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Learning Self Acceptance From Your Children

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My baby is perfect.

She doesn’t have to do anything or be anyone to deserve love.

She doesn’t have to achieve anything, clean anything, or keep anything in order to feel ok. She doesn’t have to keep it together or pretend that she’s happy when she’s not.

No one tells her she’s overreacting. No one will threaten to leave or turn away if she is too emotional or too sensitive.

Just because she was born, my baby is worthy of every ounce of love I have inside of me. It is her right.

I was a baby once.  At what point did I lose that right?

So many of us think that our children deserve love, endless wells of forgiveness, kindness, and emotional support, and yet starve ourselves of these same things, conditioning our self-acceptance on how well we perform, look, or “keep it together.”

When did I decide that I must jump hurdles to deserve self-kindness, self-compassion, self-forgiveness?

Well I want to go back.

I want to be that bundle of perfection, worthy of love, admiration, affection, joy, happiness, wealth, health, abundance, and all of those other wonderful and juicy things, just because I was born.

No more strings. No more conditions.

Even when I leave clothes on the floor and dishes in the sink, have spit-up stains and cat hair on my clothes, was late, forgot to pay that bill, didn’t text back, wore the non-cute but comfortable shoes and procrastinated by watching TV…I want to let it go.

I deserve love. I deserve acceptance. I deserve a deep breath and a compassionate heart.

My daughter deserves it, and I do too.  We all do.

So why is it so frigging hard?

If self-love is a practice, I haven’t exactly been doing my homework for the past few years. Hell, if someone said to me what I say to myself, I would probably slap them (or say nothing and slink off and fantasize about what I should have said).

Maybe Stuart Smalley screwed us by making self-acceptance seem like something only the weird kids did.  I don’t know why it is, but for some reason, it’s way easier to be self-deprecating than nice to yourself.

So what do we do? Here’s what I’m trying out. If you want to participate in this little experiment, please let me know how it goes.

Whenever I notice that critical voice, or feel shame or guilt, I hit my internal pause button. And instead of following those yucky thoughts, I instead think of 2 things I am grateful for and 2 things I am proud of myself for.

So far, it feels a little weird, especially since self-flagellation feels so normal to me. But gradually I’m noticing that by turning my focus, I can trigger a flood of joy and self-acceptance.

How do you practice self-love and self-acceptance? Please tell me in the comments. 

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“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. Your really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ― Lucille Ball

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” ― Brene Brown

“Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself.”― Tyra Banks

“I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.” ― Margaret Cho

“I had to grow to love my body. I did not have a good self-image at first. Finally it occurred to me, I’m either going to love me or hate me. And I chose to love myself. Then everything kind of sprung from there. Things that I thought weren’t attractive became sexy. Confidence makes you sexy.” ― Queen Latifah

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