Why, when we know that there’s no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No – the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect.
The other day my daughter was singing a pop song while fixing her hair for her new ballet class. As she put the bobby pins in the hair, she sang about loving and accepting yourself, about being happy with who you are. As I listened from the other room, a smile crept on to my face. She sounded so happy.
The next minute, she walked into my room and, with a very nervous tone, asked if I thought she looked okay, if she’d do well in her ballet class, and if she’d make friends. All I wanted to say was, “Didn’t you hear any of the words in that song you were just singing?”
It’s easy when we are singing about others loving themselves, but as Brene Brown points out, we spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone. We feel deficient, not enough. We seek the validation of others.
But, what we seek we can only give ourselves. We need to begin sowing the seeds of love, compassion and acceptance in ourselves. We need to remind ourselves that we are beautiful, capable, intelligent, kind, that we can trust our intuition and that our true nature is one of beauty, love and light.
But, this isn’t easy. Whether you are a teenage girl fixing your ballet bun, a victim of abuse, or whether you struggle with weight issues, many of us have a hard time accepting ourselves. We carry seeds of sadness, despair, and insecurity and when these arise, we must nurture them, care for them and allow them to be. But we also carry seeds of love, strength, kindness. We can water these seeds through mindful breathing and meditation. A simple exercise we can do is to imagine light coming into your heart center, and you can say to yourself on the in-breath and out-breath, “I am love, I am light”. You will feel the change in your body and in your heart.
We are all in this together. As our love for ourself increases, let us also send love to others: to those we know intimately, those we hear about on the news, even those who have hurt us. We all need more love. As the song goes, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”