Ah, 2016, how you’ve snuck up on us. Seems like yesterday I was graduating high school, then college, then moving all over the country in search of the “perfect” job. (I did find it, then promptly lost it a week after starting when I tried to commit suicide. Hard to explain.)
I spent a lot of my life, most in fact, trying to be perfect and some of that residual search for perfection remains today. It is rare that I leave the house without makeup. I’m still trying to lose weight. Whatever. My point: NO ONE IS PERFECT. Forget about the retouched pictures you see in magazines. Don’t believe everyone’s lives are as perfect as they pretend to be on Facebook because I guarantee you they aren’t. They have bumps in their roads too. They have bad days. You are not the only one.
I gave up my quest for perfection in a psych ward in California. I realized that was very sick and that I needed a lot more help than I had been asking for. And that’s okay. I think that needed to happen because I found out that people still loved me – mental illness and all.
So this year as you set your goals and create your resolutions, I wanted to suggest something you could do this year, and it is really quite easy. Why not love yourself? We spend so much time giving ourselves to other people. We get caught up in the rat race. We think we aren’t good enough because we aren’t perfect. Let me tell you something, dear reader, you are amazing. You have talents, a personality like no one else, and you are brave because every day you wake up to fight the battle of life with a mental illness.
I’d love for you to make a couple of short lists. The first – things you like about yourself. For some of you this may feel very strange and hard, but I promise there are at least a few things you like. Maybe it is the color of your eyes or the way you make an omelet or how you never forget birthdays. Focus on these things when you are having a tough time loving yourself because this list will remind you of your goodness. And this list can grow throughout the year as you gain confidence in yourself. It will, I promise.
The second list should be a list of things you can’t change. I am 5’3″. I will never be taller. I can’t change that even though sometimes I get frustrated with being short. I have mental illnesses. They aren’t going anywhere – though I can do my best to live a life in which I love myself in addition to (not in spite of) my mind. Hell, this list may be longer than your “love” list, but it is important because when you are done writing it, I want you to let go of those things. Quit wishing things are different. It is what it is and, baby, you got to live with it. Stop striving to change things that cannot be changed. I promise you, as you accept these things and accept yourself, your self-love will flourish.
Let’s love ourselves this year. I know sometimes it may be hard, but do it anyway. You are worthy of love, especially your own.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net