In several podcasts, I refer to self-acceptance and the path to self-love. In order to love others, we need to love ourselves first. This is easier said than done, especially when we have made mistakes in our lives.
No one is perfect. Shit happens. There is not one person on earth who hasn't royally screwed up at some point in their life, and that includes me. Oh yes, I have made some real bloopers along the way, but who hasn't? Sometimes I get frustrated and the urge to blame others is upon me, and I have to self-reflect and look at how I ended up in that situation. In some cases, I am not to blame, and then the art of forgiveness and understanding comes into play.
Everyone has a story. You do. I do. The little old man down the street who walks his dog at 7 pm nightly and never talks to anyone has a story. The young girl who puts on her headphones and sits with a book under the oak tree every day at 3 pm has a story. Each story is different, and the person behind each story has a different appearance. Some people are tall, some are small. People come from all walks of life. A good friend of mine wears his 30 year old jacket with holes in it simply because he can, and his nice new jacket sits tucked away in the closet.
I come from an area where acceptance of others was the norm in our neighborhood. It was the best group of kids to grow up with. We weren't always kind when we should be, but we had each other's backs and 50 years later we are all still in touch through social media. Notice how I say "we had each other's backs" and we truly did. When the bullies tore down our lean-to forts on the hill, the Shorty girls came to our rescue and chased those nasty thugs away. The Hammers were our family, even though we were not related by blood. My mom loved those kids as much as their mom loved us. My friend from up the street did not have a bathroom and they used an outhouse in 40 below weather. She thought we were rich with 4 kids in one bedroom because we had the luxury of an indoor toilet. My pants were always too short because I was a skinny kid. Mom did her best to make those hand-me-down jeans last through the 4th child, and I remember the embarrassment of wearing jeans with hand-sewn red corduroy cuffs on the bottom. A smart mama I had - that leftover corduroy from the last child's trousers became the cuffs that would keep my ankles warm. Too bad I was not mature enough to understand the love that went into those cuffs back then. I would do anything at this point in my life to have my mama here putting crazy cuffs on the bottom of my pants, and I wouldn't care what anyone else thinks.
I was a weirdo when I was a kid. I don't know what possessed me to do some of the things I did, but I was definitely a free-spirited child. I was the one who got caught smoking at the youngest age, thought Creme-de-Menthe made great parfaits till I got busted and lay on the floor with my ear to the stereo speaker so I could listen to K'Tel's greatest hits at an audio level that allowed my mom to function after a long day at work. I did all kinds of crazy stuff. I jumped off a tall fence when I was 5 years-old because I was trying to be Mary Poppins and sprained my ankle. Along with some other kids we put big spikes in our back-yard poplar tree when mom was out one day. We could use those nails to support our feet so we could shimmy up to the top of the tree. Much to our dismay, our mom had a hairy-canary when she found out and and the spikes were ordered removed. I used to love wearing those rainbow socks that had a separate spot for your toes, and had an obsession with Ricochet Rabbit and the Pink Panther. I was never really a "cool kid" and I think my best school year ever was 8th grade. I had learned to love myself, perhaps because the train-track braces had done their job and I was in new surroundings. Sometimes we need to take a bit of the old to the new to rebuild.
I have rebuilt my life several times during a lifetime. Each time has brought challenges, hardship and heartache. Loss is loss, whether it is through death, divorce or breakdown in relationship. Loss is loss and it is truly hard. It takes a lot for anyone to rebuild their life, and until you have walked in anyone's shoes it is impossible to fully comprehend their journey.
This past fall I went through a bit of a funk, where I wondered where I fit in. I know that feeling well. When I was a teenager, my sisters were all grown up and having children. I was younger and at a different point in my life, leaving me to feel like an outsider in a family where I was truly loved. I have been blessed with memories of people who will always hold a special place in my heart. Some have left this world and pain is a reminder of love shared. I also carry the burden of mistakes in life that I can not undo, and it's ok to forgive myself for being human. We all need to do that. I am no longer in that funk I hit this past fall, and I know where I belong. It started with self-acceptance, healing from trauma and finding the good in people around me. It's ok to be different. I covered that topic almost a year ago in an episode I titled Chicken Boots and it's worth going back to listen to that episode again. Here's the link: https://www.lindysaudiocafe.com/22-chicken-boots/
We have a world full of good people. They may look different from you and me. Perhaps they dress different, sound louder, or sit more quietly under that tree. Some people look their best on Sundays, and others will always find that 30 year old jacket with the holes in it. It doesn't matter what color they are, or who they hold hands with. People are people, and by sharing kindness and love, good people can learn to love themselves and bring out the best in others.
This week I was so blessed to have a podcast guest who truly knows how to turn lemons into lemonade. He is not afraid to be himself, and shares his joy with everyone around him. If he can bring a smile to some and make their day, then his day is complete. We need more people like that in this world. I hope you have a chance to hear my episode with JD the Flowerman. It is so worth it to hear him speak, and a reminder that we never know what someone else has endured in this world.
Here are the links to the episode: