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Loving our imperfections

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…