She danced around my feet, giggling and playing, insisting that I pick her up. Each time I put her down to try to finish making her food, she hugged my legs again, trying to climb me.
Each time, I smiled and picked her up. Finally, I just decided it was time to multi-task and put her on my hip while I finished up.
At that moment, something amazing occurred to me. I hope y’all are sitting down, because this is a doozy.
Most of us, as parents, do what we can to give our kids the material things they need and want, right? And, it feels good to do that, I think.
But, I realized standing there in the kitchen, the material things don’t really mean anything. While I’d understood this concept in the past, it hit me on a new level that, while there are a few big “material” moments I’ll never forget from my childhood (like the time I got my first Barbie Dream House), most of my happy childhood memories are about times that my parents showed me they loved me. And most of my happy grown-up memories are about showing or being showed love.
For example, my dad is a river boat captain. I still have the letters he used to write me while he was on the boat. The first time my mom sent me to Girl Scout camp, she wrote me a letter every day. I still have each one.
I remember how proud they were the day I graduated. I remember how they held each of my babies in their arms for the first time, in as much awe as I was.
I remember the day my husband proposed to me, every detail. I remember our first date, our first kiss, our yesterdays. I remember each of my babies’ birth and so so so many special moments with each of them. I look forward to our tomorrows, but I’m in no hurry. I’m too busy enjoying our todays…
And today, as I made lunch holding my daughter on my hip, I realized that the most important gift we can ever, ever give to our children is love and acceptance.
As this realization washed over me, I found myself telling Sophie that all I want for her in the world is that she’s happy, safe, and healthy. The rest, I told her, is up to her.
It’s what I want for all three of my children. To become who they want to be, to be truly fulfilled.
So, today, I have just a small challenge for you. I want you to take a few moments, and think about a time that someone in your life did something that made you KNOW that you were loved. Think about how amazing it felt right then, and allow that feeling to resurface.
Then, pay it forward.
Show someone how much you love them. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, just a little something can make all the difference in the world.
Maybe you can send your mom a card, take your kid out on the town, or spend some extra time with your bff. Maybe you need to treat your cat to a special dinner, or take soup to a sick neighbor. And have you called your Grandma lately?
Love is an important element in personal fulfillment. Don’t keep yours tucked in a neat little box. Let it flow into your every action. Move with love, feel with love, live with love. As the Beatles said so eloquently in that celebrated melody:
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.