I just read an article about how a woman (after her children were grown) was questioning her choice to leave full-time work and be a Stay-at-Home-Mom.
What I found interesting, was, not the social and cultural questions surrounding the topic specifically, but how it starkly illustrated something that shows up in many ways.
Part of what the author mentioned above was “involved” in was trying to reconcile her choice with cultural expectations and norms and what she experienced and why she decided to be with her children full-time.
What I found so interesting was what was creating that dynamic in the first place.
At least part of her angst was because she was giving credence to what others thought and what she felt was expected of her.
The origin of this “caring” is, I believe, is our need to be welcomed, accepted and included in groups.
The need to feel included and safe is borne of our Survival Instinct, which at its base insists that we must keep ourselves safe from harm and death – and it matters not that most modern-day iterations of this instinct have nothing to do with true physical threats and are mostly existential crises.
These existential “crises” are just unmet needs.
We try to meet our need for belonging and inclusion (i.e. safety from the mortal harm our forebears experienced and evolved strong mechanisms for overcoming) through unhealthy means.
Instead, (accurately) identifying our needs and meeting them in a self-honest and healthy way is a much better alternative.
As long as people allow for inaccurate narratives and thus pursue impossible or unhealthy solutions, there will be more angst and suffering and flailing.
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To make this long story a bit less long, what we need to do is: 1) understand that everything we need is inside us and 2) act from a place of fullness and serve – to serve not because we’re needy and it’s a quid pro quo transaction, but a gift that affirms our completeness and reminds us of our true capacity.