When you choose love, you give love. Give love and you will get love. We must learn to accept and love others. But first we must learn to accept and love ourselves. We tend to define ourselves by our physical body and by what others’ opinions of us are. We think we know our self. But we don’t. The only way to truly know our self is by looking within. If we want to be happy, we need to be happy. If we want to be alone, we should be alone. If we want to be loved, we need to love.
It starts by looking in the mirror.
Do you like what you see?
Close your eyes. Tell yourself who you are. This is who matters. This is who you should be looking at. This is who you want the world to see. This is who you want everyone to know. And this is who everyone wants you to see in them.
Take today and notice the times you are hard on yourself, even write them down. What was I doing, why did I not treat myself with love, what emotion do I feel towards myself right now? Once you become aware of the negative feelings or emotions that arise, love yourself and let them go.
Your wrinkles become laugh lines. Your gray hairs become life experiences. Your jeans fitting a little bit tighter remind you of the delicious chocolate ice cream you had for dessert last night.
Be kind; treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Love yourself the way you want to be loved – with true acceptance. See yourself differently; see yourself with love.
Change your mind. It takes practice just like any other skill; you need to repeat it until you have made it a habit. That’s how you made all of your bad habits, by doing them over and over again. Now choose to make good habits, continuing to give them life instead.
When I was a little girl, I loved the fairy tale of Cinderella. A beautiful girl in a beautiful dress and beautiful glass slippers being taken out of her awful home by a wonderful and dashing Prince Charming. I wanted to be Cinderella. I by no means had an awful home. And I certainly never wore beautiful dresses and glass slippers (except for my first wedding, where I wore both). But being rescued by Prince Charming? That was my dream. Every woman in my immediate family had been divorced and I was determined to be the one to change all of that. I was the one who would find a man, keep a man, have my own house, never be abused physically or verbally, never be cheated on. I would be happy because I would have this man and that house.
I never wanted a boyfriend in high school or college; at least that’s what I told myself. Of course I did. I thought by saying I didn’t want one, I wouldn’t want one. I wouldn’t be sad that I wasn’t asked to either of my proms, that I never got asked out on dates, that someone would like me for only a few hidden moments and never talk to me again afterwards. For a long time I never thought it was about me loving them – I thought it was about them loving me. The few boys who said they liked me I didn’t believe, so I never gave them the time of day or I ended up hurting them in the end. No one I liked ever liked me back so how could they possibly like me?
So the first man who decided to be with me who I liked first and stayed, I married. I was thirty. We’d been together for nine years, a relationship that after three years I knew wasn’t right for me. At that point I had already allowed my self-esteem to fall so low that I believed what I was looking for didn’t exist, that my idea of what a marriage was supposed to be was, well, a fairy tale. So I stayed with the wrong man.
My marriage ended after two short years and I suffered a depression that stemmed from deep self-loathing. I wasn’t angry at my ex-husband or even at the fact that the relationship after eleven years was over. I was angry at myself for the choices I’d made concerning boys and men my entire life. I was angry that I’d let my twenties go by without once asking myself if I was happy, if I was fulfilling any of my dreams outside of the relationship. I had left the only job I thought I’d have, I was no longer happy in any job I took, and I looked and felt terrible. I let all that time pass not realizing that not only did I lose who I used to be, in all of my adult life I don’t think I ever really knew who I was at all.
Over the next few years I did a lot of soul-searching. And during those years I also realized that my idea of Cinderella was all wrong; I’d missed the point altogether.
It wasn’t about the dress, the shoes, the castle, even being rescued by the prince. It was the fact that – whether cleaning the cinders from the fireplace, waiting on her stepmother and stepsisters, dressing up in fancy clothes for a glorious ball and then losing all of it at midnight – Cinderella was the same girl the entire time. She made no excuses for who she was, she just was. She loved and accepted herself no matter what the circumstance. And Prince Charming loved her. Her. Not her hair, her makeup, her gown, even her shoes. He loved her. She accepted her circumstances without complaint, lived her dreams and was true to herself despite what others thought or told her, and the love she showed herself was reflected back to her. She created her own miracles.
Only you can know the absolute true nature about yourself beyond the person you display to the world. People or things cannot give you value or worth. You have and are those things already.
Love does not change because of who or what is in it. We need to love ourselves, and be true to ourselves, by seeing our own worth and value through the eyes of love. I promise, when you begin to see yourself this way, you will watch miracles happen.
You are not the perfect body. You are not that big house, the expensive car, the perfect lawn, that high-paying career. You are beyond all of that. See yourself with so much love that you can’t help but reflect it out to the world.