have been talking with some of my buddies lately about us all becoming the best “me” we can be. It’s a journey, and if we do it well it is probably a lifelong one. In the course of assessing and planning, I have vowed one thing for myself. I’m not going to wait until the best me arrives….even today, I am going to love me.
In many ways we live in a mean and shallow world. Spend five minutes on Facebook and you will see someone being vilified. It turns my stomach. I listen to the reasons people hate and it astounds me. It can be something as shallow as how someone dresses or what team they cheer for or how much money they have or the country they were born in or a dumb thing they did one day when exhausted and at the end of their rope.
We look at advertising and the photo-shopped images that we’re supposed to aspire to be. I have long been a skeptic of such things and my ideas of beauty and ideals are very different than those they hold up to me. The cool, the aloof, the perfect….those usually are not the people who really interest me (though they can make for some really great photographs). They are not usually what I aspire to be. The warm, the approachable, and those with slight (or even dramatic) flaws draw my eye….those are the images, and the people, that most fascinate me. I’d rather meet those with eyes of passion, of kindness, of mischief, or of excitement than those who are bored or vacant or burned out by life.
I won’t ever be an advertiser’s dream. I won’t ever look like a fashion model. Life in general will never be effortless for me or make me look graceful or perfect. That’s OK with me, because those are not big dreams for me. My goals are more on the level of wearing clothes right side out and not forgetting to put mascara on both eyes, and loving people more and better.
Which includes me. I want to view myself as I view the others I love. Not with a lot of illusions, but also with a lot of grace. With a lot of forgiveness. Even if sometimes that doesn’t quite come naturally. Often those we love are the people whose faults we are most irritated by. It’s a moment by moment exercise to move beyond that and instead celebrate the whole of who they are and try to keep the imperfections in perspective. I find the irritations fade when I consider the whole person, though. When I remember why I love them in the first place. Their commitment to me, their acts of kindness, the times of laughter, the shared struggles. When I think of them I smile….and I can’t help but celebrate this wonderful masterpiece God created. It’s a bit harder to think of myself that way. Maybe it shouldn’t be.
I have found if you love yourself, the opinions that barrage you and the unrealistic images don’t really matter. You find that often people just aren’t as good of judges of character or people as they think they are. You are the expert of you. You know your heart, you know your intent. You know when they don’t match your actions, and when you need to make adjustments to be the you that meets your mission statement. You know those little victories you score, and how very hard you work to learn and grow and keep life full and vibrant. You know the struggles you have endured, the struggles you still endure, but you also know how you have powered through. Someone can be an expert in human nature, but their assessment of you could still be incorrect.
So on this last day of love month, on this special leap day….let’s all take that big jump and think of ourselves as God’s great creations. As slightly flawed, but still perfect. As vital and vibrant and special enough that God thought the world needed someone just like us. I love these verses….
“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.” Jeremiah 31:3-4 King James Version (KJV)
If we are drawn with lovingkindness, why don’t we see that when we look in the mirror? And why don’t we grab those tambourines (tabrets) and celebrate this great masterpiece of the creator? Why don’t we love us? Will you love you, if I love me?