“When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.”

Jodi Picoult, Change of Heart

The young woman pictured here is filled with warmth; she practically sparkles! She doesn’t meet society’s standards to be considered beautiful. But she exudes cuteness; her smile would light up a room! I see much beauty in the love evidenced in her smile.

Yet someone’s comment about her size, or the spots on her skin, can deflate the magic we see in this photo. The magic of someone who is comfortable being themselves, who is happy.

It is so easy for us to take to heart criticism; to let someone’s comments color our day or even our week. The human condition seems to focus on the negative and ignore the positive. And often, it is our own mind that is the worst critic we experience in our lives. We notice our flaws when we look in the mirror, ignoring the things that make us beautiful. We tell ourselves we are stupid when we make a mistake, instead of accepting our humanity.

What are the key ingredients in self-love? According to an article in Psychology Today, the list includes:

  1. Become Mindful of who you are
  2. Act on what you need rather than what you want
  3. Practice good self-care
  4. Set Boundaries
  5. Protect Yourself
  6. Forgive Yourself
  7. Live Intentionally

I spent many years practicing good self care, thinking that I was practicing self-love. But I wasn’t. I now realize that the lack of boundaries, the lack of living intentionally, and the lack of acting on what I needed added up to a woman who did not value herself enough to make decisions in her best interest.

My wish for you is that you practice all 7 aspects of self-love; so that your life is filled with satisfaction. That you smile in a way that lights up a room, that you live, love and laugh!

Sending you blessings…

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