Why loving myself might be the best gift I can give my daughter
We were standing in the bathroom, preparing to brush her teeth when my four-year-old. Mary, dazzled me with her wisdom. She was talking about the koala baby she adores and who has been her constant companion since she opened her on Christmas morning. (Thanks Aunt Kim and Uncle Akash). "Know why I take good care of my baby?" she asked. "Because I love her SO much!" Simple, to the point, and said with such conviction. (She then went on to ask how she could give her a bath. I am still mulling over that as there is a battery compartment that is permanently attached to koala baby.)
I stood there for a few minutes thinking about my daughter's love lesson. It didn't take long to see that it applies to all kinds of love In fact, the theory was proven correct as I wrote this blog post. My 7-year-old son, William, came running up to me saying his neck hurt. I dropped everything to get him some children's Advil and a heating pad. We take care of those we love. Why should we feel guilty taking care of ourselves?
The author and researcher, Dr. Brene Brown, talks about this same issue in her book "The Gifts of Imperfection." She says that we live in a culture where it is frowned upon to love yourself. Yet, from her research on love and vulnerability, Dr. Brown found that "we cannot give our children what we don't have." In her book, she urges her readers to be compassionate with themselves and to practice self love and acceptance. By having the courage to be authentic and vulnerable, and accept all the parts of ourselves, we can open the door to true love and connection.
By loving ourselves, we are then able to love. In the words, of Dr. Brown, "Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves." Sounds like a really compelling reason to work on loving myself. Let me know your thoughts and comments. I'd love to hear from you.