|Photo by Dominique Allen
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I was reared in a loving but fairly strict Christian home. Humility and its benefits were praised. My mother’s firm voice honed from years as an educator linger with me at times. “Do not say you are pretty, people will notice. Do not say you are smart, let others.” Somewhere along my own path, I internalized those messages, and processed them in a way that silenced my spirit. I heard the phrase, “never or rarely talk about your own virtues.”
How often do we hear the words self love, but how many of us are aware of its myriad complexities? Of course self love is not bound solely by words, but our words wield immense power. In Louise Hay’s classic work, You Can Heal Your Life, she discusses the importance of affirmations and exercises such as looking in the mirror and professing self love; cautioning us that it will feel strange initially. Still, we must begin and continue the work. Well, I did it once or twice and stopped. It felt narcissistic. Besides, I could hear my mother’s cautionary words against conceit and pride.
Perhaps I’ll begin these affirmations again, head raised high, only my voice this time, imbued with the courage and determination to love me.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139: 14
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