When was the last time you looked in the mirror? This morning? During your coffee break? Don’t really remember?
What was that like, and what did you see?
Was it a quick “functional check” to make sure you’re still there? Or, that the toothpaste was all gone, no new zits have sprouted overnight, hair intact? How many judgments popped up automatically, within that split second, that made you avert your eyes from yours quickly? Were you reciting all the items on your to-do list, a reprimand that that dessert last night wasn’t needed, gauging by that waist line, and how about your lack of impulse control that put those dark circles under the eyes… when will you finally get your act together and do xyz…. Any of this sound familiar? Would you talk to your best friend that way? (and maybe, you do? If not out loud, maybe unconsciously – silently, energetically – in a look, a thought, body language….)… hmmm…
Or did you look into your eyes and smiled, excited as if meeting and greeting your best friend who you can’t wait to be with: “Good Morning! I’m so happy to see you! What are you up to today? What can I do for you, I’d love to do something to make you happy today” Sound too chipper and caffeinated for you? Fake? Ok, interesting – try again…
When is the last time you told yourself, sincerely, “I love you!” – and what did your expression in the mirror reflect back to you when you did? Did you believe yourself?
If you’re like me, this idea feels very awkward at first. Selfish. Vain. Silly. Childish. Desperate. Narcissistic [insert your own labels] – wow, all these judgments! And then there are those jokes about talking to yourself – and supposedly you are to get worried if you answer yourself… but honestly, why wouldn’t you??? Why wouldn’t you talk and listen to your own thoughts? When did it become normal to put other people’s thoughts and beliefs about us above our own?
Ok – yes, Mr. Einstein, I agree, self absorption isn’t healthy and “we cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. We need other people and their perspectives to step outside of our own heads, to grow, to feel alive, to love and feel loved – and even to validate and grow what we believe about ourselves.
HOWEVER – it starts with ourselves, with our ability to look into our own eyes with love, appreciation and respect. Without that, how can we ever authentically give it, or receive it from others?
My friend Diana sent this poem to me today – and it illustrates the power of self love beautifully. I dare you to read it to yourself out loud, in front of the mirror – like you mean it…
“As I began to love myself” – Poem by Charlie Chaplin
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody
As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time
was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this
person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens
at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in
my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for
my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew
me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude
a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since
I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry
about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING
is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my
mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this
connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing
new worlds are born.Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!
As I begin to love myself, I recognize how true some of this, and I am sure I will gradually come to know the rest!!