Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of self-love and self-acceptance. At [almost] 34 years of age, I find myself faced with a nagging question. Where did the woman I used to be in my 20’s go? She was the woman who thought nothing of living in Argentina for six months despite the fact that her Spanish was just así así. She was the woman who went back to graduate school to study technology, a topic she knew very little about. She was the woman who moved to four different states–Maine, California, Vermont, Massachusetts–in the span of five years. She was daring, spontaneous, and fun. (Side note: she also carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and worried about everything.)
In my 30’s, it now seems as if the age seesaw has tilted the other way. While I have successfully launched the “Carry-the-Weight-of-the-World Self” high into the air like an underweight third grader, the “Daring-Spontaneous-Fun Self” is stuck in the sand, unable to lift off.
Faced with (and perhaps fearful of) this unrecognizable self, I find myself trying to morph into someone else by telling myself that I need to BE more. More courageous, more outspoken, more focused. By that same token, you (if you’re like me) may find yourself trapped in what I like to refer as the “I Deserve More” Waiting Room of Life. It’s that dark place we enter where we forget to be grateful for what we have and only think about how we deserve more. More money, more love, more happiness. We’re in our 30’s afterall!
As Elizabeth Gilbert explains in her book, Committed:
All these choices and all this longing can create a weird kind of haunting in our lives–as though the ghosts of all our other, unchosen possibilities linger forever in a shadow world around us…”
We can either be haunted by this longing to which Gilbert refers or we can stop and accept the Truth: Who I am is enough. Who I am right now is enough.
Discovering this, and truly believing it, takes time. When yoga students of mine recently wrote me a note saying, “Thank you for nourishing our souls,” I no longer wondered about the woman I used to be in my 20’s. It dawned on me that I should not wait for a note of recognition to practice self-love and self-acceptance. I now try to do what Melody Beattie reminds us to do in Journey to the Heart: Appreciate yourself, applaud your efforts, and give yourself permission to put your drive aside.