“Love yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself and be good to yourself, because without you, the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
Wait, what? A source of anything inspiring, let alone wonderful has never been something I have identified myself with.
In hindsight, the quote would probably not hit a chord with me a few years back. Fortunately, I can totally appreciate it now.
Looking back, I realised I was always too harsh to myself. Self-criticism was like second nature to me back then, and I am especially hard when I fail at something I have set out to do.
For as long as I can remember, art, painting in particular has always been my ideal venue for self-expression.
Never really thought much about it, I just saw it as a convenient way to put my feelings and emotions into something tangible. However, a friend’s observation changed the way I looked at my ‘work of art’ forever.
She pointed out that the common theme of my paintings came across as self-loathing. I never really saw it that way. But it was the paradigm shift I needed.
It’s been years since that fateful day when art made me realize things I never saw. Or maybe they were actually things I was not brave enough to admit to myself back then. I have come a long way though. I have decided to shift things around and love myself for a change.
There are so many ways one can practice self-love. However, forgiving one’s self ranks high in the list. Here’s how I navigated the challenging, yet inspiring road to self-forgiveness and love.
- From the many books I have read, I have discovered the important role affirmations play in my life. While it was hard at first, I decided to try out using positive affirmations instead of the usual negative conversations I have with myself. Gentle, kind and encouraging words like “I love you”, “I forgive you”, “You are wonderful” and “You are more than enough” dramatically changed the way I feel about myself and the things around me.
- While there was a lot of resistance at first, I worked on my self-acceptance. I chose to see myself from a positive perspective and surprisingly, it helped me learn to be kind to myself. I accepted myself where I was at and shifted my focus on where I wanted to be. And rather than berating myself whenever I failed, I deliberately chose to be kind to myself and just see failure as what it really is—an enriching and insightful learning experience.
- When things don’t go according to plan, I had the tendency back then to berate and blame myself. I always saw it as a sign that I was no good and that I would never amount to anything eventually. Overtime, I realised self-criticism and blaming will not get me anywhere so I chose to approach things from a more positive perspective instead and it has worked wonders for me.
Synonymous to a kid needing proper childcare, support and encouragement to help them become well-rounded adults, I have come to realize that grown-ups like me need to practice self-love and forgiveness for me to become an inspiration for others to emulate.
More about Erika Schmidt’s work and the source of this article can be found at the Kids Worldly website: Mission: Proper Childcare