When I’m dissatisfied with someone, I can often trace the feeling to a dissatisfaction with myself.
So, if I could truly love myself, would I more easily love those around me?
What I Get From My Dad
I’m critical. I get that from my dad. He always wants to make things better — a good trait. But here’s what would happen when I showed him a school project or essay. He’d look at it or read it over, tell me it was wonderful, and then come up with 3 ways to improve it.
And at the same time, he’s my biggest cheerleader.
What I Get From My Mom
My mom, on the other hand, is a supermodel for loving unconditionally. She always acts as if my sisters and I are three of the seven wonders of the world, exactly as we are, in whatever we are doing. Even though she doesn’t give advice, we always find answers to problems when we bring them to her. She gives the space and confidence to solve our own problems, which we feel empowered to do.
I suppose both my dad’s and my mom’s way of loving have made me a mostly-functioning and mostly-happy adult. I’m grateful to both.
What if I could love myself wholly and unconditionally? Would that help me love others more fully? I love two people, and they love two people, and they love two people…and so on. Here’s what I can do to start a love chain.
- I love my hair — even the wave.
- I love my green eyes, with one of them being nearsighted and the other farsighted.
- I love my skin, the way it protects me and heals.
- I love my mouth, the way it experiences and expresses.
- I love my arms. They embrace my loved ones and amaze me with their strength.
- I love my stomach. I love the way the organs inside nourish me.
- I love my heart. It loves well and causes flow for the rest of me.
- I love my lungs. With them I bring in life force and release all that no longer serves me.
- I love my tushy. (This is admittedly hard to type.)
- I love my legs. The support me and move me forward.
- I love my height and weight. (Breathe.)
- I love myself.
What imperfection about yourself can you declare your love for?
More on Perfectionism
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.