Loving yourself first is a foreign concept to most of us.
I love to color. And when my friends tell you that my hot pink coloring bag is busting at the seams and that I’m one marker away from an intervention, they’re telling you the truth. If there’s a marker out there I don’t have or haven’t tried, I would be shocked as all get out.
The photo in this post was colored by yours truly sometime last year. Loving myself hasn’t always been a given. In fact, it’s been quite a process for me and never in a million years would I have thought I would come realize my worth and my value in the ways I have.
My friend Scott was the beginning of that journey for me.
When we met back in 2013, he gave me the assignment to stand in front of the mirror and say “I love you, Kristi” three times a day. I’m going to be honest here and tell you that little exercise was thrown out the window the first time I tried it and I never did it again because all I could do was giggle. He told me though, that one day, I would come to like who I was and that I would stand strong in it. He was right.
Several years ago, someone gave me a list of things written by author Kim McMillen.
I read over them and stuck the list in a book I haven’t looked at in eons. I found that list last week, and as I read over it, I felt the smile that curled around the corners of my lips slowly spread across my face. Loving myself used to be such a foreign concept that I hardly recognize the woman I’ve become from the time I started navigating self-worth back in 2013. I wanted to share her work with you because I find it invaluable and I think you will as well. These are her words and only a handful of her thoughts:
When I loved myself enough…
…I quit settling for too little.
…I came to know my own goodness.
…I began taking the gift of life seriously and gratefully.
…I began to see that I don’t have to chase after life. If I am quiet and hold still, life comes to me.
…I came to see emotional pain is a sign that I am operating outside truth.
…I quit wishing my life looked some other way and began to see that as it is, serves my evolution.
…I redefined success and life became simple.
…I began to know I was in the right place at the right time and I could relax.
…I felt compelled to slow down–way down–and that made all the difference.
…I quit ignoring or tolerating my pain.
…My heart became so tender, it could welcome joy and sorry equally.
…I came to love being alone, surrounded by silence, awed by its spell, listening to inner space.
…I gave up the belief that life is hard.
…I learned to meet my own needs and not call it selfish.
…I started feeling all my feelings, not analyzing them–really feeling them. When I do, something amazing happens.
…I no longer needed things or people to make me feel safe.
…I stopped blaming myself for the choices I have made.
…I quit answering the telephone when I don’t want to talk.
…I learned to grieve for the hurts in my life instead of making my heart heavy by lugging them around.
…I forgave myself for all the times I felt I wasn’t good enough.
…I realized my mind can torment and deceive me, but in the service of my heart is a great and noble ally.
…I quit relishing the past and worrying about the future which leaves the present, where aliveness lives.
…I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, thoughts, and beliefs–anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal, I called it self-loving.
…I began to taste freedom.
I can’t remember who gave me that list, but I printed it for two friends this past weekend, both of whom are going through transformations. I’ve moved it from the book I never pick up to my daily meditations paperback by Melody Beattie so that I can always find it. And after multiple searches, I found McMillen’s little book on Amazon and ordered it. It was hard to find, and this copy is used and a bit tattered (much like life, yes??), but it has taken its rightful place on one of the end tables in my living room. I cherish it and flip it open often.
Kim McMillen was 40 years old before she realized how she could become happier by loving herself.
She died at the age of 52, only a short time after writing her book to enlighten others on how to love themselves fully. According to her daughter Alison, her passing was very unexpected, as she was not ill and she didn’t have any inkling that she was going to die.
It reminds me that life is precious and that every minute of it should be savored. I wanted to introduce you to her work because we all struggle to find self-love and self-worth. Some days, it’s an uphill battle; other days, it comes as naturally as breathing. We fumble through life always wondering if this is all there is, which I wonder more than I care to admit to you. We don’t know the time or the day when we will exit, but learning to bask in the fullness of life is one of the kindest, most loving things we can do for ourselves.
Be good to yourself, today and always.
Til next time,
Want to purchase Kim McMillen’s book for yourself?
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Love the image I colored on this page?
You can purchase a similar adult coloring book by Thaneeya McArdle by clicking the Amazon affiliate link* below: