WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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Loving Yourself

Your favorite guest blogger, Louise Gray Leonard, returns.  Reading what she’s written here was a little challenging for me.  With my admittedly biased eyes, I see a ridiculously tall, gorgeous girl who has this great big world ready for her taking.  But that’s not how she always sees herself and her writing here reminded me of that.  I can’t save her from the hurts accompanying our human condition, nor can I tell her she’s done with the task of figuring out how to love herself.  She’ll have to do that again and again.  My hope is this introductory go at loving who she is makes the subsequent ones she’s sure to face a bit easier.

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Can I say something?  I think you're beautiful. To whoever is reading this, you are worthy and important, whether you believe it or not. We need you.  You are one of the many rays of sun we need to light up the world.

I hope you realize this.  If you don’t, I’m telling you it's true. Maybe you're rolling your eyes thinking this is just another post about loving yourself.  That's exactly what this is.  I’m telling you what I had to tell myself, and I’m hoping you get the message faster than I did.

About a year ago, I was terrified to wear something bold to school.  I tried not to show my teeth in pictures because they’re kind of crooked.  I believed I was made of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

Then one day I realized if these thoughts were in my head, other thoughts could be in there, too. If I could see my flaws so clearly, maybe I could see my gifts, too.  Opening up to this possibility let something new come in.  It wasn’t pure self-love, but it was at least the motivation to develop it.

From then on, I challenged myself to think of one thing I liked about myself each day. I started with things I did – like saying hello to the kid no one talks to at school or picking up litter someone left behind.  Somedays I didn’t really believe the complements I told myself, but I said them anyway.

Then, one morning I told myself I was beautiful and kind and full of gifts to give. I’d said some of these phrases before, but this time when I said them, it felt different.

The feeling was happy and loving and real.  I wasn’t just saying an empty phrase until something better came along.  Suddenly, I wasn't just made of flaws.  I was made of love, and you are, too.  You are full of gifts to give.  So, you were right.  This is another piece about loving yourself.  Now get to it.

  

Whitney Cain