Self Love…A Lesson from my 2-year-old

My 2-year-old, Gretta, was my teacher this week.   I had just put her in a cute dress and colorful hair bow.  She immediately ran to the full-length mirror, and squeals of delight and joy abounded as she admired her reflection.  She was so authentically happy to bask in the beauty of herself, that she proceeded to hug the mirror and kiss herself three times.

After her display of utter self-love, it made me question…..where does this go for adults?  We start out like Gretta…pure amazement and delight about ourselves, but somewhere along the line, we forget this powerful feeling. 

According to Pantanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga, the foundation of the practice is the Yamas and Niyamas, or the restraints and observances that are the foundation for a well-lived and joyful life. The first of these 10 ethical guidelines is Ahimsa, or nonviolence.  Love lies at the core of nonviolence and begins with love of self.  Not ego-centric, narcissistic love, but love that is accepting, nonjudgmental, forgiving, lenient.

The lesson here is that we don’t have to “fix” ourselves.  This vantage point keeps us trapped in self-loathing.  We are not broken humans. What if we moved through the world remembering we are complete?  No need to change, or criticize, or judge, or compete, or be more (or less) than who we are.  This is about seeing, honoring, and embracing the magnificence that we are. Go look in a mirror and be utterly amazed at what you see.  You are a miracle.

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“Acceptance of one’s self is the essence of the moral problem and the acid test of one’s whole outlook on life.”  -Carl Jung