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Loving our imperfections

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When I’m dissatisfied with someone, I can usually trace the feeling to a dissatisfaction with myself.

So, if I could truly love myself, would I more easily love those around me?

I’m critical. Don’t know if I get it from my dad or if I’m hard-wired for it. My dad always wants to make things better — a good trait. But here’s what would happen when I showed him a school project or essay: he’d look at, tell me it was wonderful, and then talk about ways to improve it.

And, at the same time, he’s always been my biggest cheerleader.

My mom, on the other hand, is a supermodel for loving unconditionally. She always acts as if my sisters and I are three of the seven wonders of the world — exactly as we are — in whatever we are doing. Even though she doesn’t give advice, we always find answers to problems when we bring them to her. She just gives the space and confidence to solve our own problems, which we are then empowered to do.

I am fortunate to have had both styles of parental love. But my own style favors my dad’s. As a Critic, self-love has been difficult for me.

Self-love is not encouraged in our culture because we confuse it with self-indulgence. But I believe that unconditional self-love is the foundation for other-love. So what better contribution to humanity can I make than to love myself? Wholly, unconditionally. In this way I will emanate love from my being. I love two people, and they love two people, and they love two people…and so on…

  • I love my hair — even the unruly wave.
  • I love my green eyes, nearsightedness and all.
  • I love my skin, the way it protects me and heals.
  • I love my mouth, the way it experiences and expresses.
  • I love my arms, that embrace my family often, and which amaze me with their strength.
  • I love my breasts. They are just right for me.
  • I love my stomach. I like the freckles on it, and the way the organs inside nourish me.
  • I love my heart. It loves and provides flow for the rest of me.
  • I love my lungs. With them I bring in spirit that joins us all, and release all that no longer serves me.
  • I love my butt. (This is admittedly hard to type.)
  • I love my legs. The support me and move me forward.
  • I love my feet. To the teasers in 5th grade, I say they are NOT too small.
  • I love my height and weight. (Breathe.)
  • I love myself.

During this holiday season, I invite you to love in concentric circles, starting with yourself and emanating outwards.

What do you unconditionally love about yourself?

Lori Holden
Author: Lori Holden

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson December 23, 2009

    Lori,

    This is beautiful! So rarely do we focus on what we love about ourselves. It’s much easier to find room for improvement.

    I love my health and vitality for life.

    I love my hair. Even after a week of backpacking without washing it, it always looks the same. πŸ™‚

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver December 23, 2009

    Amber, I agree. You DO have fantastic hair.

    You just named another reason why I don’t go backpacking for a week at a time.

    I would add in your inviting smile, too πŸ™‚

  • comment avatar Tami December 23, 2009

    What a beautiful article on an important concept. Loving oneself. Unconditionally.

    I would guess that this process can be as healing and nurturing as making a gratitude list.

    I’m doing both now. Thanks for the moment to pause during this busy season and do something so important.

    PS – Amber and Lori, I love your writing!

    Tami

  • comment avatar JoAnn December 23, 2009

    This is a great post, Lori!

    I love the fact that I was able to lose 40 lbs and keep it off…twice. (before and after having a child).

    I love my perfectionism, although I temper it with casualness as best I can.

    I love my ability to not only figure out the answers but also figure out the questions. (With preschoolers and spouses, you’d be surprised at which is harder to do.)

    I love my choice in friends…real or imaginary or both. πŸ˜‰

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver December 23, 2009

    Awww, Tami. You obviously have a kind heart. And, I bet, rock-hard abs. πŸ™‚

    JoAnn — that’s a lot to love! The 40lbs part (wow!) as well as the imaginary friends part ;-).