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I Own That

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?

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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13 Responses

  1. Truly FABULOUS, surprisingly difficult and uncommon, and certainly worthy of praise.
    Think about it, how many people do you know who can say the same?
    Good for you for continuing with the exercise until you got down to something you could hold and own with such power and clarity.
    Way to go, Lori. (note complete lack of sarcasm, I’m just sayin’).

  2. And it’s probably one of the rarest, most coveted qualities. Think of how many things we wish for but don’t really show up to make them happen.

    I am trying to think of a compliment for myself. You are right; I don’t compliment myself often.

    I notice things. And I have enormous willpower.

  3. I love this idea. I love that you saw something amazing in yourself: that you show up. Now I need to figure out what I do. I follow through. If I make a commitment–to myself and others–I follow through on that commitment. I make it happen. I go to events that I RSVP for, I finish projects that I start (well, most of the time ;). I guess that is my compliment to myself. It’s incredible how hard that was to think of. Why is complimenting ourselves do hard?

  4. I am very good at understanding other people’s needs: identifying people’s needs and helping them meet them, and giving sub-par people the benefit of the doubt because I realize how their dumb actions are just trying to meet their needs.

  5. Good for you Lori! Seriously. Showing up consistently is huge. It means people can count on you, that you are committed and follow through when it comes to what is important to you. I love that you kept working through the question until you came up with an answer that works for and makes sense to you.

    I am proud of the way I support others. I am known for being a good cheerleader. When a friend or family member wants to connect with someone who they know they can count on to be really excited about something with them, they know they can contact me and I will be there to celebrate with them. Likewise, if someone is struggling I do a good job of reaching out, checking in and letting people know that I care.

    As an aside, I just had a totally strange case of deja vu while typing this comment. I suppose typing in a comment box on your blog is not an unusual occurrence in my life, as I love to read what you have to say and share my thoughts on your posts here. But it wierded me out a bit and thought you’d appreciate hearing about it.

  6. I love that. Because it’s not even just about the act of showing up, but so much more … self-respect, commitment, compassion … all of those are things that live in the showing-up. 🙂

  7. Oh my gosh! I’m giving you a virtual standing ovation right now!! That is so true, you make a daily decision to put yourself first and it feels so good! I feel way more refreshed when getting an hour or two of me time. Sometimes my workouts aren’t as hot and heavy as I’d like them to be, but guess what? I chose to show up! And that means a ton to me. Good job Lori!!

  8. Thank you, Lori, I really needed to read this post. VERY inspirational. I’ve been away from the blogging world and have forgotten how much I love my blogging friends and how much reading good writing is nourishing to me. Can’t wait to read your book!

    Right now I’m just proud of making it through the night with a high-needs newborn, lol! I also got all of my grading done, FINALLY.

  9. So awesome- I love this post— I am hoping I can start doing yoga again soon…. when I return to town, I need to get back on the mat – my mat has not been used a lot in the past 5 weeks.

  10. Love this!!!

    Funny, ‘just show up’ is how I feel about my exercise regime too. Whatever else happens after that is bonus but ‘just show up’. Nicely put, Lori. I can see how fitting that is for you. 🙂

    It’s hard trying to come up with something when, like you, things have a direct link to other people/influences.

    But, I think I’ve always felt deep in my heart of hearts, that I’m really good with children. I remember I went to a psychic several years ago…she knew nothing about me beforehand…but said that I had this magic with children…a force that draws them to me. And I remember thinking (not nodding of course), that she hit that bang on.

    Magic…I like that.


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