For those who haven’t read this wonderful book, I have decided to do a series of blogs about my favorite passages, the passages that spoke to me when I read this book a few years ago and now. I will do a excerpts of my favorite chapters. This is a book that belongs in every woman’s library. I first read this book as part of my healing process after my divorce. I loved it so much, I recommended it to all my single friends and then I read it again after I got remarried to Ryan and found things that applied to me as a married woman and now I recommend it to every woman! I got it for less than a dollar on amazon.
There are many types of love. But the one that we must begin with is the tantalizing allurement of the impassioned heart that enables us to love others. It is that passion that must start at home before it goes abroad. For the greatest of human perceptions is when the heart can look into the mirror and smile at the image that is reflected therein. It is the grace that enables us to wink at ourselves and appreciate out own gifts. It is a healthy mind that can celebrate itself. Then and only then can we determine whether we are loving others because they are lovable or because we are so famished for love that we will settle for anyone or anything that gives to us what we should give to ourselves.
Light a candle, play a song, take a walk, and meditate on your own accomplishments. It is a poor hen that will not crow in her own nest. Quiet moments alone allow us to explore how deeply we are committed to our own sense of healthy well-being and fortitude. You must become the motivational speaker that is self-challenging. The passion to go forward is too important to be left to the happenstance of someone else’s concerns for us. We need to be motivated, but it is dangerous to allow that need to become so overwhelming and desperate that it can only find fulfillment in the actions of someone else. We need to be self-motivated in order to survive.
Many women find it difficult to appreciate themselves because society puts pressure on them to be completely selfless; any attempt at self-nurturing and self-love is condemned, eliciting accusations of being selfish and narcissistic, of not being an adequate wife, mother, or even an adequate woman. No woman wants these labels and so many comply–giving, giving, giving–never appreciating themselves. Never realizing that in order to truly give you must appreciate the gifts you possess. Sadly, some women’s lives become as futile as a child’s attempt to capture the entire ocean in his sand bucket. No matter how committed he is to his task, no effort is ever enough.
It’s not easy to overcome this pressure. Even the most liberated people are adversely affected by the pressure of public opinion. Withstanding the opinions of others is at best stressful and at worst debilitating. Many of us are crippled by the masses of people who do not allow us the freedom of our own opinions and the exploration of our own personhood. We all have a tendency to reflect the opinions of others. If someone says you look terrible in a dress, don’t you wear it with reluctance the next time? Even though we say we do not care what people think, to some degree we are still vulnerable to their words and ideas. But if we are going to be effective individuals, we must develop the ability to embrace ourselves. A positive self-image is not arrogant. It is necessary in order to procure a healthy relationship with others. People who have low self-esteem are too obsessive to enjoy others. They cling to others like a vine to a wall. They need others to stand, and that need is compulsive and draining.
It is virtually impossible to find someone to appreciate you as a person if you do not allow them to see you as a settled, stabilized force in the earth. They need to hear you sing your own song. They need to listen to your solo. Sing the melody of success and everybody will want to hum that tune with you. But make sure that you allow to join in only those who harmonize with your own self-image. You actually train others how to treat you by how you treat yourself. Do not think for one moment that others do not observe your level of style, class, and preferences. All of us, when we shop, have had to deal with the fact that this person we are shopping for would or would not buy this item for him- or herself. You want to buy what would at least be comparable to what that person would select. You wouldn’t give a cheap bag to someone who wears expensive clothes, would you? Who would feel comfortable giving a gift that would stand out among the person’s possessions as an item beneath his or her normal standard? By being good to the self, this person has in essence set a standard that we all must aspire to reach if we are to be a blessing to that individual.