Important questions that I’m glad you asked, and for now, this is my best answer:
You were born to be you.
You are not supposed to look like your sister, like me, or like any of your classmates.
You might notice similarities, and that’s fine, but you are completely unique. You are important to this world, you are supposed to be here, and the design of your body is part of the greater plan of who you are – it should be no other way.
You may hear that you are supposed to look like this or that, or you may notice magazines or billboards that reflect a certain image, but they aren’t real. They are people, just like you, who have been made up, dressed up, and air brushed. This isn’t reality, it’s their work.
It’s great to have a healthy body and feel good about how you look, but self love is not about falling in love with your appearance. It’s about knowing your insides – your bliss, your gifts, your ability to share and experience joy.
Self love will hold you up in every aspect of your life because people will treat you as you treat yourself. When you love yourself you won’t allow others to take advantage of you. And if someone intentionally decides to hurt you, you will find support and begin the process of healing so you can forgive. Not to condone the behavior, but so you don’t carry around somebody else’s pain.
Taking care of yourself is your most important job – it’s the only way you will have energy to take care of others. So don’t waste time disliking yourself, spend time noticing your beauty instead. If you do, you will notice that everybody is beautiful, and you will be surrounded by people and experiences that reflect this understanding.
I see you when you are happily lost in yourself; when you are laughing, singing, playing, and twirling. You shine so brightly I get tears in my eyes. I feel your joy in being who you are, and I know that will always live inside you.
But at certain times you will forget, because unfortunately, we all do.
So your job is to have faith in that place, to remember that it’s not outside, it’s not in another person, it’s not in your clothes, it’s not in a job, and it’s not in a grade or an award.
It’s only in you.
And only you can celebrate the outside and inside of being you; so make it a celebration to remember.
And when you forget, please come back and ask. I am here to remind you.
Cathy Cassani Adams, LCSW, CPC, is the author of The Self-Aware Parent, the host of Zen Parenting Radio, a columnist for Chicago Parent Magazine, and a blogger for Chicago Now. She’s a self awareness teacher and yoga instructor in her community, and she teaches in the Sociology Department at Dominican University. Find Cathy on Facebook (The Self-Aware Parent or Zen Parenting Radio) and on Twitter (@selfawareparent or @zenparenting) and on her website www.cathycadams.com