This morning I told my three-year-old daughter I loved her, as I often do, and she replied by saying “I love Daddy, Mommy, “A,” and I love myself!” My heart instantly beamed with love and pride over this small but loving statement. I thought about how wonderful it is that she truly loves herself. She’s not embarrassed to say it, and we don’t think she’s arrogant or full of herself because she’s three! Do you ever hear an adult say “I love myself?” In fact, if we hear an adult say that we would probably think they are a bit too confident. But the real problem is so many of us DON’T love ourselves. We look in the mirror and see all of our flaws, we wish we had said that differently, we question every parenting decision we make, and we worry we’re not smart enough to apply for that job we really want, or don’t have the skills and confidence to start that business we’ve always wanted.
I’m guilty! I think my butt is too big, my chest is flat, and don’t even get me started on my chin! I wish I could write better and when I’m talking to someone about my business I talk so fast I scramble my words. Sometimes I yell at my kids and regret it two minutes later and sometimes I let them watch too much tv. As for this blog, it took me a year to actually start it and six months to share it with anyone, because I am so scared of what people will think.
When I hear my daughter say “I love myself” it reminds me that we are born loving ourselves and those around us. We don’t look at people and see them as ugly, overweight, underweight, tall, short, black or white. We don’t worry that someone is going to judge us or not like us. Somewhere along the line as we go out into this big vast world we are subjected to negativity, judgment, and bullies. We run into people who are so insecure they feel better tearing others down. We hear others comment on their flaws and those around them, and in turn, start to see our own.
When we love ourselves, everything around us changes. We start to see the good in people and our surroundings. We start to appreciate the little stuff like the sound of rain falling, children laughing, and the sun shining. When we love ourselves we love more deeply and accept others for who they are, rather than what they look like or believe in. When we love ourselves we don’t worry about what our neighbor thinks of the color of our house, if your friends don’t agree with our parenting choices, or what our family might think of the new business we just started. When we love ourselves we can love deeply and teach our children to do the same. We can see our children as people just learning about the world around them and help them navigate and understand what it means to be kind, why it’s important to hold your hand in the parking lot, and what will happen if you put your sister’s doll in the toilet. With love, we can be patient, empathetic, kind, and be accepting. We can accept our mistakes, our flaws, and learn to love our perfectly imperfect selves.
I challenge you to spend a little time each day practicing gratitude, sharing a kind word or gesture, and reminding yourself why you should love imperfectly perfect YOU. Join me on this journey as we work towards self-love together!