bonita blog images selflove

Loving you, the stranger in the mirror

This may be an unusual statement, however, who do you “see” in the mirror first thing every morning?

In between brushing those furry teeth, catching snippets of the moment’s news, stealing a glance at the ever-important social media updates, all while yelling at the family to get ready, remembering gym bags, lunch boxes & taking those gummy bear vitamins.

When last did you “see” the pre-painted, or pre-shaved human staring back at you? The one with an almost overnight sprinkle of grey, deep-set eyes, alive with a fire you seldom notice & a spluttering of sneaky wrinkles lined with memories from a time gone by.

Think about this

How much time did you spend learning about yourself at school? Not just your biology 🙂.

At university?

At work?

At church? Not just the “born in sin” bit 😂.

How much time did your parents, teachers, or any other adults spend teaching you about you?

In fact, were you ever introduced to you?

Important questions seldom asked.

Marcus Buckingham asks some similar questions in his recent book called Love + Work. In the book he explores the importance of loving what you do &, of course, the importance of discovering what you love to do. All of which require you to know yourself at far more than a mere surface level.

It was while reading his book that I started thinking about how well we in fact know ourselves. I know that it is almost impossible to genuinely love someone or something which you know very little about. I found myself wondering whether it was partly this lack of genuine self-knowledge which may be contributing to the growing lack of self-love our world is rampant with these days.

Have you noticed how few people truly love who they are? In fact how many actually like themselves? Not what they have, or the title, or what they pretend to be, or what they think people like about them. No, genuine self-love which includes making peace with all the nasty, not-so-pretty bits, AND celebrating the incredible, amazing, & astonishing aspects that all make up YOU.

One does not need to look very far to be bombarded with stats on the growing rates of anxiety, depression & suicide. People of all ages are so quick to point out their flaws & shortcomings, yet slow to notice their potential, their gifts & their uniqueness.

How well do you really know YOU? This you, today’s you, the one currently looking back at you in the mirror? Not the 12-year-old, 25-year-old, 35-year-old you, or fake social media you.

Love = time + attention

How do you know what someone loves?

Watch what they do with their time.

Notice where their attention goes.

If time is equated to love, how much love do you get?

Is the you you love (merely the idea of you that is loved), while the real you is hidden, masked & kept far away from any watching eyes?

How much time do you spend diving into the extraordinary gift of you?

No, therapy does not count 🙂. It matters, however it often focuses on what’s wrong & how to fix what’s wrong. As humans, the one thing we have certainly mastered is the “what’s wrong with us?” approach. Therapy can augment, however, it cannot replace the all-important “YOU with YOU” time. Time spent getting to know & appreciating all that is right with you.

Have you noticed YOU lately?

The way you love your children or your spouse? Offering your customers the very best of you, giving guidance & advice. Bringing all of you when you walk into that operating theatre, preparing that meal, or answering the company phone with precision & a smile in your voice.

You are quite spectacular. Yet I am not certain that you quite see it. If you did, your love would know no limits & I am not talking about the vain, ego-based, self-centred love that is splashed all over social media.

Most people go a lifetime not seeing just how amazing they are; not noticing the potential residing inside them, that something which is uniquely theirs.

Love requires detail

Look, I don’t believe it’s entirely your fault 🙂. The idea of sitting around and not “doing” anything has always been labelled as laziness. From the day you were born you were tasked with “doing” things & very few people focused on what makes you unique. Most of the time you were encouraged to “fit in”, irrespective of how much of you had to be surrendered. Those surrendered parts are possibly your greatest gift to the world & since you hid them away so long ago, how much can you know about them today?

You were never taught to spend time with you, getting to know the shape & colour of you for even a few hours. No, before you could blink you were tasked to get to know all those things out there. Colours of things, names of people, manners, how to behave in public etc, etc, etc.

Were you ever assisted in building a loving relationship with you? Encouraged to be curious about what makes you different, and unique?

I am guessing that you are right there next to me pumping fists quite angrily, shouting out NO! Perhaps, like me, you are wondering why the hell not.

No, that once a year, 20 minutes on the beach in December does not cut it. Love requires detail, it lives in the detail, and it grows & thrives in the detail. So don’t fool yourself with a flippant, high-level, “you are doing ok most of the time, well at least you are not in jail & so I love you” nonsense. That’s not love. It’s an insult to the miracle that is you, the you which deserves so much more of your attention, time & love.

If people would spend half the time they spend fixated on what’s wrong with them, on what is amazing about them, lives would change faster than any amount of medication could ever achieve on its own.

STOP worrying, for just a moment, about what other people think, or what they want from you & START considering what you think, what you want from YOU.

You deserve YOUR love.

Imperfect is NOT inadequate, you do not need to wait until you, or things are perfect before you offer yourself that LOVE you so richly deserve.

Loving yourself, warts & all is the ultimate act of courage because you are not your circumstances, you are not your past. Forgive yourself & give yourself the love you so deserve. Just ask that person in the mirror.

You deserve to get to know YOU.

The world needs people who love who they are rather than a whole bunch of “me too” humans running around comparing themselves to people on social media, people they don’t know from Adam & who could care less.

It’s people who are alive with genuine love for themselves & what they have to offer the world that we are in desperate need of 🙂.

It may just be what you are in need of because once you realize how remarkable you are, it will be incredibly difficult not to love YOU.

When last did you write yourself a “love note”?

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