Self-Honesty is True Safety

'The Inner Ocean' by Christian Schloe

Many of us feel fearful that if we become the powerful women we’re meant to be, then we will be seen as a threat to those around us. We may hide our light so as not to offend others or trigger their insecurities. The child in us fears that claiming our full individuality will cause us to be left alone. Understandably, this aloneness was very threatening to us as children. But there is a different kind of aloneness that we may find in adulthood, an aloneness that is a kind of nourishment.

The lotus that is born from the healing of trauma is a lotus that never dies. As Eckhart Tolle might say, it is the “good that has no opposite.” I believe this lotus is born from the aloneness we must face in healing from childhood trauma. The willingness to feel this aloneness fully can give way to realizing the inseparability between your own presence and the presence of God/Goddess.

Self Realization by Jia Lu

All birth involves an uncomfortable process down a dark passage toward a single point of light. In this moment, can you feel that part of you craving the light? You are the one craving the light and you are also the light that is being craved. 

The price of living as your authentic self is the discomfort of releasing all the false patterns one has accumulated through growing up in one’s family and culture. This can be very challenging because your will to evolve must override the “reptilian brain” that equates safety with the status quo, however dysfunctional it may be.

One could say that we’re always operating to some degree in the tension between evolution and safety or individuality and belonging. Attachment theorist, John Bowlby introduced the concept of how children use their mothers as a secure base for exploration. If the mother conveys sufficient safety to the child through her attunement to the child, the child feels safe enough to venture out and explore the environment.

We must transfer our source of safety from the outside to the inside.

Radiant Light by Mary Southard

All creativity, wisdom and power come from the luminous core of truth within. Living from this place and allowing everything in your life to come into alignment with it requires a profound commitment to life as a moment-to-moment process. As the call from within grows stronger, our desire for safety becomes overshadowed by our desire to be free–the desire to live from a place of realness, of truth and spaciousness.

The willingness to feel our essential aloneness carves out a great depth within us that can hold a vast field of love. 

The paradox is that embracing our deep aloneness increases the quality of our relationships because there is a  backdrop of immense integrity bourn out of facing the truth of our own pain.

However, in the process, it can be challenging as people around you may question what you’re doing, criticize you or reject you. This is actually a great gift they are giving you because it allows you to deepen and refine your commitment to self-honesty. Here we must be willing to be misunderstood and misperceived for the sake of our own integrity. This begins to open up a whole new dimension to inner safety–that no matter what happens on the outside, you become increasingly convinced that you are always safe within.

Inner Safety gives us permission to be Real

'Energy of Gold ' by Elena Ilyina

This permission is something that happens in the intimate space between you and yourself. As you heal the mother wound, you increasingly become the secure base for exploration for yourself. As the inner mother to your inner child, you become the profound space for everything to be OK. There is a powerful circle of love that flows and through this inner bond, allowing you to increasingly let go of limiting patterns from your family of origin. Exploration, experimentation and mistakes are all welcome. Here, there is no such thing as failure, only learning. What freedom! As we become more safe within, we become free to take risks, to chart new territory, to really explore the inner landscape without the usual fears of “what will they think of me?” These fears may still come up but do not have the power to stop you anymore. You’ve tasted the sweetness and soul-nourishment of your own integrity.

When we feel truly loved from within, there is no such thing as failure

Patriarchy has demanded that we be small and give away our power in exchange for external approval. As we become awakened women, we become small, not in yielding to any outer authority, but small, as in yielding to the Truth at the center of your Being, to the Self, the Source within. This becomes what guides our lives. Our lives then become lived in devotion to that. This process of becoming small in this context is the ultimate exaltation because we become an expression of a higher power. From here, everything we do can be lived as an expression of this One, everything we do can be in devotion to truth. This is so healing because patriarchy tells us that we must split and betray ourselves in order to be accepted. Here our authority becomes squarely placed in the center of ourselves. Here we become whole again.

Inner Safety Leads to Innovation

I dreamt I was made of nectar by Ka Kathryn June

In her book “Radical Acceptance,” Tara Brach encourages us to let our suffering be the gateway to the awakened heart. Seen in this way, our suffering is not something to get rid of, but a doorway to deeper truths. She talks about seeing our pain as something that is entrusted to us. To cultivate inner safety, we mother our own inner child in the ways our outer mother could not. We replace those original deficits by first feeling them fully. We have to feel the feelings that were off-limits when we were young. This is the first step in becoming really authentic.

Tenderly holding our fears and letting go of needing to “get there”

As we increasingly live as our original self, we are periodically asked to depart from the known and to find rest in the unknown. It asks us to befriend our ultimate aloneness and to find safety in our own presence. In that stark simplicity, there is a profound fullness that is not of this world.

The Inner pull of ‘the Real’ has a fragrance of holiness; a rawness and purity. 

The questions of “When will my healing be done? When will the pain go away?” drop away. We see that the waves of learning are infinite. New layers coming up to be healed are not a statement of failure or “not there yet” but rather a celebration that you’re ready for your next level. Letting go of attachment to some kind of final destination is a major step and actually accelerates and deepens your progress. The journey itself also becomes a form of nourishment because it is what delivers gifts to you with every step. The ego that wants completion quiets down and becomes in service to the organic mystery of your own evolution.

Ellen van der Molen Fullness

There is a connection between the longing for mother and the longing for the inner beloved. One could say that this longing flows through the same channel, the child’s longing for mother and the adult’s longing for God/Goddess/All that is. That is why when we heal the mother wound the way becomes clear for us to embody the spiritual power that wants to be expressed through us.

When we go deep enough into our own pain and existential aloneness, we have the possibility to discover that we’ve actually never been alone. There in our own pain and messy feelings is the Beloved, is the Divine truth, alongside everything we’ve ever experienced.

As we increasingly feel safe within, our loyalty shifts from the beliefs we inherited from our families to our own inner truth and integrity.

Silence by Qahira Lynn

Over time, our ability to be honest with ourselves becomes our true source of safety. This safety is so richly satisfying. It completely outshines the illusions of safety we had through old childhood defenses. Our ability to be honest with ourselves and what we’re feeling is trustworthy ground. Facts are always empowering because we can then act and get the tools or support we need for the next steps. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life. Everything else flows from it.

Nest within. Decorate your inner sanctuary with your beautiful aloneness.

Allow yourself to sit in the rich silence of your Being and soak up the beauty that is you. Drink from that overflowing source within and taste true freedom.

As a friend mentioned to me recently, we women who are healing the mother wound are birthing a new kind of “mother line” from within ourselves as we support and love one another while doing this important inner work.

Circle of Love by Joyce Huntington

Thank you for reading! I invite you to leave a comment below: How has your self-honesty supported you?

I coach women through the process of healing the mother wound. Does this article resonate with you? Click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute session with me to learn more about private coaching. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

Click here to download my  FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother”  and sign up for my newsletter. 


(Art credits in order of appearance: Christian Schloe, Jia Lu, Mary Southard, Elena Ilyina, Kathryn June, Ellen van Der Molen, Qahira Lynn, Joyce Huntington)

© Bethany Webster 2015

The Rupture of the Mother Line and the Cost of Becoming Real

Julia Hetta

One of the hardest experiences a daughter can have in a mother/daughter relationship is seeing that your mother is unconsciously invested in your smallness. For women in this predicament, it’s truly heart-wrenching to see that, out of her own wounding, the person who gave birth to you unconsciously sees your empowerment as her own loss. Ultimately, it’s not personal but a very real tragedy of our patriarchal culture that tells women they are “less than.”

We all desire to be real, to be seen accurately, to be recognized, and to be loved for who we really are in our full authenticity. This is a human need. The truth is that the process of becoming our real selves involves being messy, big, intense, assertive and complex; the very things patriarchy portrays as unattractive in women. 

Historically, our culture has been hostile to the idea of women as true individuals.

The patriarchy portrays attractive women as people-pleasing, approval-seeking, emotional caretakers, conflict-avoidant and tolerant of poor treatment. To some degree, mothers often pass these messages along to daughters unconsciously causing daughters to create a false self, usually, through the mask of the rebel, the loner or the good girl.  The main message is “You must stay small in order to be loved.” However, each new generation of women comes with the hunger to be real. One could say that with each new generation, the patriarchy is weakening and the hunger to be real is strengthening in women, and in fact, it’s now beginning to take on a certain urgency.

The longing to be real and the longing for mother

Daniel Murtagh

This presents a dilemma for daughters raised in a patriarchy. The longing to be your real self and the longing to be mothered become competing needs; there’s a sense you have to choose between them. This is because your empowerment is limited to the degree that your own mother has internalized patriarchal beliefs and expects you to comply with them. Pressure from your mother to remain small comes from two main sources: 1) the degree she’s internalized limiting, patriarchal beliefs from her own mother and 2) the level of her own deprivation which comes from her being divorced from her real self. These two things cripple a mother’s ability to initiate her daughter into her own life.

The cost of becoming your real self often involves some degree of “rupture” with the maternal line. When this happens, you are breaking from the patriarchal threads within your mother line, which is essential for healthy, empowered adulthood. This usually manifests in some form of pain or conflict with your mother. Ruptures in the mother line can take many forms: from conflicts and disagreements all the way to distance and estrangement. It’s a personal journey and it’s different for every woman. Ultimately, the rupture is in the service of transformation and healing. It’s part of the evolutionary impulse of the awakening feminine to be more consciously empowered. This is the birth of the “non-patriarchal mother” and the beginning of true freedom and individuation.

Charlotte Caron

On one end of the spectrum, for healthier mother/daughter relationships, the rupture may cause conflict but actually serve to strengthen the bond and make it more authentic.

On the other end of the spectrum, for more unhealthy or abusive mother/daughter relationships, the rupture can trigger unhealed wounds in the mother, causing her to lash out or disown her daughter completely. And in some cases, unfortunately, a daughter will see no other choice than to maintain distance indefinitely to maintain her emotional wellbeing. Here your mother may see your separation/rupture as a threat, not a result of your desire for growth, but as a direct affront to her, a personal attack and rejection of who she is. In this situation, it can be heart-wrenching to see how your desire for empowerment or personal growth can cause your mother to blindly see you as a mortal enemy.

In this situation we can see the massive cost that patriarchy exacts on mother/daughter relationships. 


“I can’t be happy if my mother is unhappy.” Have you ever felt this?

Usually this belief comes from the pain of seeing your mother suffer from her own inner deprivation and compassion for her struggle under the weight of patriarchal demands. However, when we sacrifice our own happiness for our mothers, we actually prevent the necessary healing that comes from grieving the wound in our maternal line.That just keeps both mother and daughter stuck. We can’t heal our mothers and we can’t make them see us accurately, no matter how hard we try. What brings the healing is grieving. We have to grieve for ourselves and for our mother line. This grief brings incredible freedom.

With each wave of grief we re-unite with the parts of us we had to disown in order to be accepted by our families.


Unhealthy systems need to be disrupted in order to find a new, healthier, higher-level equilibrium. It’s a paradox that we actually heal our mother line when we disrupt the patriarchal patterns in the mother line, not when we remain complicit with the patriarchal patterns to maintain surface-level peace. It takes grit and courage to refuse to comply with patriarchal patterns that have generational momentum in our families.

Letting our mothers be individuals liberates us (as daughters) to be individuals. 

Patriarchal beliefs foster an unconscious enmeshment between mothers and daughters in which only one of them can be powerful; it’s an “either/or” dynamic based in scarcity that leaves both disempowered. For mothers who have been particularly deprived of their own power, their daughters can become “food” for their atrophied identity and a dumping ground for their troubles. We must let our mothers have their own journeys and stop sacrificing ourselves for them.

Brett Walker

We are being called to become true individuals, women who have individuated from the beliefs of patriarchy and own our worth without shame. Paradoxically, it is our fully owned individuality that contributes to a healthy, whole, and unified society. 

Traditionally, women have been taught that it is noble to carry other people’s pain; that emotional care-taking is our duty and that we should feel guilty if we deviate from this function. In this context, guilt is not about conscience but about control. This guilt keeps us enmeshed with our mothers, depleting ourselves, and ignorant of our power. We must see that there’s no true cause for guilt. This role of emotional caretaker was never a true role for us, it is simply part of our legacy of oppression. Seen in this way, we can cease allowing guilt to control us.

Refraining from emotional care-taking and letting people have their lessons is a form of respect for self and other. 


Our over-functioning contributes to the imbalance in our society and actively disempowers others by keeping them from their own transformation. We must stop carrying the load for other people. We do this by seeing the sheer futility of it. And we have to refuse to be the emotional custodian and dumping ground for those who refuse to do the necessary work for their own transformation.

Contrary to what we’ve been taught, we don’t have to heal our entire families. We only have to heal ourselves.

Instead of feeling guilty for not being able to heal your mother and your family members, give yourself permission to be innocent. By doing so, you are taking back your personhood and your power back from the mother wound. And consequently, you are handing back to your family members their own power to live their own journey. This is a major energetic shift that comes from owning our worth and is demonstrated by the ways that we remain in our power despite calls to give it away to others.


The cost of becoming real is never as high as the cost of remaining your false self. 

It’s possible that we may experience backlash from our mothers (and our families) when we become more real. We may experience hostility, withdrawal, sulking, or outright denigration. Shock waves may be felt through the entire family system. And it can be staggering to see how quickly we can be rejected or dropped when we stop over-functioning and embody our real selves. However, this truth must be seen and the pain endured if we are to become truly real. This is why support is essential.

In his article “Mindfulness and the Mother Wound” Phillip Moffitt describes the four functions of a mother:  Nurturer, Protector, Empowerer and Initiator. Moffitt says the mother’s role as initiator “is the most selfless of all the aspects, for she is encouraging a separation that leaves her without.”  This function is profound even for a mother who has been fully supported and honored in her own life, but almost impossible for mothers who have known great pain and have not sufficiently healed their own wounds.

A patriarchy severely limits a mother’s ability to initiate her daughter into her own personhood, because in a patriarchy, a mother has been deprived of her own.  It sets her daughter up for self-sabotage, her son for misogyny, and a disrespect for the mother “ground” out of which we come, the earth itself.

Netali Ron-Raz

It is precisely this function of mother as ‘provider of initiation,’ which launches a daughter into her own unique life, but this role is possible only to the degree that the mother has experienced or found her own initiation. But the healthy separation process between mothers and daughters is greatly thwarted in a patriarchal culture.

The problem is that many women live their entire lives waiting for their mothers to initiate them into their own separate lives, when their mothers are simply incapable of providing this.

It’s very common to see the postponement of the grief of the mother wound, with women constantly going back to the “dry well” of their mothers, seeking the permission and the love that their mothers simply don’t have the capacity to provide. Instead of grieving this fully, women tend to blame themselves, which keeps them stuck. We must mourn how our mothers cannot give us the initiation they never received themselves and consciously embark on our own initiation.

The rupture is actually a sign of an evolutionary impulse to separate from the patriarchal threads of our mother line, to break the unconscious enmeshment with our mothers fostered by the patriarchy and become initiated into our own lives. 

Isao Tomoda

My work of helping women heal their mother wound is to help women get out of this cycle of self-blame and to do the necessary grieving so that they can finally claim the power and potential of their own lives. Part of the process is about embracing this deep, existential grief so that you can finally be initiated into the freedom and creativity of your own life. And ultimately this grief gives way to genuine compassion and gratitude for our mothers and the mothers before her.

It’s important to see that we are not rejecting our mothers when we reject their patriarchal beliefs that say we should stay small in order to be accepted. What we are actually doing is claiming our life force from impersonal, limiting patterns that have kept women hostage for centuries.

Make a safe space for the longing for mother

Even though we are adult women, we still long for mother. What can be truly heartbreaking is to feel this longing for mother and know that your own mother cannot fill this longing, even though she tried her best. It’s important to face this fact and grieve. Your longing is holy and must be honored. Allowing space for this grief is an important part of being the good mother to yourself. If we don’t mourn our unmet need for mothering directly, it will unconsciously seep into our relationships, causing pain and conflict.

Future Gazing ~ Aspects Trine by Christopher Mark Perez*

The process of healing the mother wound is about finding your own initiation into the power and purpose of your own life. 

This is not run-of-the-mill self-improvement. Healing the mother wound is essential and foundational; it is the in-depth, quality work that transforms you at the deepest level and liberates you as a woman from the centuries-old shackles that you’ve inherited from your own mother line. We must detox from the patriarchal threads in our mother line in order to step into our mastery.

Of the role “mother as initiator,” Moffitt says “This initiating power is associated with the shaman, the goddess, the magus, and the medicine woman.” As more and more women heal the mother wound and consequently step firmly into their own power, we finally find the initiation we’ve been seeking. We become capable of initiating not only our daughters, but also our culture as a whole which is undergoing a massive transformation.  We are being called to find deep within ourselves that which we haven’t been given. As we claim our own initiation by way of healing the mother wound, together as one, we increasingly embody the goddess that is giving birth to a new world.

Marta Orlowska


Thank you for reading! I invite you to leave a comment below: Have you experienced a “rupture” with your mother line?

Announcement: My Online Course on Healing the Mother Wound is available now for $200 off the full value until January 7th. Register now for only $297 (Full value $497). Click here to learn more and register today. 

I coach women through the process of healing the mother wound. Does this article resonate with you? Click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute session with me to learn more about private coaching. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

Click here to download my  FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother”  and sign up for my newsletter. 

© Bethany Webster 2014

(art credits in order of appearance: Julia Hetta, Daniel Murtagh, Charlotte Caron, Yuma Tomiyasu, unknown, Brett Walker, unknown, unknown Natoali Ron Raz, Isao Tomoda, Christopher Mark Perez, Marta Orlowska)

Mothering Yourself into Mastery: The Sovereign Feminine and Your Inner Wealth

Rolf Armstrong

Consistently mothering yourself eventually allows you to release the need to be small or play small in life.

When we mother the child within ourselves, we are cultivating an inner environment of safety and unconditional love that we did not experience in our childhoods. This heals the frozen energy of early trauma and brings our inner child into the present moment where her purity, innocence, vitality and creativity can be brought into our daily lives.

With commitment and consistency, we eventually cross a border where our inner child feels safe enough to sense her inherent abundance that comes from Being itself. There dawns within you full permission to be ALL that you are.

In doing so we can experience that sense of inner wealth and abundance; our bigness and fullness of BEING. 

Waldemar Strempler

Over time we develop a stable baseline of increased inner safety, which leads to an abiding and sacred sense of overflowing. There emerges a felt sense of the infinite love, support and space to be who you are. This extends to a feeling of infinite love and support from the universe and from life itself. We begin to see that our very essence is abundance.

The world teaches us to make the outer world primary and the inner world secondary. But the opposite is true; the inner must be primary for us to step into our mastery. Mastery means living from the luminous core within, committing to loving ourselves unconditionally, being transparent to lesser energies and sustaining a high vibration. A time arrives when we will not accept anything less than this.

Fernand Khnopff

How do we embody the sovereign feminine?

To step into our mastery, we must be increasingly sovereign over ourselves and our own energy. This means fiercely protecting your inner child and thus, allowing your inner life to be your priority. Your sovereignty is what allows you to fully flower and emerge into your full potential. Everything flows from this commitment. What society sees as selfish (self-care) is actually an act of great service. Over time, a powerful self-reinforcing cycle gains momentum from your increased self-respect, integrity and alignment between your inner values and your outer life.

We mother ourselves into mastery.

Many women find themselves vacillating between patterns of deprivation and binging. The message of deprivation is “If I’m my real, big self, I’ll be rejected. I must stay small.” And the message of binging is “I can’t help that I am big! I need soothing from the pain of denying who I am.” The inner mother is the “middle way” and as we consistently soothe ourselves through our fears and do the necessary grieving, we stop needing to vacillate between deprivation and binging in terms of food, spending or other substances/activities.


Recently I was in London and visited Westminster Abbey. During my visit, I saw an image of the Madonna and Child which struck me with its simplicity and power.The image conveyed a deeper meaning to me than ever before. I saw Mary as a symbol of the Sovereign Feminine in men and women who courageously nurtures the inner child, thereby transforming the “illegitimate child” within us into the “light of the world.” The thought appeared in my mind: “This is what gives birth to worlds.”  The integration of the healed inner child and the conscious, wise adult self culminates as a new way of Being, a bridge of form and matter, the new earth itself. (See the image below: The Holy Mother and Divine Child are situated between two candles; symbolizing the ‘middle way’ in between the polarities.)


We embody the Goddess when we mother the traumatized child within ourselves.

As we mother ourselves, a great sense of peace and freedom pervades and we increasingly release the need for others to change in order to feel “OK.” We can increasingly let others be who they are and release attachment to being seen accurately by them. This becomes possible when we’ve reached a certain point when we can accurately see and appreciate ourselves enough to let go. We do this by mothering our traumatized inner children into the safety of the present moment.

We re-parent ourselves in real-time–by feeling the pain of the past trauma AND any pain of a current situation….by mothering ourselves on both levels simultaneously. 

Sarah Jarrett

It is a point of great power to live with awareness of many levels at the same time; to be aware as the adult in present time and as the inner child, and also as the formless, divine presence that we are at the deepest level. Living this way, we operate from a high vibration and positively affect our environment.

The best use of an imperfect childhood is to use your family’s shortcomings to birth your greatness. Your greatness is simply being more of who you TRULY are at your core. This is the deeper gift available in the pain of our abuse. This is the true resurrection.

When we discover the light in our deepest pain, we become capable of seeing it everywhere and in everything. Unity consciousness and existential belonging become a felt reality. 

Being the sovereign feminine is being both tender and fierce.

Joyce %22The Bronze Bombshell%22 Bryant, NYC, 1954 by Philippe Halsman.

Allow yourself to be large.  Allow yourself to take up space. 

Over time, we reach a point where our inner child feels safe enough to start to let go of the early beliefs that tell us we must be small in order to be loved. And in doing so, we are increasingly able to experience increased levels of vitality, wonder, creativity, joy, bliss, excitement, comfort and the ability to receive more good things in your life.

The inner bond allows you to emotionally separate from the toxic messages of “less-than” and “stay small” that women receive from the wider culture. 

  • The need for other people to understand us in order to feel OK
  • The need to change or modify others to feel loved by them
  • Tolerating poor treatment from others and blaming ourselves
  • Feeling guilty for our true desires and feelings

Forgiveness is the felt realization that their behavior was never about you. 

Akseli Gallen-Kallela

By healing the mother wound and mothering ourselves, it’s possible to genuinely forgive our mothers (and other people) for how they may have pressured you to stay small.  What makes genuine forgiveness possible is that you begin to realize on a very deep, somatic level that that their inability to see you had nothing whatsoever to do with you. This is not just on the conceptual level, but deep in your bones it becomes very obvious that their hurtful behavior was just a reflection of their own fears and wounds, which were never your responsibility to fix. A massive weight is lifted with this realization.

When you realize that your bigness is part of your gifts and part of your power, you are free to claim it and live it fully!

Your “largeness” is not a liability; it is your inner wealth. It’s yours to claim!

Valeria Kotsareva

Some affirmations:

  • I now love and accept my bigness
  • I lovingly accept my big energy and intensity
  • I lovingly accept my big ability to love
  • I lovingly accept my big dreams and desires
  • I lovingly accept my big ability to feel deeply
  • I lovingly accept my big commitment to truth and authenticity.
  • I lovingly accept who I am right now.

Accept that your “bigness” is not a rejection of others, nor is it being superior to others.

Your bigness is simply claiming what you already are, owning it with joy and bringing it into the world. 

Anahata Katkin 2

The message in the mother wound is that if you claim your bigness, that you’re depriving or abandoning your mother. This belief is a symptom of enmeshment between mothers and daughters that is so deep in our culture we’re often unaware of it. Stepping out of this enmeshment is what allows you to claim your power without guilt or apology. You can feel your right as an individual to live your life on your own terms and know deep within, that your happiness is not depriving others in any way. This is honoring your true nature as abundance. 

Accept that any defensive attempts of others to “knock you down to size” are reflections of how small they feel in their own life. (You can feel compassion for them and let it go.) Accept that how others feel in your presence is none of your business. This realization is real when you can feel the visceral relief in your body. It’s a huge shift that liberates you on many levels.

Your “bigness” does not mean that others are “small.” And their inability to understand that is not your responsibility. Give yourself permission to stop explaining and apologizing for being your Full Self. 

Jane DesRosier

Wow, what freedom! You don’t need to take that onl! And you don’t need to disparage others for not seeing you accurately. It’s simply where they are at. You can allow them to be as they are and rest in your center with integrity and an open heart.

There’s a diamond that’s always been in your pocket. Claim it now. It’s possible to live your bigness with joy and gratitude! The more your treasure and cherish yourself, living fully from your inner light, the more it gives others permission to do the same. What a gift!

Mother yourself until you can feel the exuberant energy of pure joy that emerges in your daily life when your inner child feels safe enough within you to bring her sense of PLAY into your daily life! 

“I now allow myself to be all that I am and all that I am meant to be.”

Tamara Natalie Madden 2

Allow yourself to embody the full breadth and scope of all that you are:

  • To give big
  • To receive big
  • To love big
  • To be loved big
  • To achieve big
  • To live big
  • To serve big

As you claim your inner wealth and overflowing bounty of being, you will likely experience it’s natural byproduct: increased opportunities, loving relationships, outer wealth and success.

What does it mean to be your full, overflowing self in your daily life?

Salvador Dali


  • Giving yourself space to be who you are and loving yourself in this moment
  • Knowing that the universe is ultimately friendly no matter the present, external conditions
  • Not allowing your inner space to be cluttered with negativity, struggle or scarcity
  • Coming from a high level in everything you do. Maintaining a high vibration.
  • Remembering that Being is primary. Make coming from that pure place of Being a priority in your daily life.
  • Comforting and nurturing yourself (and your inner child) whenever you need it. Not putting it off. Keeping yourself feeling loved and supported always.
  • Valuing yourself and valuing those you serve in your work. Offering huge value to others.
  • Having impeccable boundaries that support you in being your Highest Self.
  • Having fun and a bringing a sense of play into your work!
  • Communicating with clarity and integrity.
  • Taking care of your body.
  • Ask for support when you need it and delegate when possible.
  • Surrendering all doubts and concerns and trusting that all is well.

Please leave a comment below: What are some ways you are embodying more of the fullness of who you are? What have been your challenges and breakthroughs with this?

Does this article resonate with you? Click here to sign up for a free 30-minute session with Bethany. 

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a copy of my FREE eBook “Transforming the Inner Mother.” 

I help women to heal the mother wound and become the women they’re meant to be. Here’s how we can work together: (Click the links to learn more!)

I love to share empowering information with you. Thank you for reading!! :-)

(art credits in order of appearance: Rolf Armstrong, Waldemar Strempler, Fernand Klnopff, Keith Mallett, Our Lady of Pew at Westminster Abbey, Sarah Jarrett, Actress Joyce Bryant photographed by Phillippe Halsman in 1954, Akseli Gallen- Kallela, Valeria Kotsareva, Anahata Katkin, Jane Desrosler, Tamara Natalie Madden, Salvador Dali)

© Bethany Webster 2014

The Healing the Mother Wound “Holiday Toolkit”


The holiday season can be a challenging time as we re-enter the family system for a brief time during family events and gatherings. Because we have so much shared history with our family members, old patterns have much more momentum in their presence than with other people. Thus, holiday gatherings can require a higher degree presence so as not to get pulled into old, unconscious patterns.

Approaching the holidays mindfully is a gift to yourself. You can set you up to have an empowering experience, not something that brings you down. 

Family gatherings around the holidays offer incredible opportunities because they are a barometer of our growth; we can see how much we have grown AND where we still have more work to do. It’s also a reminder of the things that are within our power to change and those things that we just have to let go.


As the holidays approach I hear from many women feeling anxious on how to navigate contact with their mothers with whom they have a challenging relationship. The question usually revolves around how much contact to have. It usually boils down to “How much contact do I need to have, while avoiding unnecessary conflict, but while also remaining true to myself?” This is an important question that requires some reflection.

Tips on navigating the holidays with the mother wound: 

  • Don’t expect yourself to be perfect. Expect uncomfortable moments.
  • Approach it with the spirit of experimentation and curiosity. Don’t take it too seriously.
  • Commit to loving yourself no matter what happens.

Holidays as Opportunities for Integration

During the holiday gatherings we can observe ourselves with a sense of curiosity as we behave more authentically and in alignment with our truth around our families. It can be very healing and profound to feel our own commitment to ourselves around some degree of dysfunctional family dynamics. And it may also stimulate grief around family members who may be avoiding their own healing or with whom we have had an impasse. All of it is a cauldron of immense growth!


We may see family members that have triggered us in the past or still in the present. I encourage you to not see triggers not as failures, but as major opportunities for healing.

An emotional trigger is not a signal of how un-healed you are. A trigger is a signal that you are ready for a new level of healing. 

If you feel an emotional trigger with your mother or another family member, it means that the wound is ready to be healed on a deeper level. It offers the chance to heal in a powerful way, both on the level of the past (the old wound that was stimulated) AND on the level of the present (the current situation).

Would you like support and some tools on how to navigate the holidays and family dynamics?

I am offering a Free Teleseminar on Wednesday, November 19th at 1 pm EST entitled “The Healing the Mother Wound Holiday Toolkit.

Here is what we’ll be covering in this free call: 

  • The main reason why the holidays can stimulate major stress between mothers and daughters
  • The two key things you need to navigate the holidays if you have a challenging relationship with your mother
  • A step-by-step process to ensure you stay centered at family gatherings
  • The critical role of inner and outer support in making the holidays enjoyable
  • A key question to help you navigate sticky family situations with ease

When you register for this Teleseminar, you’ll receive an immediate download of a free guide “15 Mindsets to Manage the Mother Wound Over the Holidays.” 

One lucky listener will be randomly selected to receive FREE, lifetime-access to my comprehensive Online Course on Healing the Mother Wound ($497 value)

I invite you to join us for this Teleseminar! I look forward to being with you on the call.

Make this an empowering and bright holiday for yourself!  Register today! 



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Embrace Accountability for Meaningful Change


When it comes to childhood wounds, the sobering truth is that love is not enough. Love for our children is not enough to prevent us from unconsciously wounding them. And love for our parents is not enough to make our childhood wounds go away.

“My mother tried her best.” I hear this from many women suffering from the mother wound. The reason their pain continues to persist is because this is only HALF of the picture. It is not sufficient to heal from childhood wounds. Until we address the other half we remain stuck.

The full picture is “My mother tried her best AND I suffered as a child.” I see some unconsciously trying to bypass this second part. But it is precisely this second half that allows one to mourn, heal and ultimately move on and thrive as the woman you’re meant to be.

Experts are now saying that emotional presence is what children need from caregivers above and beyond everything else. In generations past, however, it was thought that food, shelter and clothing was sufficient for children to develop successfully. Emotional presence and attunement were actually considered secondary.


It’s nearly impossible to be emotionally present to our children if we have not sufficiently healed our own inner child. In other words, we can be attuned and empathic to our own children to the degree that we have empathized with what we went through ourselves as children. The better we can care for our inner child, the better we can care for our outer child.

There is no blame. Ultimately, both parents and children are victims in a patriarchal society. Both are victims of the mandate of silence; silence about our feelings and about our true experiences. However, it is only accountability that will bring greater awareness to the plight of children in our society and thus affect change for future generations. The only people that can be held accountable are the adults. The accountability that is needed is that adults heal their inner children. That is the only hope for future generations. Otherwise, we’ll continue to look at the problems of the world without truly seeing them for what they are: symptoms of the unhealed, disowned pain that that lies within us.


All children are innocent. The child within us is innocent and our children are innocent. It can be heart-wrenching to see how we’ve harmed our children and how we’ve been harmed as children. But this willingness to SEE the painful truth of how we have been harmed is what heals. This willingness to be aware, this willingness to endure the pain of this awareness is KEY.

Accountability is essential for our healing. It has three parts:

  1. Take into account the ways you suffered as a child
  2. Hold accountable those who were the responsible adults in the situation
  3. Be accountable yourself for your own healing and resultant actions

I see a major turning point happen when women begin to come into a place of accountability, which is the second half of the picture. When we come to a place of accountability our healing takes on a powerful momentum.

Below is the process in more detail:

  • Account for the truth of exactly what you went through as a child and empathize with your inner child. Be sad and angry on her behalf. (In this way you become the enlightened witness that she needed in the past.)
  • See how those painful experiences have impacted your life as a child and how you’ve had to compensate for them as an adult.
  • Take into account that as a child, you had no power over the situation. The responsible people at the time were the adults. Whatever happened to you as a child was not your fault.
  • Finally be able to fully grieve, feel the reality of your own incorruptible goodness and step into personal power.

Ken Orvidas

The most powerful form of accountability is within yourself to yourself, about the facts of what you went through. It’s most important for you to see that as a child you were powerless to change the painful situations in your family and the only people who were able to affect change were the adults in the situation, usually your parents.  Whatever happened to you as a child was not your fault. This is the liberating insight that allows you to shed the shame and redeem the child within you. But it has to be a felt insight, not just on an intellectual level. You must feel it in your body. This is precisely what re-connects you to the REAL within you; your real instincts, your real feelings, your real observations.

It was not your fault. This simple and profound insight takes our power back from the wound and puts our center of gravity back into ourselves. It is the antidote to the unconscious belief that acceptance by one’s family is contingent upon your willingness to accept their pain and shame as your own.

Elizabeth Catlett,

To a child, painful feelings seem to have the power to kill. They have a threatening power so they must be suppressed. As children, we have to split in two in order to NOT feel so that we can survive. As adults, we can heal the split by giving ourselves the experience of feeling the feelings fully and realizing that the painful feelings do NOT have the power to kill us. We can discover that we are more powerful and spacious than any painful feeling. We can discover that the painful feeling does not mean we are “bad.” In fact, we see that feeling the truth of our pain is part of our goodness, our realness and our truth.

The spiritual opportunity here is to see that we are not the pain itself, but the eternal, loving presence that is alongside and untouched throughout the pain.

It’s a personal choice to hold your parents accountable by actually speaking to them directly. It can be very transformative and healing but timing is critical and to be considered carefully. In some situations, it’s a wise choice to NOT confront directly. What is primary is that you, in your heart, have put down the burden of blaming yourself for the pain you experienced as a child. The ability of your mother/parents to see or understand you is secondary and not necessary to you moving forward.

Megan Mcisaac

In a patriarchal system, loyalty to parents is demonstrated by not being aware of how they’ve harmed us (intentionally or unintentionally). In other words, loyalty to parents is demonstrated by not questioning their power. This keeps us in perpetual childhood and society under a veil of silent shame and unconscious blindness to the causes of the atrocities we see around us. In the patriarchal paradigm, parents are considered to be responsible for the upbringing of children, but not accountable. In patriarchal cultures, parental accountability is seen as a threat to the power status of parents.

Holly Irwin

“Patriarchy’s chief institution is the family.” ~Kate Millett

What allows the wound to get passed down with ceaseless momentum? No accountability. In patriarchy, generally speaking, parents are assumed innocent and children are assumed to be guilty. Ultimately both are victims of the mandate: “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware.” (See book by Alice Miller)

No matter how much we may try, we cannot escape the formative power our early childhood experiences had on shaping who we become. There are countless ways to avoid this fact, including escape into spirituality and intellectual pursuits. But the body does not forget, no matter how much we convince ourselves that we’re “over it” or “there is no need to dwell on the past.” If we continue to avoid accounting for our childhood wounds, we risk living our lives indefinitely in some form of illness or addiction. Our bodies will never give up showing us the truth no matter how long we try to escape from it.

We cannot heal from the wounds we refuse to acknowledge.

There is a high cost of not accounting for childhood wounds. Due to it’s developmental cognitive limitations, an abused child cannot help but see itself as the as the cause of it’s own wounding. This lack of awareness and lack of accountability prevents the necessary grieving that is only possible after honest reflection on the sobering facts of childhood experiences that caused pain. Without this grieving, the unhealed child will continue to live in the adult body, projecting it’s pain on others and reenacting the painful situations over and over, while blaming itself.

Weronika Izdebska

Why do we fear accountability? 

Many fear accounting for what they’ve been through because they see it as equivalent to blaming our parents; they see them as one and the same. This erroneous conflation is a symptom of the dysfunctional enmeshment that patriarchy has fostered. We must un-couple the two. This belief permits abuse to run rampant through generations. As more and more adults grieve their childhood wounds fully, the more our society will no longer see accountability as a threat to the power status of the parent. Instead, parents (who have done the necessary grieving for their own childhood wounding) will see their accountability as a source of honor and pride as parents.

Accountability brings the greater awareness that creates meaningful change

More people need to grieve fully and come full circle to the child within. As more and more individuals do this, the attitude toward the child in society will shift.

Olga Volkova Tuponogova

We have the potential to really see and mourn the tragedy of how our unconscious, unhealed pain can cause us to blindly harm others without knowing it. We can finally see clearly how we have been harmed by the unhealed pain of others and how our unhealed pain has caused us to harm others. Seen together, this recognition is the birth of compassion, forgiveness and meaningful change. This recognition is the product of grieving our own pain sufficiently to see that the behavior of others really has nothing much to do with us. How others treat us is the culmination of their own inner state. This creates a spaciousness where we no longer feel compelled to respond with reactivity or hostility to others who act out of pain. However, until we grieve our own personal childhood wounds, we will take the behavior of others personally because this is the limited perspective of an unhealed child who cannot help but see itself as the cause of events. Until we grieve sufficiently, we will be compelled to repeat the pain.

Mourning childhood wounds fully is a powerful act of maturity that opens the way for a new world.


Why is accountability necessary?

When we’ve grieved enough we can come full circle—to see the whole truth: “She tried her best AND I suffered.” BOTH are true and the second part is no longer felt as threatening. This gives way for a new life that is truly your own; a life in which you do not fear loss of love if you own your power. And a life in which being a separate individual is not viewed as an assault on your mother (or parents).

Grieving is impossible without accounting for the truth of what we’ve been through. And grieving is precisely what re-connects us to our deeper selves.

Healing the Inner Split

Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå Gallerix (

When we do this accounting, we validate the inner child who was forced to suppress her feelings, see herself with suspicion, deny her instincts and reject her core. This splitting is what helped it survive the unbearable truth and yet this split is at the heart of all wounds, especially the mother wound. When we do this accounting we become ‘real’ again.

The truth was unbearable and we had to suppress it as children. But we must find that truth as adults in order to truly live.

We must legitimize what patriarchy has forced us to pathologize in ourselves.

The answer to personal and societal change is in empathizing with the abused child within each of us. 


In order for women to stand fully revealed in their power, we need to create a world where a child does not have to choose between her personal power and the love of her mother.

The highest act of accountability is mothering ourselves. In doing so, we cease asking others to mother us. We stop asking our children, partners and friends to give us what they cannot. The compulsion to unconsciously re-enact the pain gradually dissolves. There’s no way to effectively mother ourselves without first empathizing with the truth of what we’ve been through. In order to do this, we have to connect with our inner child, listen to her, allow her to grieve and bring her joy and indestructible goodness into everything we do.

Romualdas Rakauskas

© Bethany Webster 2014

Related article: “The Most Insidious Forms of Patriarchy Are Passed Through the Mother” _____________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading! I invite you to comment below: How has accountability (or lack thereof) impacted your healing journey?

Does this article resonate with you? Would you like to receive a free, 30-minute coaching session with Bethany? Click here to sign up. 

New workshop coming up on Saturday, November 15th in Bar Harbor, Maine! Click here for more information and to register.  

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(Art credits in order of appearance: first three items artists unknown, Ken Orvidas, Elizabeth Catlett, Megan McIsaac, next 2 unknown, Holly Irwin, Weronica Izdebeska, Olga Volkova Tuponogova, unknown, George Frederic Watts, unknown, Romuldas Rakauskas)

When Loyalty to Our Mothers means Loyalty to Our Oppression: How to Break Free


All children are loyal to their mothers. They need her to survive.The more stressed a mother is, the less she can be emotionally present for her child. To the degree to which your own mother’s well-being was compromised, you may have had to develop coping strategies to adapt to your mother’s stress. These strategies may still be unconsciously operating in us even as adults, causing pain and frustration. As a coping mechanism, children may develop some form of what I call “the impossible dream,” the belief that if only you sufficiently demonstrate your loyalty to your mother through absorbing her beliefs or pain as your own, then she will one day see you fully and love you the way you wanted her to. This is a child’s perspective yet it has enormous enduring power because of it’s early origins in our development. At a certain point, we have to realize that these strategies did not cause mother to change. They did not work.

Toshiyuki Enoki

A major shift can happen when we see that it’s safe to let go of loyalty to the patterns that we thought would grant us the mothering we needed:

  • Staying small
  • Feeling self-hatred
  • Being fearful and hypervigilant
  • Believing in scarcity
  • Depriving yourself in some way
  • Playing the victim
  • Solving other people’s problems
  • Suppressing your true feelings and responses

These patterns may have been taught to you to some degree by your mother overtly OR you may have learned them through simply observing her behavior. They were likely passed down to her through her own mother and/or her own cultural conditioning. Because we live in a patriarchal society that tells us women are “less than” we all have these beliefs to some degree. (They can be even more damaging if our mother was unhealthy or mentally unstable.) They may be very hard to let go of because on some level, letting go of them feels like letting go of “mother” –and for our unconscious and inner child this can feel like death. For example, if your mother was very fearful, you may have unconsciously taken on her fearful beliefs as a way to feel close to her. Letting go of a fearful approach to life may feel scary as though you are letting go of your actual mother herself. Another example is letting go of self-blame. If you were taught to blame yourself and were rewarded for that, letting go of self-blame may feel like you are betraying your mother because it is what she taught you to do and when she rewarded you with her love when you did so.


Because these patterns were associated with being mothered, the patterns themselves begin to unconsciously represent a mothering presence. These patterns may have afforded us temporary approval, validation or acceptance in moments. But now as adult women, they only serve to keep us down. Because they were formed so early in our development, these beliefs and patterns tend to be quite unconscious and can endure for years before we see their origin. The most important thing is to see how these strategies or patterns of behavior did NOT bring us what we most wanted— our mother to show up for us in the ways we needed her to. As we mourn that loss, we can free ourselves to live and act in new ways.

Lea Bradovich

There are 3 parts to letting go of these persistent patterns: 1) Genuinely thank the patterns for the ways they have served you.   Examples:

  • Being a striver to get mother’s love may have helped you to achieve a lot in the world.
  • Being an emotional caretaker may have helped you to be skilled at tuning into people’s feelings.
  • Being controlling or rigid may have helped you to get a lot done.

2)  See that what you’re unconsciously trying to achieve through the pattern is impossible.  Perhaps the most powerful part of this process is seeing how no matter how loyal you were to those patterns, they could never bring you the mother you truly wanted and needed. The reason why is because whatever was going on in your family when you were a child was never truly about you. (But that is the only way that children can interpret forms of abandonment or abuse; that it’s about THEMSELVES.) When in reality, it’s really about whatever happened to be going on with the parents which the child had absolutely no control over. The truth is that no matter how good you were as a little girl (no matter how smart, pretty, talented, well-behaved you were, etc.) it never would have changed the family situation in the ways you needed it to change to get what you needed. That’s because the only people who had power in the situation were the adults whose decisions and choices impacted you as child. Whatever was going on in your family environment as a child was not your fault and you had no power to change it.


Accepting how powerless you were as a child is a major step to freedom. Your parents’ inability to give you what you needed had nothing to do with you. Fully letting this in requires grieving and getting support. The real letting go is in the grieving, which makes space for new ways of being in the world that truly nurture and fulfill you. 3) Identify new, positive beliefs or patterns to replace the old, negative ones. Then commit to taking action on those new beliefs.  Examples:

  • It’s safe to step through fear and believe in myself (Action step: Soothing yourself through fears as you take a new risk and start a project that requires you to be visible to others.)
  • I give myself permission to honor my needs and speak my truth (Action step: Speaking out on your own behalf in a situation in which your boundaries are not being respected.)
  • I honor my truth even when those around me disagree (Action step: Doing something that you know is true for you even when others reject you for it.)

'Chasca”, 2013. Tom Bagshaw

The action step gives you a new experience which gives your subconscious a powerful message that is IS safe to act counter to what you learned as a child. In other words, not acting in accordance with the patterns will not cause rejection, humiliation or abandonment the way they could in childhood. In a way, it’s as though you’re bringing your inner child into the present moment, where she CAN experience being supported for who she is, because YOU as your adult self are there for her in the ways your mother could not be. This creates deeper integration within yourself and more detachment and distance from damaging patterns that were unconsciously adopted in childhood. The key here is consistency. Consistent, small steps lead to bigger transformations over time.

  Eostre by AngiandSilas

It’s important to see how the strategies did not work. 


  • Being really quiet did not cause people to approve of me
  • Solving the family problems did not create lasting peace or protect me from rejection
  • Being mother’s pet and always agreeing with her did not lead her to see me for who I was as a separate person
  • Absorbing mother’s fearful beliefs did not cause me to feel safe
  • Staying small and silent did not lead to mother’s approval and validation of me
  • Focusing on mother and her problems did not cause her to listen or support me

When we see how these strategies did not work, we can then let go of the unconscious hold they have on us. Usually there is some mourning to do. Letting go of these patterns is on some level letting go of the illusion of the mother we thought they could bring us.


When we can really see that ‘the good mother is not coming’ we can give ourselves permission to choose new ways of being and acting in the world that actually bring us fulfillment and joy. Our lives begin to automatically shift around this realization. Rejection of these negative patterns is NOT a personal rejection of your mother Moving beyond these early patterns is about YOU choosing to heal and create new, healthier ways of living and being in the world. Your mother will view the shift in you as a personal betrayal to the degree that she is closely identified with these patterns in herself. Her response to your divergence from these patterns is a statement of where she is at within herself; it’s not about you. You may see how futile and unhealthy these patterns are in your own life but your mother may not; she may still see them as valid ways of acting in the world.  Her opinions do not have to dictate your reality. Let her have her own experience without rushing in to explain or emotionally care-take her; this is a form of respect for her and for yourself.


For generations, wounded mothers have been unconsciously asking their daughters to compensate them for what patriarchal society and their families would not give them: a sense of purpose, control and personal validation. Daughters cannot provide this. It cannot be given, it can only be found within the mother herself; by committing to her own healing and transformation. Breaking this toxic cycle is done by refusing to comply with the unspoken message from a wounded mother: “Do not abandon me by becoming fully yourself.” Woman, you have a right to your own life. Letting your mother have her own experience and healing process is not cruel (as patriarchy would tell us); it is healthy and necessary.

Your full empowerment is impossible in an environment of dysfunctional enmeshment with your mother.  

Refusing to carry your mother’s pain as your own is how the cycle of mother/daughter pain transforms.  A healthy emotional separation is what is needed to bring about a new paradigm of harmony and trust between mothers and daughters. You are not causing your mother pain by refusing to carry her burden, you are ceasing to sacrifice yourself to perpetuate her illusions, and in doing so you are actually correcting an imbalance that has plagued your female lineage for generations.The pain she feels is her own and has been under the surface all along. Your refusal to emotionally caretake your mother will offer her the opportunity to take responsibility for herself. Her personality may not like it but you are actually serving her on a much deeper level. Your commitment to your own empowerment actually serves your mother as it opens the way for her to own her power, if she chooses. Mothers who are still steeped in patriarchal beliefs will not be able to see this as the gift that it is. The most important thing is that you know it. This is part of a major shift that happens when your integrity becomes more important than your mother’s opinion of you; you show up powerfully and model a new way of being for others.

Alphonse Mucha 1

Questions for Reflection:   1. Identify one negative, self-deprecating pattern you adopted as a child as a coping mechanism that is also active in you now? 2. What was the original situation that caused you to adopt that negative pattern or belief about yourself? 3. What emotional processing needs to happen for you to truly let go of those patterns? What needs to be faced? What needs to be acknowledged or mourned? 4. What kind of support do you need to process this? What are some ways that you can provide yourself with nurturing and comfort as you emotionally process this? © Bethany Webster 2014 ________________________________________________________________________ Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment below. Have you felt your loyalty to your mother connected to how fully you show up in the world? 

I invite you to  Sign up here for a free, 30 minute “Healing the Mother Wound Coaching Session” with me. I’d love to connect with you! 

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Click here to Sign up for my newsletter!  (Art credits in order of appearance: unknown, Toshiyuki Enoki, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Lea Bradovich, unknown, Tom Bagshaw, Angiandsilas, unknown, Corina Zone, Alphonse Mucha)

The Holy Simplicity of Sitting with Our Pain

James Christensen

Sitting with our pain is such a simple act and yet it can be one of the hardest things to do.

Feeling our pain and not rushing in to fix it, numb it, avoid it, or cover it up takes enormous courage. This is where surrender comes in. We reach a point in our healing where we’ve read all the books, consulted all the gurus or tried all the fancy techniques and all that is left is the last thing we want to do: Feel our painful feelings. Ironically, sitting with our pain is precisely what will eventually bring us all the things we were looking for through avoiding it.

A major key to healing emotional wounding is the willingness to endure discomfort for the sake of transformation. This willingness is essential to truly coming out the other side of childhood wounds.

Elizabeth Peyton 1

Discomfort can come in many forms: 

  • Being misunderstood by family members
  • Sitting with your own pain and just feeling it and allowing it to be there
  • Going through a period of anger or grief without knowing when the uncomfortable feelings will end
  • Having low energy or a feeling of being lost and unsure
  • Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and receive support from others
  • Distance from people who you used to be close to

Our culture promotes the idea of immediate gratification and instant results. It takes enormous courage and strength to stick with the unglamorous process of healing that has a timeline of its own. In addition to the cultural component, there is also the survival instincts within us that tell us to fight or take fight when we feel threatened. That is why having support in the healing process is essential.


To an unhealed inner child, the only way it knows how to soothe itself is to act in accordance with the patterns that were imprinted by the family of origin, but usually those are precisely the patterns that are causing the pain. This keeps us trapped in a loop. The answer is to cultivate the skill of mothering and soothing our inner child while we make new choices that better reflect our true desires and needs. This inner bond is what helps us to effectively separate from family and cultural patterns that cause suffering.

For most of us, growing up involved a series of self-betrayals in which we had no choice but to create an inner split in order to survive. The split usually involves some form of numbing our feelings and rejecting ourselves in order to be accepted by our families. Healing involves the recovery of our ability to fully our feelings and thus, to feel and express the truth of who we are without shame.

Caitlin Shearer

While we are surrounded with messages to avoid our pain, both externally in the culture and internally through early coping mechanisms, it is through being present with our own pain and allowing our feelings to flow that healing really happens.

Truth is found outside our comfort zone. Outside the comfort zone is the space in which we separate from dysfunctional patterns that have been ingrained in us by our culture and families. 

There are two main phases of learning to endure discomfort for the sake of transformation. Each phase may overlap at times, but generally we move from resistance to surrender.

Patricia DeLeon Alfonso


Here we usually have a great deal of aversion and avoidance of looking at the painful feelings we experience. We may seek various ways to numb out or repress the truth of what we are feeling. Resistance can take the forms of self-sabotage, forgetfulness, overwhelm and addictions. Sometimes resistance can be helpful as an inner boundary of slowing things down until we are ready to fully see something.  And sometimes it can be avoidance of what we know we must face. It takes careful self- examination to see which form of resistance is operating. We may experience some resistance at each new level of healing, but as we grow, we can better recognize resistance and more easily move through it.


Most of us surrender simply because the pain of resistance becomes too great. We eventually cross a threshold where we’ve learned to trust that embracing pain rather than running from it is what provides relief.  We fully taste the joy and freedom that come from being in contact with the REAL within oneself. There is nothing like having moved through the pain and into the joy of feeling ONE within yourself. The peace of inner alignment: feeling and expressing your authentic feelings without the need to defend them.


There dawns a harmony between your personal imperfections and your irreplaceable part in the greater perfection of life. 

Eventually the longing and hunger for living your truth overshadows all other desires, including the desire to be free of pain. It is seen that this hunger for truth is trustworthy and will lead you to what you need in each moment. And  sometimes what you need is to embrace is yet another level of inner pain. The moments of relief and bliss that open up through having embraced your pain makes it all worth it. Over and over we learn that the act of embracing and being present with our pain is what connects us with the larger truth of who we are.

I think that one of the reasons why the crucifixion is such a powerful, pervasive symbol in the western world is because it symbolizes precisely what can be profoundly difficult: the willingness to accept and be present with our painful feelings.

Daria Petrilli

A new inner space is created where you have permission to live from the REAL. 

As we do the inner work, eventually a conviction arises; a quickening, a hunger and fierce commitment to living one’s truth. A desire develops to live from each moment from within the fire of your original self. Each moment begins to represent a new, fresh opportunity to live from simple, open, awareness of what is.

We see that awareness itself is an embrace. 

We start on the painful periphery and as we become increasingly skilled in enduring discomfort and the uncertainty of the unknown, there lies the potential to merge with the holy presence that lives at the center of our pain and realize that is the truth of who we are.

Alphonse Maria Mucha

Many of us have a feeling of homesickness deep within. A nameless longing and aching grief. Many of us experienced this as children in relation to our mothers, a feeling of being groundless and adrift. Embracing the homesick feeling within the mother wound leads us to eventually come to a place where we realize that we can never be truly abandoned. This becomes possible by becoming a loving inner mother to our inner child as we embrace her deepest despair.

In that despair is a door; a door to our source, the unified consciousness in which we are one with all.

In this way, our pain is a messenger. A messenger telling us it’s time to come home; to the primordial home within, which is the realization of our true identity as consciousness, the knowing that we are spirit and can never be truly harmed or abandoned because we are one with all. I recall moments in my own healing process  when I would process layers of grief within the mother wound; the sense of worthlessness and wanting to die.  And in that  willingness to simply feel the full scope of that incredible despair and grief, I knew that this was the bottom. There was no pain deeper than that. That pain was the ground. And by standing on that ground and being present with my deepest pain, I was free.


Feeling our pain frees us from it. 

By sitting with our pain, we begin to recognize that the pain we have felt is not the truth of who we really are. We begin to see that the open, loving presence that we embody as we embrace our own pain is who we are, our true identity underneath all our other identities.

The culmination of living as a “self” is to live as the “no-self”;  the vast, loving space that lovingly witnesses our pain and embraces it completely. This is what a healthy mother does for her child.  Author Rupert Spira has said that awareness is like the space in a room, it unconditionally accepts what happens in it. Likewise, in order to develop optimally, a child needs a mother who is unconditionally present and accepting of her. However, mothers are human beings with flaws who make mistakes. All of us receive some degree of wounding from our mothers.

Through that primary, holy wound, we are called to become that loving mother to ourselves…and to all life. 

As we embody the unconditional love of the inner mother, we become re-connected to life itself. We become re-connected to the birth-less and death-less center that is constantly born and dies in countless forms. This is the evolutionary step that lies within the pain of the mother wound.

Van der. Weyden's Painting

As women, we grow up believing that a holy power lies outside of ourselves and in the healing process, we start to realize that what we most desire, that which is most holy, eternal and pure is inside of us and has always been there. In fact, it is us. Not just in one or some of us, but it lives equally in all of us, in all of life.

Because we are all connected, each time you lovingly embrace your own pain, you activate the power of oneness in all. 

Rodica Toth Poiata

© Bethany Webster 2014


Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment below. What has been your biggest challenge around embracing painful feelings? 

I invite you to  Sign up here for a free “Healing the Mother Wound Coaching Session” with me. I’d love to connect with you. 

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(Art credits in order of appearance: James Christensen, Elizabeth Peyton, unknown, Caitlin Shearer, Patricia Deleon Alfonso, unknown, Darla Petrilli, Alphonse Maria Mucha, Phoebe Anna Traquair, unknown, Rodica Toth Polata)