Love. Kindness. Self-esteem. Self-respect. Compassion. Joy. UGH.
Illusive. Difficult. Airy Fairy. Artsy Fartsy. The stuff that hippies are made of. Nonsense. Frivolous. GIRLY. (My odd feminist side chafes at using “girly” in a pejorative manner, but there it is.)
I want to feel good in my skin. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. BUT. It’s a struggle. AND. At the same time, it’s easy. (yes, it can be a struggle and easy at the same time) It’s easy to wallow in self-pity. In despair. In guilt. It’s familiar. Comfortable. And it’s been around for my entire life. Self-love seems indulgent. Selfish. Egocentric. And dammit, again, it just seems GIRLY.
It also seems necessary.
It seems like something I should just be able to DO, and not have to “work” at. Right or wrong, kindness towards self has not been my natural state of being. Not my M.O. Not my goto action. And, if history has taught me anything, I’m probably not alone in this.
Not only does it seem necessary, but if you ascribe to most of the world religions, it seems to be some sort of commandment. From on high.
- Love God
- Love others (your neighbor)
- Love self (I tend to overlook the “as thyself” edict in that scripture)
- Refrain from harming living things. (last time I checked, I’m living)
- Practice NON-INJURY. (that’s just solid counsel)
- Speak good words to all people (Quran 2:83) **Am I included in the “all people” category?
Agnostics and Atheists: Know a ton of way cool people who fall into these categories, and they don’t need a “higher power” in order to know that they should,
- Be nice. (even to themselves? Perhaps STARTING with themselves).
This is by no means a comprehensive list. And I’m not an expert. But there does appear to be a common theme here.
Be nice. Be kind. Show grace. Show compassion. Starting with you. (me?)
There is an old primary (the LDS children’s organization) song that I’ve been singing for over 40 years.
I want to be kind to everyone,
For that is right, you see.
So I say to myself, “Remember this:
Kindness begins with me.”
Words and music: Clara W. McMaster, 1904-1997. (c) 1969
- I sang this as a child.
- I sang this to my own children (smart-ass Dane used to sing, “kindness begins with K,” sigh)
- I have sung it to my students and my to my entire school (yes, I do grab the mic at dismissal and bust into song)
- I have never, until today, thought that “kindness begins with me” could mean begins with how I treat me. Never. Crossed. My. Mind.
Kindness. (and I don’t mean a massage or a mani/pedi, kindness toward self cannot be purchased) It’s on the menu. Starting with me.
Light and Love,