As parents, especially mothers, we have a checklist of attributes we want our daughters to have. Speaking properly. Dressing properly. Presenting themselves well. Getting a great education. The list goes on and on. When we see girls and women who don’t have these attributes, we are quick to diagnose the absence of these attributes as a reason for their questionable decisions. On the other hand, there are many girls and women whose parents seemingly did “everything right” and when something goes awry with them, we scratch our heads and wonder what “went wrong.”
I think the real answer to both scenarios is simple but complicated. Self love. Along with the nerve-wrecking conversation about sex, a conversation with our daughters about self-love either never happens, is muddled through or quickly touched upon. Our daughters are often left to interpret these things for themselves. Don’t have sex. Love yourself. But what does “loving yourself” really mean? Have we really taught our daughters how? Have we ever learned or been taught how? I’ve thought about it and prayed on it. Here is my starting list for the how in self love that I will share with my daughters:
- Love, care for, and appreciate your body. Loving yourself is knowing and being comfortable with your body and all its parts. Appreciate the fact that you are unique. When it comes to whether you think you are “too big” or “too small”, you can never be “too healthy.” Always choose your health. When it comes to “pretty”, “ugly”, or any other word used to critically categorize your outward appearance, neither accept nor use nor place value on any of them with regard to yourself.
- Show respect in your relationships with others. Loving yourself is respecting others. You will not agree with everyone. Your greatest attribute will be to learn to respectfully disagree without damaging relationships, hurting feelings or demeaning others.
- Accept nothing less than respect from others. Loving yourself is recognizing and acknowledging when you are being mistreated without making excuses or rationalizing that you deserve less. Loving yourself is knowing and believing that walking away sometimes means that you are walking toward something much better.
- Be unashamed to proclaim your faith. Loving yourself is loving God and being faithful and dedicated to your faith. Your faith is your strongest asset. If others cannot see God in you, your proclamations mean nothing.
- Give to your personal limit. Loving yourself is loving others. All too often, women are made to feel that they should give until their tank is empty. Loving yourself is saying, without guilt, “I love you. I have given sacrificially. My prayer is that you were blessed by my gift of love, but I must take care of me in order to continue to give to others.”
- Forgive yourself. Loving yourself is realizing that you are not perfect and that mistakes are normal. In life, you will make mistakes and regret decisions you have made. Apologize, give yourself a hug, accept your apology, treat yourself (ice cream, a movie, a nap, new shoes…whatever) and move on.
- Seek and accept wise counsel. Loving yourself is understanding that you don’t know everything and will not always have the answers. Take the time to build a network of trusted advisers who are worthy of your trust, will give you wise counsel, and who will hold your confidence.
- Don’t give your power away. Loving yourself is realizing that you have power and control over your decisions. Never knowingly make a decision that places a decision that you should be making about your life in the hands of someone else, especially someone who has not proven they have your best interest at heart.
- Laugh alone. Loving yourself is being your own friend and knowing that you may feel that you are your only friend at times. Enjoy your time with others, but cherish time to simply enjoy you. You don’t need to constantly be surrounded by others to be happy, fulfilled or validated. Sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs. Dance in the mirror. Remember the funniest jokes. Learn to appreciate the fact that sound of your own laughter is your heart’s best medicine.
- Look up, look forward. Never look down and don’t turn back. Loving yourself is believing that you can move forward from anything and actually doing it. Sometimes it will be a crawl, sometimes you will walk, and sometimes you will run. “Better” is not always about or material things. “Better” can be peace of mind or simply working toward the smallest goal. Forward.
This list is not exhaustive and I’m sure that many could add their own powerful life’s lessons, but the goal is to highlight the importance of actually having the conversation and getting it started.
I’m Joslyn Jackson. I have so many kids that I have to stop and take a headcount sometimes. This is my blog. That guy is my husband and he runs the circus. I am also a lawyer who loves to write about the absolute insanity that is my life. I started this blog to embarrass my children. That is my number one goal. If you are entertained in the meantime…great.
Today, my goal is to highlight the importance of actually having the conversation and getting it started.
If I have typos….remember I said I’m not perfect.
That’s it! Love, Peace and Souuuuuuuuuuullllllll!