-year-old . . . and I thought about how devastated I would be if she came to me in 30 years and told me those same thoughts were going through her mind. 

Because I have spent so much time already trying to build a foundation in my children to believe in themselves, to love who they are, to know it’s OK to make mistakes and to always keep trying when they think they can’t do something.

There are countless times I’ve told them what I love about them, and have asked them to tell me what they love about themselves. I have them boldly declare the best parts of their days at bedtime, and we talk about the importance of gratitude.

I do this because I SO DESPERATELY want for them to always love themselves and learn how to lift themselves up when the seasons of life might take them down.

That leg-tuck reflection moment made me see how much time I have put into teaching my kids to love themselves and think positively . . . and how little of that effort I’ve been putting into myself.

Because the truth is . . . deep down I know I’m good enough. I know my body is beautiful because it’s mine. I know my dreams aren’t too big. I know that I have choices that can make life less chaotic. I know I should never give up. And I KNOW I’m a good mom.

But when you spend all of your time uplifting others and leave little time to uplift yourself, those truths start to get buried underneath the pressures, the exhaustion, and the constant outside influences trying to tell you they are lies.

That can’t happen anymore. 

Because I don’t want my kids to just hear me telling them about the importance of self-love and self-care, I want them to SEE me practicing it.

I want them to SEE a mom who loves herself as much as I love them.

And most importantly . . . I want to love me too.

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.