To Love Yourself “As Is”

Rachel Macy Stafford Girls

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To Love Yourself “As Is” (Part 1)

“Be kind to others,” they told her.

“Be kind to yourself.” She didn’t hear much of that.

Maybe they assumed she just would be. But despite the radiant smile on her face, the voice in her head said, “Not good enough.”

It wasn’t enough.

It was never enough.

For years she tried to reach perfection’s highest rung, but she missed again and again and again.

And then she had little ones of her own. At first their messiness and mistakes reminded her of her own imperfections. She found herself losing it over trivial mishaps and typical kid issues. But living in the shadow of fear and inadequacy was not the life she wanted for her children. She made every effort to see beyond their mess and mayhem. And in her children’s disarray, their humanness, and in their silly little quirks, she saw something worthy of love and forgiveness. She offered them love without condition and restraint, and when she did, their little faces glowed with validation and acceptance.

To love someone “as is” was a gift, she realized.

So whenever her children messed up she’d say, “Be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes.”

As the children grew, they started saying it to themselves and to each other. And one day, when she burned the bottom of the crockpot, the littlest one said it to her. “Everybody makes mistakes, Mama. Be nice to yourself.”

She wished someone had said it when she was young. But it wasn’t too late. Thirty-eight years of being unkind to herself was enough. It was quite enough.

“Be kind to yourself.”

“Only love today.”

She began saying it. Sometimes 100,000 times a day, she said it.

Only Love today.

Only Love Today.

Be kind to yourself.

She says it now.

Because it’s not too late.

To Love Yourself “As Is” (Part 2)

The mantra was working. “Only Love Today. Be Kind to Yourself.” Those empowering words were silencing the bully in her head. There was a crack of light. She could see the next steps.

She decided to stop beating herself up over past failures.

She decided to stop re-playing mistakes over and over in her head.

She decided to be open about her shortcomings, real with her humanness, and generous with her apologies.

“I don’t always get it right, and I never will,” she honestly admitted to herself.

But that was not something to be sad about because there was a silver lining.

Even on the days she didn’t get it right, her children were still learning valuable lessons about life, persistence, determination, failure, compassion, authenticity, grace, and forgiveness. Even when she wasn’t getting it “right,” it didn’t mean her children were going to turn out all wrong.

Her humanness allowed her children to be human.

Her courage to keep showing up gave her children courage to show up.

Loving herself despite her failures, flaws, and imperfections gave her children permission to love themselves “as is.”

As a result, her children discovered much sooner something she wished she’d known all her life: You can’t see the silver lining that comes from falling down until you get back up.

But she sees it now.

She sees it now.

Because it’s not too late.

***

About the Author

Rachel Macy Stafford

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February 2015 – XO
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