Don’t forget to love yourself. – Soren Kierkegaard
The sound of the chirping crickets digitally programmed into my iPhone wakes me daily at 5:45 a.m.
It’s a tough time to like anything or to chirp a reply to my alarm, but lately I’ve been working on a new muscle. I’m calling it the GOOD morning muscle.
The job of my GOOD morning muscle is to immediately HUSH the cranky chatter that can so easily pop into my head. It says, ‘Good morning Jody, I love you. Thank you bed. Hello day.’
I’m noticing as I give this muscle practice daily it is becoming stronger and is even now the one to wake me and send me on my way.
The Lion’s Waking Growl
What a difference it makes to how my morning can unfold. A grouchy old lion roaring with discomfort can get a day started; but doesn’t quite give it the right recipe of hope, possibility and opportunities for success.
The pile of emails and social media notifications waiting to be seen becomes a task of annoyance and all the jobs to accomplish are each read with a crotchety tone grating on my nerves as first decided with the lion’s waking growl.
My GOOD morning muscle though quickly hushes the lion and says ‘Wait please, we’ve got this.’ And I test the joints of my aging body with a deep breath of morning air, and shuffle to the bathroom mirror where today’s first yet simple action awaits.
With a soft gaze, both by choice and because last night’s sleep is still hazing my vision, keeping the lights dimmed low, I will look at my bed ridden reflection beyond the new lines that are etching their way into my face, my hair that is tousled in the not so sexy way, the bags under my eyes (usually a sign of my liver doing its best to process the choices I made the day before), and I will smile.
Deserved to be Loved
The woman who is looking back at me smiles in return and I say to her, ‘Good morning Jody, I love you.’
When I started this morning practice, a voice would pop into my head and laugh at me with a tight guffaw.
‘You’re talking to yourself in the mirror. Who do you think you are to love yourself? How egotistical of you.’
And the negotiating would begin.
‘It’s not ego. This isn’t saying ‘I’m better than everybody else, I’m so awesome, look at me, and I’m the best.’
This is saying I love you Jody. Because I deserve to be loved.
I am allowed to love myself because it will make me a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, person, and a better me. I will have more to give to those in my life and beyond my life if I have more love to give to myself.
My well will be rich with love so that I may smile more and give more and be more, not only for myself but for others. You can’t give what you haven’t got.’
‘Ya, ya,’ the voice would reply, ‘you’re still talking silliness to yourself in the mirror… but whatever, what harm can it do?’
And so it would go and it continued on this way for quite some time.
Three Simple Words
Eventually the negotiating was quieted, stilled even, and I could say ‘I love you Jody’ with no problem.
Sure I’m a confident woman and even when I’m not, I still step up to the plate to face my fears and be the best I can. Imagine my surprise when already I was feeling quite calm and cool about the morning conversations with my reflection, when all of a sudden I heard it.
I heard myself say I love you to me. I didn’t just hear the words, I heard the words. Truly heard them. I felt as though somebody I trusted had stopped what they were doing to say those three simple words: I. Love. You.
I didn’t realize there was something beyond saying it, but of course there was. I had yet to listen, I had yet to HEAR it.
It hurt a bit. There was some shock and again, some hurt. It seems there are some cracks and fissures in my heart that have piled up over time which sit comfortably in the dark quite content with no need for attention. But this shone some light into the area.
A gentle blast of light into a trusted place of painful comfort. Of course it hurt a bit.
For the next run of days intrigued by the discomfort I continued on.
I’ve spent so many years having justified, processed and come to terms with so many of the hurts of my living that I didn’t realize that there was a possibility of healing beyond ‘coming to terms’. An acceptance and mending leading to new trust and faith in others and myself. Knowing that if others let me down, I am still there to catch my own heart and that I will be okay.
That I AM okay.
And then finally one morning upon hearing those simple words, I smiled. Truly smiled. I felt a little giddy even. ‘I love you Jody.’
‘I love you too.’ I replied.
So many aspects of my life are changing just from this little repeated daily action. When I walk into a room of strangers, or onto a playground of fellow parents, I’m okay.
Anxiety attacks from just a few years ago don’t even whisper a threat.
When I email my music to somebody in a position of power or play my piano and rehearse while my husband sits nearby and plays video games, the voice that would say, ‘You’re not good enough, don’t be daft,’,or ‘Don’t interrupt the silence with your sound because you’ll just annoy people’, well that voice barely creeps up these days and when it does my GOOD morning muscle is there to quickly turn into a GOOD day muscle or a GOOD moment muscle and say ‘I love you Jody, you can do this. You can do anything your heart desires. You’ve got this. I love you.’
5:45 a.m. is still early for this lioness but these days my GOOD morning muscle is the one to wake me with a kiss and a smile. ‘Good morning Jody, I love you, thank you bed, thank you sleep, let’s go take a look at who we wish to be today and give her some love. It’s going to be a GOOD day.’
Please give yourself a 30-day challenge of looking in the mirror first every morning and saying, “I Love You.”
Notice the changes in your everyday life and how each day gets going.
Keep in mind that any light in dark spaces will be uncomfortable at first but you are so worth it. You are loving and you are loveable.