On Facebook several days ago, I asked, What would feel different if you said to yourself: I love my life right now?
I did it on a whim, but in the days following, I’ve felt the question unfurl my heart and take up residence there.
I had several responses to that post, most of which stated simply: I will try, but I cannot love my life as it is now. I can only love my life if I think about it as a progression to something better. I understood, as I have been very familiar with this feeling.
And yet, I am haunted by the idea.
What if we learned to love our lives, as they are, right now?
What if we expanded our understanding of what a good life looked like to include what we already have?
What if we included the ugly parts, the parts that we spent the majority of our time wishing away?
What if we made space for us to come as ourselves, unadorned and messy?
We are our ugly parts, just as much as we are our beautiful parts.
I work every day for my love for myself to be imperfect and unconditional, and that has to include the parts of myself that I’d rather hide from you (and everyone else).
I am a woman who routinely runs out of patience.
I am a woman who didn’t know how to care for her sweetheart as her mother was passing away, just a short week ago now. I was all elbows and awkward phrases. At the time, I felt like I wore my wedding rings like an imposter, because I simply did not know what to do with the pain in front of me but cry.
I am a woman who ate blueberry bread all day long for four days after even when I knew it would make me sick, and it did.
I am a woman who falls into holes of her own creation, often, and uses the mere fact that I have fallen in to beat myself up for days.
I am proud.
I am, often, crippled by my own anxiety.
But, I cannot distance myself from the parts that are painful or inconvenient for me, because they are also a part of me.
There was a time where I would have allowed these facts to serve as proof of my undeserving.
I would have said, until I am _______, I can’t _________.
I would have made myself small, and told myself that I was so inherently flawed that I had to begin the enormous work of becoming someone better, someone to be proud of.
I would have believed that about myself.
But, today, I know that I am deserving of a beautiful life now.
And so are you.
My beautiful life requires that I accept and learn to love every aspect of myself, so that we can all rise, together.
It is because of my ugly parts that I am able to do this work. I am grateful.
I crave the opportunity to show up as myself, unabashedly, and be accepted and cherished for the person that I am.
I crave that opportunity with my whole heart. I believe that we all do.
The absolute first step must be to provide yourself with that kind of love, always.
The self-love that I am describing here is messy. It has imperfect grammar, and mascara running down your face. It’s earmarked by dark circles under your eyes and hard conversations with yourself. It has you laughing as you fall down, and remembering that you will not break, even as I tumble. It is more often fun than not. It is rich with learning opportunities and teachable moments.
It’s loving and accepting yourself, and knowing that it is because of your love that you grow and not in spite of it.
I love myself, because I want to be the kind of person who has my own back.
I want to know that, when times get tough, I show up for myself.
I want to believe in my ability to care for myself, above all else.
This is not about waiting until you have reached a superficial level of deserving before you let the love flow freely.
This love is yours. It is your birthright.
You deserve to be cherished while you figure it all out.
You deserve to start where you are, getting all warm and cozy in the land of flaws and perceived inadequacy. That is the shadow side of your beauty, so don’t send it to bed without dinner every time it disappoints or angers you.
Let it in. Let yourself unfold. Let yourself become.
Give yourself permission to begin building your beautiful life out of the materials that surround you.
And if you want help, I would simply love to support you.