Self-love. We all are familiar with the term and the concept. "Be comfortable with who you are!" "Take care!" "Give yourself some TLC" - yet, I believe you can't truly love yourself without knowing yourself. You may know your resume quite well - you are a baker or doctor, or secretary or teacher. You excel at academics, or sports, or artistic pursuits. You even take those personality tests and identify as more organized, or extroverted. Analytic or more "right-brained", but do you really explore that? Or do you just nod your head in agreement because that's what others tell you?
"You're so artistic and free-spirited!" which can easily ascend of pedestal of praise and begin to be the only way you define yourself, but do you also embrace your love of putting puzzles together - sitting solitary for hours working out the picture and piecing it together?
I think sometimes it's easy to get stuck in "who I am" because we wear our so-called 'good' qualities as badges of honor for all to see. What about your forgetfulness? Or quick temper? Or lack of athletic ability amid a family of superstars? These are pieces that make you whole too! How do you embrace them as part of loving yourself? You need gentleness and forgiveness. Exploring those talents, habits and intricate pieces that perhaps you are quick to judge or wish to rid. They are still a part of you. And if you are authentically showing yourself some love, you have to also extend some grace, forgiveness and encouragement to those areas you feel are less than par.
When I loath my quick temper and the hurtful words I can easily spew - I must own that part, extend an apology if possible and then extend forgiveness to myself. Yet, by acknowledging that aspect of myself I can also become aware that I can change and evolve. Next time my temper flares perhaps I'll be more in tune to wave the red flag of warning and work on those breathing exercises I learned in yoga. Or run to my journal and wrestle through my thoughts and reaction before I act. All because I was willing to embrace that as a part of me too.
I ran across a blog the other day that is doing a series on asking yourself questions and writing down all the answers you can think of. For example: What Am I Grateful For? Don't just shrug and say: "I know what I'm grateful for - it's all in my head!" But penning those thoughts reveals more starkly just what your heart is made of. Plus, you have a record to continue to add to, reflect on and see how you continue to grow and change. I've listed some prompts below...so get your pen and write out the fabric of who you are...all of the ugly-beautiful mess that is humankind!
List of Greatest Comforts
List the Things You Should Be Proud Of
List your Current & Future Dreams/Goals
What Am I Grateful For?
The Ways I Can Love Myself (& Others!)*
*These prompts and the list idea was found on the blog: Ginger Al. Be inspired!
-Jennifer Anderson is Content Director of The Authenticity Project, you can contact Jennifer at TheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com.