I brought my daughter back to Madison for her sophomore year. I cried in the days leading up, I cried as we sang our lungs out on the car ride there and I cried when I had to leave. Between my crying, I was shopping at Target more than I care to admit. One night, after leaving my daughter at her apartment for the night, I decided to make one last run to Target.
As I was in the line paying for yet another shower organizer, I heard a mom say to her teenage daughter, “That outfit [referencing the one they were buying] makes you look fat.” I literally felt like throwing up. I turned and saw the girl shrink and get red-faced. Her mom, realizing she forgot something, quickly left to go get it, leaving the girl standing there alone. You know I had to say something. So, I turned to her and said, “If you love yourself that outfit will look amazing. I’m certain of it.” She half-smiled, I nodded, I swiped my card for the 10,000 time and left.
Why do we teach our children so little about self-love? We teach them about sex and drugs but not about loving their minds, bodies and their emotions. In a world where we’ve been raised to put others first, self-love feels selfish. We know we need it, yet we have difficulty giving ourselves permission to experience it.
Unfortunately, most of us become adults with almost no self-love skills. We feel stuck with the notion that we are the way we are and there’s no real changing to be done.
But I believe that we can learn to love ourselves and we can and should teach our children the same thing. This is what I say to practice my self-love:
- You have needs. In order to love yourself, you need to recognize your needs. Without self-love, you’ll dismiss your needs while prioritizing the needs of others. Self-love is about identifying your needs and making them a priority.
- Set boundaries. The more you love yourself, the less you’ll tolerate being treated like crap. Period.
- Don’t sabotage your great feelings by doing something destructive. When you love yourself, it’s easier to accept and allow good things in your life.
- Own your life. Learn from s*** and don’t be a victim. Life ownership is empowering.
- Give more. Research shows that giving to others strengthens the circuits in the brain that generates feelings of well-being, more than any other positive emotion practices. So, why not give more? Like every day?
I have no idea if what I said meant anything to that young girl. But I believe that loving yourself is magical—it’s a divine relationship that will help you improve every single aspect of your life. I know it to be true. So, stop feeling guilty and learn to embrace having a loving relationship with You. Teach your kids (young and old) the same thing. You (and they) deserve it!
Have a great week!