I was changing the sheets on my bed when that thought popped into my head. It was one of those times when I talk to myself without realizing it - do you do that too? Sometimes the voice I talk to myself with sounds like a strict school teacher. Do your homework. Eat your vegetables.
Lately I'm happy to report that she has softened into an encouraging older sister. Look at you, jogging up that steep hill. You're doing it!
She was the one I heard as I mindlessly shook a pillow into a pillowcase, watching a garbage truck pull up at the neighbor's house, and enjoying the cool morning breeze through my bedroom window.
No one else's life is perfect either.
Because it was her voice that I heard, I considered it for a minute, like you would an older sister who doesn't normally steer you wrong.
She was right, I decided, and as proof I recalled a conversation from the night before. A new friend was telling me about her ex-husband and co-parent to her cats who just met her new boyfriend, and everyone got along fine. She laughed while telling the story, and then continued talking about something else. No pause. No sheepish checking to see what I thought since we didn't know each other well and I might judge how she lives her life -- what I have caught myself worrying about on a number of occasions.
She was fine, because her life works for her. (And because her life is totally fine!)
Exactly, I thought while pulling the pesky last corner of the fitted sheet over the edge of the bed. I could just be okay with my life the way it is.
I could just be okay living with my dad. Did you know that I live with my dad? I haven't mentioned it much, or shrug it off when I do, or bury it in a story about gardening so that it might go unnoticed. I haven't even unpacked much in two years in order to convince myself and others that I'm on my way somewhere else. I do live with him, and I'm not moving anytime soon. I also don't tell people where I live. Hyde Park. When someone asks, I say Rhinebeck, and my reasoning is because it's more well-known of the small towns in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York. It's also prettier and wealthier, and "acceptable" by the standards set years ago by my 17 year-old self, the age when I probably started this untruth. The real reason is because if you know Hyde Park it's working class and dingy around the edges. Instead of the quintessential Main Street, we have the Stewart's mart. There are beautiful spots (like the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion where I often walk), but I'm afraid that I'll be judged before I get to explain those.
I held my breath while writing that last paragraph so that I could get it all out at once. Though rereading it, it's like I barely said anything. Big Whoop. But it doesn't feel that way when I think I need to be perfect, or else be judged by the people who I want to respect and love me.
Here's betting you are, too, and that more of us need to hear the pep talk from the fake big sister in my head.
No one else's life is perfect either.
Which leads me to today. Friday.
#LoveFestFriday continues, because there should be more love in our lives every day, and the sound of these words strung together still makes me smile. If I get to talk nonstop about love on Fridays then that's one more reason it's the best day of the week.
This #LoveFestFriday is for self-love.
It's all well and good to share love generously as much as possible (please do), but your reserve will be seriously depleted if none of it comes your way...from yourself.
Consider this quote from Brene Brown:
[box] "Love is...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." [/box]
Today I want you to love yourself. However that looks, the biggest way you can.
- Remake the voice in your head to be softer, gentler
- Take a bubble bath
- Do what you want to do instead of what you think you should do
- Acknowledge your own effort, like my fake big sister. Look at you!
- Play, nap, jump on an unmade bed
- Wrap your arms around yourself for a full minute. Self-hug!
If you need help, I'm here for a pep talk!
If the voice in your head still sounds more strict than kind, and you need someone else to remind you how much you're already doing, how special you are, and how things will work out even if you don't know how just yet, call me for a pep talk.
(By the way, this artwork is by my talented friend, Rachel Roellke-Smith. It's called Pep Talk!)
New on my website is an online scheduler for free coaching consultations to talk through what you dream of doing with your life, and to see if we're a good fit to make that dream come true. I'm also offering individual coaching sessions for a limited time, the price of which can be applied toward a coaching package if you decide to keep working together.
And for #LoveFestFriday, I'm offering pep talks. Schedule one for free. 20 minutes. Fridays only. With love from me to you.
Just make sure you're loving yourself today, okay?
You deserve it.