Jane asked us at the start of yoga class to silently compliment ourselves on something. In the space of seconds I discounted everything that came to mind. On my body? That’s my genes. On my children? That’s someone else’s genes. On my writing? That’s due to my dad, my 7th grade teacher, Melissa, y’all who read, my agent and some good luck. My musical ability? Luck. My sense of humor? Not mine, really. Just about everything I thought of could be traced to someone else.
I was also swirling around in my mind that morning Melissa’s post on Ashley Judd, otheration and esteem privilege, as well as the BlogHer post on receiving validation online. As I write my book, I am wondering how to keep my measuring stick inside, to not be swayed by either praise from people who love my book (I hope there are some!) or disdain for people who find fault with it (I hope there are none! But there will be).
So the idea of internal vs external validation was high on my mind in yoga class as I struggled to find something to compliment myself about. Don’t argue the obvious counterpoints of my arguments to me — I already argued them to myself and it didn’t make a difference in how I felt on the mat. Everything boiled down to not mine, really. Everything I could think of came to me either through nature or nurture, through what I was born with or what others offered me.
Everything except one thing:
I show up.
That’s what I ended up complimenting myself on. I show up on my mat several times a week. It’s in my calendar — I make my physical and spiritual health a priority by scheduling other things around yoga class. I show up to write my book, at least an hour every day that my kids are in school. I don’t always feel like writing then or have a plan for what to say, but I show up and see what happens, shutting out other distractions (there are so many!) during that hour.
I showed up at piano lessons and flute lessons back in the day. I show up to make dinner. I show up for my kids when there are important or routine things going on. We all show up for family dinner time. I show up with my sisters and my parents and my friends. I show up in this space.
It’s simple, but it’s the one thing I can claim and be proud of. The act of showing up, over and over again? I own that.
Way to go, Lori.
Your turn to pay yourself a compliment. What are you proud of in yourself?