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Learning to love yourself…..what does that even mean? 

It is tossed around in quotes, on TED talks, in self-improvement books but do we really have any clue as to what it means?

Did we ever love ourselves? Did we ever think we were perfectly fine the way we were? Was there a time in our lives when loving ourselves didn’t need to be learned?

I ponder that question because sometimes I think I am the only one who is going along with my day to day life and realize at the strangest moments that my negative self talk has just had its way with me, ripped me to shreds and got me thinking about all of my perceived foibles. Then I listen to someone else’s story and know that I am not alone.

I love myself in theory, I know I “should” love myself.  I can look at myself from a macro perspective and think that I am pretty awesome. I can look at accomplishments in my life an be quite amazed by what it took to achieve and I can find pride for myself. I can look at my children and my grandchild and think, what an amazing legacy that is staring back at me. I do have the ability to get up above my life and know my blessings and know that between me and God we have done a pretty good job.

BUT…..Do I love myself?

  • Would I self sabotage my health and my body if I truly loved myself?
  • Would I examine everything I say at a dinner party and beat myself up for the next hours and sometimes days about what I said or didn’t say if I loved myself?
  • Would I stay in relationship with family or friends if they were abusive or mean if I loved myself?
  • Would I allow my self talk to be cutting, cruel, and demeaning if I loved myself?
  • Would I hold myself back from dreams if I loved myself?

This is only a very short list, do you see yourself in that list at all? What would be on your list?

I think the word “learning” is the key word, it is active, it is a verb. I know that I can find love for myself. I  can look at all of the glorious pieces of me much easier as a woman of 52 than I ever could as a woman of 22. In actual fact some of the traits that I hated about myself as a young woman, I revel in now. I find joy in some of those bits and pieces that she hated. I have been blessed with mentors in my life that have taught me many tools to help bring me from self hatred to self love, peeling back the “onion” of my life stories.

What I love so much about this quote are the words “stand tall” we all know people who walk in this world with their head down, slouched over and walking heavy, for them, they are not ever in the space of “learning to love themselves”. Life has put them through the wringer and they don’t feel that they can pull themselves out. Sadly we can’t pull them out, but the wonderful side benefit of learning to love yourself is the mirror to the world that you create, your mirror is the teacher for all of those around you, use it.

Learning to love ourselves doesn’t mean that we are perfect every time. What it does mean is that we are taking small steps with the guidance of our own inner voice to listen to our hopes and dreams more than listening to the petty self talk. Learning is a never ending journey, but it is in that journey that we find more joy and  more hope every day, because in loving ourselves we begin to find more worth in our own being.

Write this on your heart…..

You exist, so you are worthy! 

In Love, Light and Laughter