"The privilege of a lifetime is to be yourself."
~ Joseph Campbell
A big pot of chicken soup is simmering on the stove. From where I sit across the room I can hear the little bubbles playing on the surface and the aroma is making my stomach growl.
I made it for myself, because I'm sick. I don't cook often these days, and when I do, it's usually to whip up some favorite of one of my kids or my husband, although he's gotten quite good at cooking whatever he wants himself.
You see, there are tons of other things I'd rather do with my time besides cook. That's just me, the way I am, and I'm okay with it. Thank goodness my husband is, too.
I thought about this as I chopped up vegetables for the soup earlier, because BlogHer's latest question for their Life Well Lived Getting Happy series is: How do you practice self-acceptance and find unconditional love for yourself? (Part 2 of the question is: How does practicing love first help you attract more love and happiness in your life?)
Well, not cooking if I don't feel like it is one way I practice self-acceptance.
I spent years trying on cooking and crafting and gardening and sewing, and while I enjoyed each one to a certain extent, none of them fit me exactly right.
Today I'm cooking because I care about myself. I want to get well.
It took years to shed the 'Mommy-Martyr' mentality that made me think everyone else's needs were more important than my own. It's still a trick mirror though... one big incentive to take care of myself is so I can take care of those I love who depend on me. To be healthy if they need me or to just set a good example.
When I eat right, when I run, when I make sure I get enough sleep or play my drums or take time to read or write or take photos or laugh with friends or go dancing with my husband... it's for them as much as it is for myself.
Turning 50 was a huge turning point in my self-attitude, like standing before a mirror, evaluating where I'd been, where I still wanted to go and whether or not I was heading in the right direction to get there. Trying to figure out what fit and what should be tossed. I was able to recognize and appreciate the strengths that got me this far, as well as the quirks that make me unique.
Love your neighbor as yourself. ~ Mark 12:31
I forgave myself mistakes made along the way, accepted myself as human, flaws and all, and by doing so, discovered how easy it is to do the same for other people. The key to loving your imperfect neighbor "as yourself" is first loving your imperfect self.
How do you start? Ponder this...
Where there is no love, put love and there will be love.
~ St. John of the Cross
So how do you practice self-acceptance and find unconditional love for yourself?
And how does practicing love first help you attract more love and happiness in your life?