I have always looked for the ways I am like my Dad. I think WWJD (What Would Jim Do) often, wishing I could be more like him. But even though I act like a boy sometimes, like when I break my bones or ski, there’s this little known fact. It’s SURPRISE! I am actually a girl. And I am not my Dad.
My Dad is smarter than I am, and I don’t have duck feathers. My Dad, he has duck feathers. Miseries bubble up on his skin like water droplets, whereas I am more like a plucked chicken. Or maybe a Georgia Peach. Or one of those blind puppies with it’s eyes still sealed shut crying in a cardboard box filled with other still-blind puppies. I am a little vulnerable, quick to give you my heart, and devastated when you hurt it.
My Dad is like a Mr. Miyagi-Michael Caine love-child: centered, sage, courageous. I, in contrast, am either two ways. Half the time, I am Hanna from Girls, with boy problems and fast-approaching writing deadlines. Other times I am a fabulous freelance writer with pretty nails which I would use to scratch your eyes out if you messed with me. Sometimes, I gots the verve, the guts – my life wrapped neatly in pretty paper and tied with a bow. Other times, well…not so much.
My Dad only reads on airplanes because that’s the only time he has to do it. I read every day because I love it more than almost anything else. My Dad has watched every episode of Deadliest Catch at least twice. I will never understand my Dad’s fascination with that show. My Dad golfs a full round at least twice a week. I would golf, but I don’t meet the salary requirements and I would rather go surf some gnarly waves, dude.
I don’t think I am much like my Dad. I don’t love the law and cigars disgust me. From my Dad I got the Aryan race look, a decent golf swing, and ah, the worry gene.
Both my Dad and I have been known to toss and turn at night. To be awake at odd hours, though most of the time, we go back to sleep. People say I think too much. They say I’m too serious. I hate it when people say that, because it makes me think they want me to be something other than what I am.
But I know, twenty years from now, when everything has worked out and I have lived a full life, my only regret would be the times I lost control of my monkey mind. For the rest of my life, I would like to forget myself. Less of my world, more of the world.
There is this scene in Breaking Bad where Jesse is sitting around a campfire in rehab, and his counselor says how important it is to accept who you are. If you’re the bad guy, accept that you’re the bad guy was how Jesse interpreted that. And I accept myself – in all my messy, canned food eating, woman-girlness. I think self-acceptance, self-love, makes everything much easier.
Occasionally, my life sucks back from today. My mind goes to tomorrow where bad things are certainly going to happen or yesterday where things were so much better. I think I worry because I question my abilities – my worth. And life is too short for that. It’s too short to live in foreboding or nostalgia – regret or worry. If loving myself became the main event, the background noise of my days, I would do more, be better, and achieve my goals more easily. I think the same is true for you. I imagine my life would look a lot different if I reminded myself of what’s great about me, instead of always having an eye and ear to positive feedback from other people. Thich Nhat Hanh said, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself,” and I’ve never really realized how much I needed to do this. So I’ve got some work to do and I’m excited to do it. Below are ten tips for loving yourself better from Tiny Buddha, and there’s a little self-love related treat from Miley Cyrus at the bottom of the page (it’s not a video of her VMA performance, don’t worry).
1. Take time to meditate and journal. Spend time focusing inward daily. Begin your day with five minutes of meditation or journaling in the morning, and gradually increase the time.
2. Talk yourself happy. Use affirmations to train your mind to be more positive.
3. Expand your interests. Try something new. Go to a place you’ve never been before. Do something you have never done.
4. Become willing to surrender. Breathe, relax, and let go. You can never see the whole picture. Stop fighting against yourself by thinking and desiring people and events in your life should be different.
5. Work on personal and spiritual development. Be willing to surrender and grow. Life is a journey. We are here to learn and love on a deeper level.
6. Own your potential. Love yourself enough to believe in the limitless possibilities available to you. Take action and create a beautiful life for yourself.
7. Be patient with yourself. Let go of urgency and fear. Relax and transform striving into thriving. Trust in yourself, do good work, and the Universe will reward you.
8. Live in appreciation. Train your mind to be grateful. Appreciate your talents, beauty, and brilliance. Love your perfectly imperfect self.
9. Accept uncertainty. Suffering comes from living in the pain of the past or the fear of the future. Put your attention on the present moment and be at peace.
10. Focus on the positive. Go to your heart and dwell on and praise yourself for what you get right in all areas.