Tag Archives: DPchallenge

Things My Mother Says: Love Yourself

If there’s anything I love most about my mother, it’s that she’s a giver. With her ability to so seamlessly give her love and kindness without ever wanting anything back makes her a true gift to the world around her. I grew up watching her do it … give pieces of her heart out over and over again, believing that with each little piece, she could make a difference in all who’s lives she touched. So it comes as no surprise to me when I see how much she is loved and respected in return.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be JUST like that. And now, more than ever, as a married woman with my life literally in my own hands to mold as I pleased, I wanted to shape it as a life of giving … just as she had.

Growing up, she had told me that I really was a giver; and I felt proud that I was finally following in her footsteps. It became my own personal mantra to believe that everyone deserved a bit of affection and kindness, and I wanted to be the one to grant it to them. But any giver would know as well as I do, how quickly the selfless joy of giving, once exhausted, becomes a fight to protect what little you have left.

The problem isn’t about appreciation or wanting anything in return. The problem is that suddenly you’re expected to give all the time. And expectations leave you feeling like you are constantly falling short … constantly disappointing.

So amidst my struggle to keep up with expectations, I ran to my mother—which, even when you’re married you never grow out of—for some kind of guidance. She had been doing it all of these years after all.

She said,

If you really want to be a giver, you must first give to yourself. You must first love yourself. When you love yourself, you strive for success and happiness in all that you do. But that doesn’t only include you. It includes the success and happiness in your every relationship, in your every behavior with others, and in your every course of life. You love yourself first so that you have the ability to love others too.
Love Yourself

Via The Ballerina Project

I always thought that “love yourself” was just another way to say that it was ok be selfish. But when my mother pointed out that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t only affect me, it all began to make better sense.

The only person I was falling short with was myself. I was so concerned in giving others what I felt they needed that I forgot about me. I put aside what I wanted; I constantly questioned if I was doing enough; and worst of all, I allowed the growing expectations to take priority over what was really important to me. Where did that get me? Bitterly hiding behind a defensive wall of “leave me alone.”

My dear givers, listen closely. I realized that not everybody gives the way we may give. So I began to give back to myself. I began to love myself. And in return, I finally filled the empty hole I dug from giving too much. Now, I’m slowly going back to being Karma’s good elf again, happily spreading the bit of love and kindness I still believe everyone deserves. But first and foremost, I’m giving that bit of love and kindness to me, and turns out, that’s what I’ve need all along.

: : : Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world : : :

— Eleanor Roosevelt —

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Filed under Food For Thought, Growing Up, Mind, Body, Soul, Things My Mother Says

The Searching Place: A Twist on Dr. Seuss’ “Waiting Place”

Via Flickr: just.K

I have always been an avid lover of Dr. Seuss and his way with words and rhymes. Then again, who isn’t a fond follower of his work these days? Although it may be cliché, there’s no doubt that one of my favorite books of all time (no, not just as a child, but even until today) is his very own “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” The way he was able to capture some of life’s biggest lessons and embed them into relatable rhymes and well-needed advice gets me every time. If anything, I truly believe that that particular book hits the spot for us, as adults, more than it might for children. The way he allows us to reflect on our journeys through thick and thin, failures and successes, and insists that we can still make it through at the end of the day is probably the reminder we all need to hear to keep going.

There is one particular part in the book that I found myself constantly relating to: “The Waiting Place,” that scary, useless place made for people just waiting for something…ANYTHING to happen. In grown up talk, we might as well call it the dreaded “stand still.” It’s that horrible part of our lives where we have absolutely no idea where to go from there; the part where one phase ends and another has yet to begin, and we find ourselves stuck in the middle; it’s the part where we’re hoping and praying and painfully yearning for that damn opportunity to knock on the door already. Yes, we definitely have all been there.

But, since I moved across the world to New Zealand, amidst building a new life for myself, I realized that there was no part in my beloved “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” that defined this part of my life. This part was all about searching for my next step; searching for what to do next; searching for a way to build my routine; searching for answers; searching for new friends; constantly, constantly searching. It seems that beyond “The Waiting Place,” there comes a time where you just refuse to wait anymore and you have to take matters into your own hands. Thus begins the searching quest.

I realized that, in Dr. Seuss terms, we find ourselves in a whole different place, the Searching Place. At that point, it only seemed right that to truly introduce this phase of our lives, I would have to attempt to recreate and twist his Waiting Place into this place of searching, maintaining a similar rhyme and rhythm that could fit into my favorite story, like a missing puzzle piece.

With that said, I introduce to you my very own attempt at some Dr. Seuss magic:

The Searching Place,
…for people just searching.

Searching for a job to do
Or the words to write
Or a path that leads to a greater height
Or a friend you felt like you always knew
Or a dream you once lost but can now pursue
Or searching for a journey to delve into
Or searching for a way to bid adieu.
Everyone is just searching.

Searching for a frog to kiss
Or searching for a home filled with bliss
Or searching to fulfill your bucket list.

Or searching perhaps for a shooting star
Or a miracle, or the keys to your car
Or some faith, trust, or pixie dust
Or the yellow brick road, or a chance to adjust.
Everyone is just searching.

At first, I thought it would be more difficult to come up with rhymes to put my point across. I know myself as a writer. I’m wordy and blunt and talk in clichés, and I haven’t written a poem since learning about Haikus in the fourth grade. But here I was counting syllables and scraping my mind for words that rhyme with “do,” and eventually, somehow it all fell into place! Perhaps it was my love for Dr. Seuss and slight envy for his ability to string words together in such harmonious flow; or maybe that deep-set desire to find the missing link I felt suddenly lacked from that wonderful book; but most of all, I just wanted to paint an image, like he has done for us so many times, that would simply define this phase of our lives that we all pass through…our very own Searching Place.

Relate to it, I hope you do, for this quest of searching is almost through. And we’ll find our ways to move mountains too. Persist and I promise these words to be true.

: : : I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me! : : :

— I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, Dr. Seuss —

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Filed under Food For Thought, Growing Up, Out of the Box