A Lesson in Self-Love



Woman_Enjoying_CoffeeThe other day my 12 year old daughter asked me who I love more: Her and her sister, or myself.

I had to pause for a minute, with the millions of appropriate responses running through my brain.

Is this a trick question?

If I say I love myself more, will she be offended? But if I say them, what lesson am I instilling? That we should always put ourselves second to others?  I took a deep breath and answered truthfully, “Of course, you two.” My daughter gave me a look of slight disappointment. “You know mommy,” she scolded, “You should really love yourself the most.” 

Deep sigh.

Indeed, she had been listening to the lesson I had been trying to impart, but I apparently I had not. It was true, I always put them first, followed by me, as a close second. 

As a woman, this is definitely a challenge, and as a parent, even more so. We know we would give the moon to our children if we could, or take a bullet, etc. [insert your favorite cliché here]. Many marriages and relationships suffer because children are placed first, sacrificing important intimacy with our spouses or significant others.

lovely_flowersThe truth is self-love is the ultimate first. If you can’t learn to love yourself the most, how can you expect your children to love themselves first? I’ve told myself this truth over and over again, but never truly let the fullness of in sink in, until now.

Raising daughters is challenging on so many levels, especially in the sense that I don’t want my girls to make the same mistakes I did, or suffer any self-esteem issues that so many young girls face.

I finally had to face the reality that no matter how hard I may try, I cannot protect them from the world. In fact, I would be doing them a disservice, and at the same time shielding them from developing their own strengths.

So many adults, myself included, deal with self-judgment, negative self-talk and doubt on a daily bases. If we want our children to learn to love themselves, then we must model it for them first and foremost. I truly love the beautiful lessons my children teach me. We no longer live in a world where the parents always are right even when they are wrong. It’s ok to be called on our shit by our kids from time to time, even if they don’t realize how profound their words can be.

Pastel HeartThe lesson in all of this is simply: learn to love yourself. I know it sounds like a broken record (or as my youngest calls it, an old-timey CD player), but learning to love and honor yourself is the only thing you can do before you can truly love others, even your children.

My 12 year old wrote this poem for a school project, but her ulterior motive was to give encouragement to her little sister, who was feeling down about herself at the time. I wanted to honor my lovely and wise tween and share her poem here:

 

You Are Wonderful

by Isabelle Atha

Life is full of ups and downs.
It’s like a rollercoaster.
But, no matter how much life shoots you down, just stay positive.
People will say “you can’t” or “you won’t”
Well, you are full of potential and you can.
In your lifetime, people will deny your ideas, call you names, and make fun of you.
Those people are just jealous of you.
If you let these mean and hurtful comments get to you, you’ll start to think “I can’t or “I’m dumb.”
You are extremely capable and smart.
However, here are some things you aren’t:
You aren’t worthless, you aren’t the worst person in the world, and you aren’t hated.
You are an amazingly talented and kind human being.

                         

There is no time like the present to start this work. With the full moon approaching tomorrow (July 1st), check out this great blog from the gifted astrologist, Cindy Morris, on how to use this energy to tap into loving yourself.

And finally, my last words on the matter (as I often need to hear them myself): Be ever so kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself.

 

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