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Remember Mad Libs? Mad Libs are funny because they taught me more about the English language than a great deal of my teachers. I learned what a Noun was, a Verb, an Adjective... Don't even try to lie and say you never sat there playing Mad Libs and threw out some random dirty word to make the story totally inappropriate. You know you did! (Or, you know... I just made a super embarrassing confession on the world wide web... What else is new?)

I had such a hard time remembering what was what with that game. Just about every time I played I had to sneak a peak at the back because I couldn't remember which was "a person, place or thing," and which was "an action word." 

Words are hard.

As I mentioned in my previous post- I read a lot. One recurring theme I keep seeing is the concept that "you have to love yourself." And I have to admit: I'm baffled by this. I guess I always have been. There seems, to me, to be a fine line between being confident and being arrogant- and I don't know where that is. I've given it a lot of thought for the past, well, lifetime. And I think that today- I may have finally figured it out.

Let's Mad Libs it, shall we? ______ is an action word. Fill in that blank: Love is an action word. 

I think most people understand this concept. To love someone else... it doesn't always come easily. Sometimes you have to CHOOSE to love somebody, even when you don't. I read an article once that said that the initial "honeymoon phase" of a relationship isn't actually even love, because it's not a choice. It isn't until you get through the easy-breezy-butterflies part of a relationship that you get into the part where you are aware of the flaws in the person, but choose to remain with them anyway. You have the free will to leave, but choose to stay. I like that concept. In choosing to love somebody, you're turning love from "a feeling" into an action word. Falling in love is easy. Involuntary. Everything after that is conscious and therefore: a verb.

And it occurred to me: why wouldn't this apply to myself/ourselves? It's not easy, some days, to love myself. This morning- I woke up with a total pimple. I'm practically 30. What is this pimple business?? Some days I get it all wrong. Lets be honest here for a second: LOTS of days I get it all wrong. 


Love is an action word. And action involves follow-through. If I want to love me, I need to create the version of me that I love most. So this means- putting on pimple cream. And figuring out where I've made errors and then correcting them. It means looking at myself and saying, "That parts sucks- I'm going to fix it." And then DOING THAT. It means putting as much effort into myself as I put into other people. Winning my OWN approval, finally. It means listening to my own advice- because my advice is pretty good. It means treating myself the way I'd treat a partner (or at least like to think I do): with forgiveness and empathy at the imperfections. If I'm having a rough day, it means saying, "You're not perfect, but you're trying," and then doing better tomorrow. 

I think people think that love is supposed to be this thing where it's supposed to be SO easy. "It's supposed to just happen! And there will be butterflies and rainbows and everybody gets a puppy!" And it's not, and that's life. But this applies to you, too. It's not initially easy, some days. But you put in the work, and you become the person worth loving. 

Loving yourself isn't about going around telling people how great you are. Love is not boastful. Love is patient, love is kind... The Big C portion of The Big B book got it right. There is no reason to brag, and no reason to be impatient with yourself, or cruel. Give yourself the effort, the forgiveness, and the courtesy of just doing better- every day. 

Make loving yourself an action word.


Jamie said...

Very insightful and very true! I love this post. Brilliant.

Shawna Faye said...

Good post. I agree with you that loving yourself is a delicate balance between fixing what you know needs to be fixed and forgiving our own imperfections.