A sea of little faces look back at me. I’ve come to speak to junior high school students about self love. I challenge them to look in the mirror at least twice a day and say, “I love you” and mean it! I hear giggles, I see fear, I see wonder and a questioning like, do I dare, can I really look at myself with love, is it ok? Even at this tender age, I see a sense of unworthiness has creeped into their young minds and I just want to take them in my arms and tell the part of them that believes they aren’t good enough, “It isn’t so! You are wonderful, magnificent!” So I give them my heart for fifty minutes while in their classroom, hoping to help them look at themselves with love and compassion.
My own journey has been a long one in learning to love myself. I am a fifty three year old bald woman living in a society that worships perfect bodies so I have had to practice this ‘loving myself’ thing. To cultivate a life that reflects self love, respect, an honoring of oneself. To choose again when the critic within tries to squelch my joy. I’ve learned to practice being compassionate toward myself, giving myself a ‘love bath.’ That same tenderness I give to others, I take time to give to myself. To open my heart to myself. I invite you to try it. Oh the wonder of welcoming yourself into your own heart with genuine acceptance and appreciation! To come without judgment but compassion is a mighty thing.
When throughout the day, the inner critic arises I stop for a moment and choose to listen to a different voice – to let the voice of love rise up and whisper to my heart, quiet my mind, soothe my soul, calming me and returning me to sanity. I ‘practice’ feeling my innocence as well. In a world where it’s easy to feel like you’re not enough along with the guilt that inevitably accompanies it, it’s powerful to take a few minutes, perhaps in the morning before arising and the ego hasn’t kicked in full force, to just feel your innocence. Ask yourself, “What would it feel like to feel like enough?” Engage your imagination if you need to!
I get letters from these children that I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited. Some make me weep. They tell me they’ve learned to look at themselves differently, with kindness. They feel more confident. They feel worthy. Aren’t we all meant to feel that way? We were born worthy and nothing in this world, no person, no event, not ourselves by things we do or fail to do will change that inherent worth. So I extend another invitation. Will you look in the mirror at least twice a day and say, “I love you,” and mean it? Are you willing? Let the tears rise if they must, the fear and the hope, as you are returned, once again, to your beautiful, worthy self.
My worthiness blesses me
Like flowers falling gently from heaven
How delightful to know
I need do nothing
But marvel at my own magnificence.
From In My Father’s Arms by Matisun