Loving oneself is not narcissistic, it’s imperative to love oneself in order to live a successful life of loving others. You can always find ways to love yourself and learn to receive a little more, and so can I! I’ve happily devoted my life energy to a wonderful marriage, to family, to career, to schools and committees, to friends and sports teams, to Brownies and Girl Scouts, and now it’s time to learn the art of receiving.
In loss, grief taught me all about the illusion of control and I quickly learned that surrender was the path of healing. Resistance was more painful and reminded me what is was like to resist labor in childbirth. That was another time that surrender taught me to open to what is, in order to call in grace and ease. (Not that there was anything easy about natural childbirth.) Through surrendering my expectations of what I wanted and couldn’t have, in time, I opened to receive “what is.” My mantra is: “I surrender, I receive.”
I don’t believe in calling myself “old” at any age. “Old” is more descriptive of my running shoes after a season of many miles, than me or any person I know for that matter. I’ve met people in their nineties that were still feisty and light…full of life. “Old” means worn down and worn out, lacking purpose to get up and go. Sure, there are days I’m tired and I need more rest. Tweaking invisible habits and calendars that fill up too fast with “yes” when I mean “no, thanks” are imperative changes too. (That’s just what I call self-awareness!)
I’m not in denial of my age at all when I say this, but in order to truly age gracefully I know I have to let go of my outdated beliefs about how I perceive the definition of “youth.” Traditionally, we live in a youth-obsessed culture and only recently are we seeing middle-aged women and men emerge with a new awareness of their robust sexuality and renewed purpose. (That’s the boomers! We want to live young forever – as promised!) Rather than going straight from youthful maiden to crone, women are showing that there is beauty, confidence and grace in mid-age. I like to think we are bringing back the “Queen!” I want to maintain the magic of my youth and that innocence and vivacious enthusiasm – bringing it with me into my current age. I’m not talking about looks; it’s more about how I feel inside. I don’t feel a day older than thirty-five years, but I’ve got the well-earned wisdom that comes from living a full life, adapting to lots of change. I’ve lived, loved and let go…and I’ve learned. I’m fully aware that my experience of life now has everything to do with the attitude I bring to each day, and there are several ways I practice what I call “a positive change attitude.”
Embracing what is with gratitude….
The fist positive change practice is through having an “I am grateful attitude.” True abundance for me at this stage is looking around at all that I have with gratitude and even scaling back to simplify life. I call it skimming the fat off with a money cleanse. With a red pen this month, one of my awareness lessons is to look at my spending and search for “excess” circling and cutting it out or down by half. It feels good to close up the gaps in my spending and any waste that might be leaking money because of a lack of awareness on my part.
The ultimate act of Self Love…
I’m never too old to love myself more. Cultivating the relationship I have with me, as my good friend Christine Arylo, Queen of Self Love and author of one of my favorite books “Madly in Love with Me” states: “The greatest relationship you have is the one you have with yourself. Dare to become your own best friend!” As an empty nester, I am learning to live on my own. While I’m not alone and I exclusively date a really wonderful man, I am enjoying my own company more and more as well as a sense of true independence. I’m embracing what it means to be the sovereign “Queen” of my domain. Most of all, I have the time I need to get to know myself in a whole new way than ever before. It’s my time now, and it’s an adventure! Sure, I miss the hustle and bustle of my house and the fullness of every day family life. I get my fill, though, when my youngest daughter comes home from school or I visit my oldest daughter and her growing family. More and more, however, I see that I am beginning a new love affair. It is the love affair that I have with life itself. While I adore romantic love, I’m more interested in cultivating this new love of life. It’s my time to be fully a woman in all ways possible. Fully and completely responsible for me—fully sovereign and fully “a Queen.”
Noticing the “blessons” of my life with awareness…
My good friend, Karen Salmansohn, calls a lesson in the blessing “a blesson.” It takes courage to see the life situations that show up as our lessons. It might be easier at first to play “the victim” but ultimately having a “victim” attitude is the most destructive framework from which to view the world and life situations. The don’t sweat philosophy is all about being willing to take one hundred percent responsibility for my own happiness, and…I do. I look at what’s happening as something here to show me more. There’s always more to look at and part of maintaining a youthful innocence is having a curiosity and hunger for new things. Self-awareness is a journey and a very interesting one at that! When I have fear, I ask myself in what way am I experiencing an absence of love? When I am annoyed with someone or something, I ask myself, “What can this annoyance I’m feeling reflect back to me?” When I have an upsetting dream at night, I ask myself, “What is this dream trying to get me to see that I don’t want to look at during my waking hours?“
All in all, self-care and self love go together like peanut butter and jelly, but having a “positive change attitude” goes along way in reinventing life from where I am now.
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Treasure the Gifts of Life and Love,