My five year old son wants to marry me ... he has told me many times.  He thinks I'm perfect.  He loves my hair when it's crazy curly before I've had the chance to "fix it"... he notices any time I wear something new and always tells me I look beautiful ... he likes to hold my hand and sit close to me on the couch.  He loves me.  He runs to get me a tissue when I cry at sappy movies ... he thinks I'm the prettiest singer ... I give the best hugs ... I am funny and the nicest Mommy ever.  He doesn't judge me on days when my autoimmune diseases leave me full of inflammation and mind-numbing fatigue.  He says I am the best cook in the world and nobody else makes poached eggs on toast the right way but me.  True love.

Everything I need to know about my own self-worth I should learn from my Kindergartner.

Is self-esteem something you are supposed to learn from osmosis when you meet someone with it?  Breathe deeply and it will become a part of you too?  Is it supposed to grow from experiences when you can look back and say, "wow, I really like me"?  I guess I missed that day in school where the teacher passed out the folders full of self esteem.

I contracted a wicked case of "people-pleaser-itis" when I was very young - and it stuck around.  I'm the girl that would bend over backwards to make sure you were happy.  I taught myself to be super watchful and to anticipate the needs of others.  I jump at the chance to say something nice to someone who seems to be having a down day.  I am the chick in the checkout line that will let anyone go ahead of me - always.  Now this doesn't sound bad - right?  It's part of the niceties that make checkout lines quicker and the world a kinder and more friendly place.

But when you wrap your whole self up in the fact that you're the nice girl and the queen of compromise - it's not a big leap to becoming the champion doormat.  Anyone can walk all over you if you are too "nice" to say "I'm worth more than that".  Not everyone is out to break you down or hurt you ... but knowing who you are and what you believe in is vital.

I'm learning who I am ... in my early 30's as a newly single mother ... I'm finding myself.  Not the me that I "lost" when I married young and stayed at home with my kids for 11 years.  I'm finding who I am now.  The real me - underneath all the "nice" expectations I'd put on myself as a wife or a daughter or a mom.  Underneath all the demands made by others that I'd accepted as truth for myself.

Whoo Are You?
My mom used to have a small collection of owls.  They never struck me as particularly cute or interesting
(I should apologize to the porcelain owl that spent decades dutifully holding our hall door open).  But I've decided I need to have an owl or two in my life now.  To remind me to ask "Whoo are you?".  So that I won't just move through my days doing all the things that need to be done and not spend any thought on who I am becoming.

It's such a blessing to realize that uncomfortable change can become a joyous awakening in your life.  To push you beyond what you knew yourself to be - and welcome the growth and transformation.
Learning to *Bloom*.

So my assignment is to start loving myself the way my 5 year old loves me.  Unconditionally and with sweet appreciation of my own uniqueness.  One of the lessons we all should learn in kindergarten.  : )

I'll leave you with a beautiful quote from an anonymous author ...

"I choose to live by choice, not by chance.  To make changes, not excuses.  To be motivated, not manipulated.  To be useful, not used.  To excel, not compete.  I choose self-esteem, not self pity.  
I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinion of others."


Nina Renee said...

What a nice blog post on self esteem. I love the quote at the end and will send your link to my sister who has struggled with very poor feelings of self worth over the years. I agree that nice has to have a limit when it comes to people who can hurt you. Thanks for sharing. pretty blog.

Amelia said...

I think that self-esteem is something that women are sometimes ashamed of. We think that if we have feelings of self-worth then it makes us full of ego or seems like we think we are better then the world. It is a fine line but it is so important for women (and especially mothers) to believe that they are worth it. We need to take care of ourselves so that we have more to give to all the others in our lives. I like your post and congratulate you on finding yourself in your 30's. Keep it up.

Carolyn P said...

I like this post so much too. I think I'm too hard on myself and should be nicer to me. Than maybe my weight will go down. I take very good care of my daughter but forget that I need to be nice to myself too.

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