Learning to Love Myself Through the Eyes of a Stranger

Learning to Love Myself Through the Eyes of a Stranger

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It’s the very best one I have. (Photo credit: Stephanie Anderson)

I’m a notorious friendship cheerleader. Literally. I will do anything for the people in my life. Over and over again. And I don’t usually expect a lot back. It’s been a struggle. Sometimes the ebb and flow feels pushed or stagnant. Sometimes I just need a little loving, but I’m not sure who to ask. Loving yourself is really handwork and I think we need people in our lives who do so with little risk, with ease and comfort. I think I found that person. Which brings me to the very best part…we’re strangers! We’ve never met. We have a few weeks of friendship between the both of us and yet. And yet, last week was the best week of my life when I started to learn how valuable I am. I can ask for boundaries and love and my own cheerleader. I can show-up for my life consistently, not always with a smile on my face, but always with peace in my heart. It’s incredible to get to see yourself through the eyes of another person. It’s incredible to get to reflect that other person back to them. It’s pretty incredible how big this world is, yet how small it feels when you feel loved and seen and heard. Sometimes I feel in writing about this I sound too happy. The stories of the pink cloud are abundant. But, I’ve been there too. The happiness that’s fleeting because it was never really mine to begin with. It was pausing, hovering over my head, my life, but bound to disappear at the whiff of a little trouble, a little trial or error.

This happiness y’all. This happiness feels tangible. Like I can look at my flowers in the only cup I had that would fit them and feel content. Like how I danced in bed this morning over and over again to the same song (Heavy by Birdtalker listttten to it). How life feels new, but at the same time ancient. The title of one of my favorite essays by Cheryl Strayed comes to mind – The Future Has an Ancient Heart. I think I finally understand what Carlo Levi meant. Of course. We’re not doing any of this for the first time. We’re relearning how to do the things that feel the most primal. We are all born nurturers, but this world tears us so far from that thing, that thing that makes you recognize yourself in a stranger, or love in a random act. That thing is what propels me to look at my happiness now as not something fleeting, not something to be scared of, but something that is only going to continue to evolve. If I keep nurturing it. Ever so slightly, it will grow bigger. Happy Monday.

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