Get in on the conversation! To leave a comment, just click on a post title.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recapturing the self-love you were born with.

Kam and I had a discussion by text last night that really got me thinking about things I want my husband and me to tell our daughter when she comes along and is old enough to understand. Well, actually, it's something I think about all the time, but it prompted a good discussion with my husband. Kam said that her 11-year-old daughter has been saying recently that she thinks she is pretty, and it really warms my heart to hear that, and we all hope she maintains a sense of self-love, especially as she's entering probably the most difficult age. 

As my husband and I talked, we decided that instead of telling our daughter she is perfect (as it would be so tempting to do), we will tell her she is ENOUGH and that she does not have to be perfect. I want her to feel wonderful just the way she is, without the pressure I felt growing up to constantly measure up to my own self-imposed and misguided standards for perfection. When I stopped feeling like I had to be perfect, that was when my real life started. Maybe telling a child that he or she is "perfect" could leave them with the subconscious feeling that they have something to continually live up to, like they can never be allowed to mess up. I'm sure some of it depends on the child too. Or maybe a "you're perfect to me" (like that awesome Pink song, which I promise the baby started kicking to the other day!) or "you're perfect the way you are without needing to do anything to earn my approval" would work too.

One of our handmade necklaces, available on our web site or etsy shop.
Our BFF Bon sent me an email today from a great web site called Heal Your Life, which contained probably one of the best things I've ever read. It's along these same lines but applies to all you self-love-seeking grownups, and I wanted to share it with you too.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! How to Let Your Love Shine
by Crystal Andrus

I REMEMBER A RETREAT I was having not too long ago when Natalie Hughes (our musical director) couldn’t find a babysitter for her small daughter, Audrey. Natalie always performs during these special days and it’s just not the same without her. She asked if she could bring Audrey and let my teenage daughters watch her.

“Of course!” was our answer.

Just before the day got started, I asked Audrey if I could introduce her to the group of ladies—many who looked a little anxious. Audrey happily agreed.

Up Audrey came, a little shy but glowing; I asked her to tell everyone her name and how old she was. I then asked her if she was beautiful. “Yes,” she nodded with the sweetest smile. She certainly was beautiful! She then told us that she was also “smart and talented and very loveable.”

The ladies all admired her gentle strength and humble confidence. We admired her God-given sense of self-love.

Audrey hadn’t learned to hate herself . . . yet. Audrey hadn’t learned that her hips were too big or her breasts too small. She hadn’t decided that men would probably hurt her or that money didn’t grow on trees.

Audrey was still trusting, believing, and completely hopeful about life and the important part she would play in it. Audrey loved herself. Not with selfish narcissism but with a natural sense of divinity.

We are born with self-love. We didn’t have to learn it. We innately felt it. We instinctively believed in our parents. We trusted that they would protect, guide, encourage, and empower us, until we were old enough to make our way out into the world with confidence, courage, and certainty.

But for many of us, this didn’t happen.

Our parents didn’t give us what we needed. It’s not necessarily their fault, though. They probably didn’t get the messages of self-love delivered to them either!

My parents never once told me as a child that they loved me. Not once. I didn’t find out until I was a teenager that my mother’s parents had never spoken those words to her either!

Parents don’t intentionally set out to ruin their children. I’m a mother myself; I can’t imagine carrying the burden of thinking I said or did anything that may have negatively affected my daughter’s self esteem, self worth and self love! But I probably have . . . not even knowing it.

Parents carry their own wounds, shame, pain, and blame. And they unconsciously project it all over their kids. The truth is we all project our light and our darkness on those around us—unless we’ve done some serious self-work!

Marianne Williamson points out in her extraordinary book, A Course in Weight Loss, that “the love you’ve withheld from yourself … is held in trust for you until you’re ready to receive it.” This concept is so huge!

You probably have an enormous warehouse of self-love stored up inside of you!

Do you understand that the only reason you’re struggling so much is because you’ve been too afraid to shine bright. You’ve been worried that being YOU—magnificent, beautiful, talented, sexy, powerful, amazing—will hurt you. You’ve tucked your self-love, along with your bright shining light, deep deep inside.

You may have insulated your self-love so far down that you think it’s lost, but it isn’t! Your love can never leave you—even if you’ve left it! 

This week, your job is to remember who you were as a child. Find a picture of yourself. Notice all the wonderful qualities you possessed, the wonder and trust in your eyes. (You may even have to go all the way back to a picture of yourself as a baby.)

Write down ten positive affirmations about “her.” An example of your list may be:

You are so beautiful.
You are so kind.
You are so smart.
You are so special.
You are so sweet.
You are so loveable.
You are so important to me.
Your life matters.
You matter.
I love you!

Then, every morning and evening, look into the mirror—into your own eyes—and repeat these affirmations to yourself.

This is the start . . . the beginning of falling back in love with you! It may feel futile at first. Do it anyway.


And one more thing to leave you with - something else I came across this week. Here's a partial.

50 Reasons You are Beautiful

1.     It is beautiful to speak another language. It is beautiful to try.

2.    Beauty is long hair, and short hair; brown, black, pink, yellow, or white. Beauty is a smooth bald head.

3.    If you have been to hell and back, your resilience is beautiful.

4.    Asking questions—especially “why?”—is always beautiful. Why? Because curiosity is beautiful.

5.    You are beautiful when you are afraid to do something, and you do it anyway.

Click here to read the rest of the list - I promise it won't be a waste of time!

So what we wanna know is...what are some of your ideas for recapturing the childlike essence of self-love we hopefully had before the world or other people (or ourselves) "beat" it out of us? How do you plan to get it back?