Sure wish I had done that when I was younger…
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 no idea 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.
In her article entitled Do You Truly Know How to Love Yourself? author Louise Hay said:
…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 so much strength.
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.”
So…what do you think?
Betty White may be on to something…
Betty White is 97 years old. She said that just few years ago. Amazing!
Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at. It’s what you see.” Betty White makes the case for that being true. In another post entitled What Matters Most is How You See Yourself, I talked about the importance of seeing ourselves in a positive light, and how important that is to our sense of well-being and happiness. Perception truly is reality in so many ways.
Several years ago, when having breakfast with a few friends at a small family-owned restaurant here in “my neck of the woods,” I excused myself to go to powder room. Written in bright red lipstick across the mirror in that little room were the words “Isn’t she beautiful?” How wonderful! Whoever wrote those words must have wanted to remind all who looked in that mirror that we are, indeed, beautiful. And that’s regardless of our age, our weight, our color, our height, our style, our social or economic status, or any other ridiculous arbitrary criteria.
A short time after that enlightening breakfast I threw a big 60th birthday party for myself. (That was ten years ago now…and a fun party it was!) Guess what was written on the mirror in the powder room of the little Polish club where we celebrated my special birthday. You got it! Written in beautiful pink lipstick – were the words “Isn’t she beautiful?!” Truth be told, those words were even on a mirror in my own little “cottage” at one point in time…
As we age we sometimes forget how valuable we are as human beings. And the world around us often fails to remind us of that important truth. Whether we agree with Betty White or not, it is important to always see ourselves as absolutely valuable human beings. Our happiness – and maybe even to a certain extent our longevity – might just depend on it.
What do you think, my friends?