I was born in June 1964. I was an unexpected child. My mom was a thirty-three year old entrepreneur and divorced single mom of a ten year old girl. My dad was thirty-nine and separated from his wife and burdened with guilt for failing their eleven year old daughter. My mom had been cautioned due to complications during childbirth not to have anymore children. I was a reward in their challenging lives; a chance for a fresh start. I was treasured and coddled and was reported to be a happy baby. I vow as a grown up to embody that fleeting babyhood state of unabashed self-love and come full circle once again.
After my birth and our move to the Bahamas, when I was a toddler, my sister experienced the tumultuous times of the mid sixties and happily married and moved away at seventeen. For all intents and purposes I became an only child and cherished even more dearly.
Perhaps it was the times or simply that the people in our lives lived old fashioned beliefs but I was called spoiled and selfish constantly and came to think of myself in this negative way. I became a people pleaser and strove to make others happy. Period. These labels molded who I became because I never questioned them. Any activity or focus on me was unacceptable I never wanted attention and withdrew into books and writing at a tender age. I was deeply loved—though slightly misunderstood.
Despite this disconnect I truly had an idyllic childhood and share this background about how I never grew to love myself as a peek into my soul and future transformation. I struggled in my adult life with the feeling that ‘something was missing’ I had a loving family, a home, a successful career, bills I could afford, vacations I loved, hobbies, friends. Yet, I felt incomplete or unfulfilled. I loved and was loved but it wasn’t enough. What I didn’t see was that I had closed myself off to experiencing love because I didn’t feel it for myself.
Through facing my worst fears I eventually discovered how to live authentically and embrace myself in my thirties. I opened my heart and soul and the Universe rushed in with possibility, opportunity, synchronicity, and joy. This journey of living my best self was a decade long process until I really ‘got’ what Nat King Cole sings about in Nature Boy: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved In return“. And that because I was perfect, whole, and complete this love absolutely included self-love as the number one love in my life.
When I turned forty I celebrated myself completely for the first time—I loved who I was, my life, the people in my life, and what I was creating in my life. It was empowering. Loving myself enabled me to shed my safety net of fifty pounds two years ago and has been a catalyst to celebrate my physical self in entirely new ways. Feeling good about me was a prerequisite for inhabiting a body that looks good to me.
These two definitions of celebrate at dictionary.com resonate with me the most:
- to praise widely
- to have an uninhibited good time
I’m imagining the possibilities for praising myself uninhibitedly all month long from small acts of gratitude for being able to move my body in ways I couldn’t prior to my weight loss—this could lead to impromptu bouts of dancing in a grocery store aisle! Or simply thanking my wise-self for being the clear ringing voice and drowning out my inner critic at moments of self-doubt or indecisiveness. Celebrating may take the form of prayer or party and can be spontaneous or extravagantly planned. I’m open to it all and look forward to sharing my unique experiences at the end of the month.
My birthday wish dear reader is to hear how you celebrate yourself; for your birthday or everyday and what it took for you to get there—how you hug yourself from the inside out or outside in?
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” ~Oscar Wilde