When I was in grad school – in my 50’s – we did an exercise that posed this question: If you could go back to being 18 years old – knowing what you know now – what advice would you give yourself? I didn’t have to think twice!!
The advice I would give myself? Love yourself first. Definitely. Love yourself first.
Let me start by saying that when I was young I did not value myself. I had absolutely noidea of what a good person I really was! I’m not talking about thinking I was better than anyone else. I’m not talking about thinking I was more intelligent. I’m certainly not talking about being selfish and egocentric. Quite simply, I did not know my true value as a human being.
As a young woman I was kind. I was smart. I was caring. I had so many positive qualities…as I do today. Sadly, back then I didn’t love myself enough to demand respect from other people and demand to be treated kindly. Honestly, I felt “less than.” I allowed some very significant people in my life to treat me hurtfully – emotionally and physically. Had I loved myself more, I hopefully wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.
…When I talk about loving ourselves, I mean having a deep appreciation for who we are. We accept all the different parts of ourselves—our little peculiarities, the embarrassments, the things we may not do so well, and all the wonderful qualities, too. We accept the whole package with love. Unconditionally.
I agree with Louise. With that love comes somuchstrength.
Some of you might think that “Love yourself first” is too simplistic to be of any value. Or perhaps no more than a self-help platitude. Think what you will, my friends! I, for one, believe that we cannot create “our best life” without loving and appreciating ourselves first. That is the foundation for building healthy relationships, striving to achieve our goals, and so much more. As I shared in a previous blog post, “What matters most is how you see yourself.”
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.
While interpretations may vary, to me this quote very simply means that in this short life we can be happiest and most fulfilled by creating our very own path…whatever that path may be.
In 1978 Dr. M. Scott Peck wrote a wonderful book entitled The Road Less Traveled. I first became aware of this book years ago through my daughter Michele. Then, as luck would have it, Michele and I had the opportunity to attend a Road Less Traveled seminar right here in our hometown. I took notes (I’ve always been a big note taker!) and came away with some “nuggets” that I remember to this day. Here are just a few…
• Our own view of reality is like a map…the “road” in our lives. • We should always pay attention to our inner wisdom – our intuition – and combine that with logic (of course!). • Be open to “serendipity” – when something good happens that you’re not looking for. • “Grace” is the connecting force in life that shows us how to grow.
I especially like the idea of serendipity, defined in the Oxford University Press blog as experiencing happy and unexpected discoveries by accident. How wonderful! Sometimes the “map” we follow in life is structured, “humdrum,” and we don’t keep our minds and eyes open for serendipity. We best change that!
Grace is another remarkable concept. While grace is often defined from a theological or spiritual perspective, from myperspective grace is the heartwarming, comforting sense of peace, gratitude and love that comes to us at special moments in time. It can occur anytime and anywhere and can help us truly sense the goodness of life. (I do know I’m waxing philosophical here!) While feelings of grace may be fleeting and rare, my guess is if we were more open to its existence we could experience “amazing grace” much more often in our lives.
I like to think that, as I create my life in however many years I have left on this earth, I will welcome serendipity, open my mind and heart to experience true grace, and then confidently take that inviting RoadLess Traveled. I know for sure that will make all the difference!
There are some blessings in this life that money just can’t buy!
This African proverb offers sage advice. There are blessings in this life that money just can’t buy. Friendship is one of them!
Little did I know when I introduced myself to a co-worker way back in 1973 that I had just met my best friend for life. Today – more than forty years later – Liz and I are still BFFs. When I count my blessings, I absolutely count Liz twice! We have shared interests, shared values and shared goals. Liz has been with me “through thick and thin” and has never, ever let me down. God bless Liz…
Looking back into my childhood, Sheila was my best friend. Sheila and I together rode her dappled pony Prince through our rural “neighborhood.” Bareback, no helmets, often no shoes, our hair blowing in the wind. Boy, did we have a good time!
Friendships most often come to us through serendipity. We meet someone, strike up a conversation, recognize some commonality, make a few plans, and then a friendship starts to grow. Do all of our friendships last forever? Absolutely not. For a variety of reasons some valued friendships fade and are in dire need of nurturing and reconnection. (That sounds like a great goal to me!) Others were simply good while they lasted – perhaps meeting mutual needs for a time or a season – but not destined for the long term. And that’s okay.
Each and every day we have an opportunity to make a new friend. Being open to that possibility – and that continued serendipity – is paramount. “Back in the day” we generally met friends through face-to-face encounters. Today we can meet friends with the help of technology…and they can be anywhere in this big world! How great is that?!
Friends make our lives richer, more meaningful, and happier. They can give us an opportunity to see life from a different perspective. They share our joys, share our sorrows and lift us up when we need it most.
Yes, we would be well-advised to hold a true friend with both our hands!