— Sandra S., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I can't help wondering why you mention no father or husband. It makes a big difference if you have had to go it alone all these years, or if you must deal with your guilt and regrets without emotional support. If—as I suspect—there is no partner around, then the first step is to find someone to talk to. I don't care if it's a kind, mature friend, a pastor or a trained counselor. You are putting too much of the burden on yourself.
What you are experiencing is the negative side of carrying your burden. I sense you have made major sacrifices for your children, but it's time to let go. In the first part of your letter, you express a mother's pride, but in the second part, you give me no reason to believe they are anything but a source of anxiety. Whether they have fallen short or you feel you have is irrelevant. The crucial thing is to realize you are no longer the caregiver. Your life, centered on them for so many years, must now shift into a new mode. To the extent you can find your purpose today instead of clinging to the past, you will release yourself from this needless guilt. Accept motherhood as a blessing, but reject martyrdom. It's no blessing at all.
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Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.
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