To Love Oneself

why is it so hard to love ourselves?

imagine the way a mother cradles her newborn baby

marveling at every inch, from the tiny fingers and toes to the small, perfect head

or the way a husband looks at his wife years and years after they were first married

and still has the same adoration and amazement in his gaze; pure, unfiltered happiness

why is it so simple to condemn ourselves to the pile of broken, unwanted toys

on the island of misfits

yet, when asked to praise others, words pile up on the edge of our tongues like a car crash

and then spill over as if we are a waterfall of compliments

a gumball machine that offers candy for free

why is it so hard to love ourselves?

imagine the last time you truly looked at yourself in the mirror

and took in all the unebelieable wonder that is you, and you alone

like a tiny snowflake, you are completely unique

with your own beating heart, breathing lungs, and flowing blood that runs through your veins

like the toxin of self-hatred does so easily

when did you run your hands over every ounce of the absolute miracle that you are

twist your hair in your fingers and smile at yourself just to watch the way your cheeks rise up and scrunch up your eyes

and felt a soft, warm sense of satisfaction and contentment suffuse you like being wrapped up in a blanket

that doubles as an impenetrable suit of armor, protecting you from life’s stings and jabs

why is it so hard to love ourselves?

think of the way you care for the home that you live in

be it big or small, fancy or plain, secluded or open

you only get one body to live in; one set of functioning organs, a pair of arms and legs, and a brain that runs a thousand miles a minute

a sprinter that is always first to cross the finish line

why is it so easy to cake layers of makeup on our faces as if we are attempting to mold an sculpt an entirely new person

or carve lines into our skin that run red like angry rivers

and pull and prod at our bodies as if we are savvy shoppers examining pieces of produce

thinking words like stupid and ugly and worthless and alone

forgetting all the friends that burst into laughter when you crack another hilariously funny joke

or the father that picks you up like he did when you were little; you have no fear of being dropped

you just know safety and tenderness

but yet you never stop to wonder at the way the wind whistles through the trees, rustling the leaves and sending their monstrous trunks spinning

or the way water washes away the words you write in the sand with your index finger, leaving smooth, untouched beach behind

why is it so hard to love ourselves?

there is no shortage of insults to hurl at yourself like the ball you simply cannot dodge

that slam against your skin like rocks and bloom dark bruises

blemishes on your self confidence and pride which has already been strung up, drawn, and quartered

the thunderstorm that rages in your mind, sending electric bolts of lightning searing through your body 

thoughts of waste of space and hideous and unwanted and unloved

a flower has no quarrel with the blossom that spreads its petals to the sun first

it is content to take its time and reveal the beauty that lies within its fragile cocoon when it is ready

imagine the last time you watched a baby bird spread its wings and fly

or felt tears spring to your eyes as you doubled over with laughter

and watch an artist create something from pure, blank canvas

absolute magic right in front of you

why is it so hard to love ourselves?

the next time you catch a glimpse of yourself reflected back into your waiting eyes

remind that person in the mirror

that they are a story that only has one chance to be written

a book that is opened at its beginning and closed forever at its end

and that far from the vitriolic chants that run haywire through your thoughts

you can calmly reassure yourself with words like beautiful and special and unique

when you feel yourself scoffing in bafflement at the kind words of others

catch yourself with caring, steady hands and simply thank them

and take the time later to contemplate them and let them sink in

let the smile lines on your face count your years, not the days spent staring aimlessly at a ceiling

and allow yourself the patience and grace you would compassionately lend any other

wait for yourself to grow

you will blossom, I promise.

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