Dear Mama: Don’t Listen to the Voice That Says You’re a Failure

If I was to feel whole and to parent my children in a way that deeply nourished their sense of self and empowered them to create a more compassionate world, our success-driven society could not define success for me. It could not be my barometer with which I measured my success, worth, progress, or goodness – as a woman, as a professional, and as a mom.

And in that moment, I knew that I had to heal and parent from a holy and deep place within me.

My definition of “success” had to come from a compassionate place within me.

My barometer had to be one of gentleness and understanding rather than harsh judgment.

My voice – the voice in my own head and the voice I use with my children – had to be one of kindness and regard.

That meant dropping the all-too-prevalent role of mom as “the god who has to make it all happen.” It meant dropping the judge within me. It meant aligning with that Holy Voice Within. Use whatever name you like for that “Holy Something” – Divine, God, Universe, Beloved. But it is the Voice we must pause and listen to if we are to quiet the other voices that are not our own.

And over the last nine years, this Holy Voice Within has turned the tables on what label society would put on me:

~  When I’m exhausted – rather than listening to our success-driven culture’s advice, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep going and keep running” – this Holy Voice has said, “Please rest.”

~  When I have felt like I’m not doing enough – rather than, “You need to keep trying to be good and do more” — I have heard, “You don’t have to do more to be loved or whole or good.”

~  When I have yelled at my children — rather than, “You are a horrible mother” – I have heard, “I see the pain you are in.”

~  When I have felt lonely — rather than, “There’s something wrong with you” – I have heard, “I’ll walk beside you.”

And when you hear things like:
“Let me walk beside you”
“I see you”
“You don’t have to do anything to be loved”
and “You are more than enough”

…something within you begins to soften and strengthen. You begin to risk living counter-culturally. You begin to throw away the damn barometers and measuring sticks.

You begin to see there is true power in things like:
Risking connection
Loving “imperfection”
Letting love in
and…honoring your True Voice.

You begin to let society define success how it wants to while you Listen Within. And over time, you see that you have been leading a small, quiet “revolution from within.” The Voice of the Beloved becomes YOUR voice – the voice you use with your own self and your children. You rest when you need to. You tend to what needs tending to. You follow what delights your heart with vibrancy and freedom when the time is right.

As for me, what came of that exhausted and defeated new mom nine years ago?

~  The voice of “The Judge” is learning to rest while “The Benevolent One” mends these wound and fills me with an inner vibrancy.

~  The stamp of “failure” on my chart has been erased by my two gentle hands against my heart, saying, “Dear One, I see you and you are lovely.”

~  Those three words: “failure to progress” have been replaced by “You are more than enough” and “You are loved” and “You don’t have to do more or be anything more.”

Family, friends, clients, and readers: The world will label you, me and our children. Our success-driven society will have its own definition of success. But it doesn’t have to be yours or your child’s. And it CAN NOT if you are to live fully alive, to know your innate wholeness, and parent in a way that truly empowers and nourishes your children.

It is possible for the Voice Within to be the one you hear most often throughout the day.

It is possible to build your life around honoring that Voice.

It is possible to parent in ways that empower your child to connect with and honor their Voice Within.

It’s possible to forge your own path. And in doing so, drop any label of “failure” and know – deep in your bones –
that you are Love.

And, it’s time. It’s time that each of us toss out the barometers and measuring sticks. It’s time we get to know the Benevolent Voice within us. It’s time we listen to THIS Benevolent Voice and allow it to mend us into wholeness. And this, my friends, is freedom.

Lisa McCrohan
Lisa McCrohan
Lisa McCrohan, MA, LSCW-C, RYT is a Psychotherapist, Compassion Coach, writer, and mom. Her mission is to inspire a deeper sense of delight, compassion and connection to flourish in our hearts, homes, and world. You can read more from Lisa at her website,

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