Love Thyself

No suspense, the last of the list is this:

#10 – A thriving mother loves herself

It seems so simple, but is terribly complicated. For some of us, we love parts of ourselves. Others it is difficult to say anything specifically we love about ourselves. Maybe it depends on the day.

For me, self acceptance and loving myself has snowballed. It started out very small (actually it may have started really big as a child before I realized that people would dislike me and be unkind and might even say awfully mean things, nevertheless by the time I arrived at middle school it was nowhere to be seen.) At that time, it was my parents’ love for me that was the beginning of my snowball. Without love, we can’t feel worthy. If we don’t feel worthy, it is incredibly hard to love ourselves. You see here, the chicken and the egg of it.

Having a husband who loves almost everything about me most of the time has helped me love myself more over the years. He sees my beauty and looks past my flaws. He loves me so much that he is willing to tell me when I’m being irrational or non-sensical or an idiot in the gentlest manner one could ever deliver such a difficult messages. (He does PR for a living and is pretty good.) His best skill may be sitting down after a long day, pouring two glasses of wine, and listening. I’m not sure how I could have ever captured his attention, let alone convinced him that it was a good idea to spend the rest of his life with me.

In the past decade I’ve made some real headway on loving myself. Not perfect, still a work in progress, not quite willing to look in the mirror each morning telling myself, “I am beautiful.” Maybe I will get there someday. What has had the most impact in those ten years are the friends who surround me. They bring out the best in me and accept the eccentricities too. They cheer me on as I chase my dreams and aren’t intimidated by my passion, even though it might be different from their own. They want my light to shine as brightly as it can. This is a group of really loyal people. People who forgive my imperfection and stupidity.

It is living in this community of friends who couldn’t possibly love me as much as my mother does, but seemingly do. They have taught me to do unto others what other have done for me. They encourage me to do unto myself as I would do for them. They inspire me to be the best possible version of myself in an evolutionary way, not revolutionary.

This is a long way of saying that I don’t wake up everyday in love with myself. My journey toward self-love requires examples and someone showing me how and reminders. Something that sounds like it should come entirely from within, just doesn’t. What I know for sure is that having a daughter is my motivation to continue the hard work of loving myself. She deserves a role model. I want to be her role model.

One of my daily rituals that reminds me to love myself is listening to this. The lyrics repeat themselves three times throughout the song. The first verse is for yourself, the second for your family (blood or other), the third for someone who could use positive thoughts. Give it a try… or just forgive my eccentricities.

————-

This is the last post in a series inspired by one of my favorite sessions of the Warrior Mom Conference (#WarriorMomCon). Kate Kripke presented on Thriving After PMAD (Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders) where she asked all of us, “What does a thriving mother do?” Her list of ten blew me away and they aren’t just for moms with PMADs… they are for everybody!

#1 – Thriving mothers know feeling anxious is a normal part of motherhood

#2 – She is willing to be Good Enough (and understand that mistakes are even important)

#3 – Thriving mothers understand the need for self-fullness and that self-fullness is in service of her child(ren)

#4 – She understands the difference between habit and instinct or intuition and she gives herself the time and space to listen. Carefully.

#5 – A thriving mother accepts and maybe even prides herself on her vulnerabilities

#6 – She understands the need for community and she uses it well

#7 – Thriving mothers understand that by doing the work NOW, she is making it less likely that her child(ren will have to do it later

#8 – She understands the difference between Guilt and Regret and chooses not to punish herself unnecessarily

#9 – She learns from the wolves (and understands that it’s our culture that has the problem and not her)

 

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