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The Importance of Being Kind
Be your first love
When I used to look at people around me—whether in my daily commute, at work, or at a supermarket (in different times, of course)—I would try to imagine what their lives must be like. I would wonder who they’ve loved and been loved by. The one thing I would notice about them, without fail, is just how beautiful these people were. Truly beautiful. I would notice their patience, their kindness, their ability to help out others without judgement.
I was willing to believe the beauty these strangers carried. It was easy.
Yet, that generosity of spirit has not always been easy to muster for the person in the mirror. In the past, I have been frightfully critical towards her. I could only see someone who needed to do more, to be more, someone who was not enough as she was.
No one’s happier than I am to be talking about that now in the past tense.
There are gaping gaps in my memories because of the pictures I didn’t like to take, because I didn’t want to look at myself in those pictures or create lasting “evidence” of what I looked like at those times in my life. Sure, it’s all well and good to be “in the moment” and enjoy the “now” (or in my case, to pretend that that was the reason why I didn’t want to take pictures), but a photo here and there can serve as an essential memory-making tool. At the very least, it’s a fun way to jog down the memory lane a few years down the road.
Brené Brown once talked/wrote about how she was looking at her daughter playing and it struck her how much she loved her daughter. She turned to her husband and, talking about her daughter, said something along the lines of, “Wouldn't it be wonderful to know that one is loved so wholly and unconditionally?” She says her husband responded that he loved her exactly like that.
Every time I think about that, I say a simple prayer. I pray for me to be able to love myself like that. Not that I don’t ever. But I don’t always. While I’ve yet to say an unkind word to a loved one, it is easy to forget to be kind to yourself.
This doesn't have to apply only to struggles with appearance or weight or self-worth. It is valid for any place and time in your life where you may be prone to going through a shame storm—any time you’ve judged yourself harshly for what you thought was a “stupid” thing to do or say, any time you’ve faced embarrassment or humiliation.
This is, therefore, a reminder.
TALK TO YOURSELF LIKE YOU'D TALK TO A LOVED ONE.
Because you ought to be your first love.