My boyfriend and I share a deep love for each other, and we have a bit of a routine where one of us will say “I love you” and the other will respond with “I love you more.”
I have seen others who do this as well, with their significant others, with their children.
I find it endearing. It is sweet, expressive, and yes, loving.
For us, my boyfriend and I, when we say it, it isn’t in some form of competition, it isn’t meant to mean that I love him more than he loves me or vice versa. It means I love you more today than yesterday. I love you more than I ever imagined I’d love someone. I love you more than I’ve ever loved another. I love you more and more every second I know you.
However, I had a moment today when I realized that as women, we tend to love others so much more than we ever love ourselves.
If we treated those we claim to love the way we often treat ourselves, we’d be pretty disappointed in our representation of that love.
This all hit me in the strangest way today.
In recent years the texture of my hair has changed, and what was once straight, mostly frizzy hair, has become mostly curly, still somewhat frizzy hair. I have, therefore, spent the last several years straightening my hair. I just really disliked the way my hair looked curly, it felt messy, frizzy, disheveled to me.
This year, however, I have been growing out my hair a bit. And encouraged by said boyfriend’s compliments on my “naturally curly” hair, I began to wear it curly more often, and as it gained length, I stopped straightening it all together.
So, all summer long I have worn my hair curly. Out of the shower, spray some sea salt on it, and leave the house still wet, let’s see what happens, curly.
The result, is that although I don’t hate it, most days I catch my reflection and think “Ugh, my hair looks so messy”.
And yet, over the last few days, I have had several people tell me they love my hair like this.
Today, moments after I looked in a mirror and criticized how messy my hair looked, I received another one of those compliments. “What are you doing to your hair? The curls look so great”.
And it stopped me in my tracks.
Why am I being so mean to myself? Why am I being so critical of my hair in its natural state? Because you know what? It does look pretty great. And I’m really enjoying not having to straighten it in this heat. And I deserve to feel beautiful and stylish and happy as I am.
I really need to love myself more.
In all honesty, over the last few years I have really let go of most of my self-criticism. I have become incredibly comfortable in my own skin in my 40’s. I am proud of the muscles I have worked for, I have embraced the bit of mid-life belly (though for health reasons I am still always looking to control it), and I am at peace with the gray hairs and crow’s feet that have shown up.
Confession? I love my crow’s feet, I think they’re cute.
And yet, even in this place, I still criticize myself in ways I would never criticize a loved one.
BUT…shouldn’t I be my most loved one?
Shouldn’t I say “I LOVE ME MORE”?
And I KNOW, oh, I KNOW, a lot of you just inhaled a bit and thought “I can’t say that, that would be selfish and vain”.
BUT IS IT?
Because ladies, let’s get real here for a minute…if you don’t take care of yourselves…who will?
Because you’re out there taking care of everyone else, aren’t you? And WHO is taking care of you?
Perhaps a few of us are lucky enough to have someone in our lies who does step up to take care of us. And if we do, we’ve struck a pretty great lottery, but what happens when that person isn’t able to do so?
Then who is left?
It has to be you.
It has to be me.
I live to help others, to give for others, to extend myself for others, to love others. It gives me purpose and JOY.
But if I don’t take care of me first? If I don’t love ME more? What’s left of me to give?
I’m not suggesting we should go around responding to “I love yous” with “I love ME more”…though, that would be a pretty funny experiment. No, seriously, don’t do it, that’s not what I’m saying here.
I’m just saying that every once in a while we should remember to do that FOR OURSELVES.
Take a look in that mirror and say “I love ME more”.
LIVE IT. Practice it. Make it a priority.
I bet we’ll all be pleasantly surprised how much more loving, giving, and joyful we can be for others once we do.
I love you all.
I love ME more.
We’ll be talking about this LIVE in my Facebook Group FIND YOUR JOY tonight (Thursday, August 10th) at 8PM EST, join us!
Take a Five Day JOY challenge and start working on that self-love right now!