My daughter, Clara, is a wild one. She pushes the envelope in every way. And she doesn't let anyone boss her around.
She asks for ice-cream in a cone....then eats it from that cone with a spoon.
She wears her fanciest red velvet Christmas dress to daycare on a Tuesday in July.
She eats soup with her hands.
And when you try to slip a t-shirt over her head, to help get her dressed, she rips it off, and puts it back on all by herself.
She doesn't let anyone sush her. In any way. Not even her ex-librarian mother who is pretty damn good at "shushing" (full disclosure, I aced the course on "shushing" in grad school).
And while I try hard to make sure she grows up to be a decent human being, with values and morals and kindness in her soul....there's part of me that witnesses her fiery attitude, and let's it be.
Because how many of us bend over backwards, just to appease others? How many of us alter who we are in order to steady the boat? How many of us quiet our wildness in order to fit in?
And truly......how exhausting is it to do all that?!
When I think about self-love, I think about coming home to myself. A reunion with the "me" that I sometimes do not allow myself to be. And although sometimes that can mean a little box wine in the bedroom, or some Ben & Jerry's in the bathtub......more often than not, self-love is simply setting down the effort I am putting into being loved or accepted by others.
Self-love is letting go of the identities that are keeping me hostage.
Self-love is coming back to the centre of my being, and reminding myself that nothing is lacking.
And as freeing as this act of metaphorically undressing can be.....it can also be a little uncomfortable. Because all of sudden, we're aware of that part to us that is heavy with disguise. The cable-knit sweater of our lives.
We're aware of that area in our lives that we want to be one thing, and are choosing another.
We're aware of where it is we are being restrained.
But guys, as often as I have seen that glaring reality in my own life.......it has been the greatest gift to be able to recalibrate my course. It has been the greatest gift to be able to feel like I can come home to myself at the end of the day, and not have to off-load the weight of who it is I am pretending to be.
For me, self-love has meant turning that sigh-of-relief, that reprieve, that window of me-ness into my entire life, my entire being. Not just being "me" when no one else is around.
Sure. No one gets it perfectly right. There will always be ways in which we give in to being the chameleon.
But the more we can do the self-love strip-tease, and give ourselves permission to love ourselves first, the closer we will get to true happiness and fulfilment.
So go ahead. Be the wild stallion you were born to be. Eat soup with your hands. And walk around as naked as you can!
Surprise evyerone around you.
And do it all unapologetically!