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What do you love most about yourself?

Erin Iler pauses for a moment. . . taking time for self reflection

We recently celebrated the 100th Day of School. If you are a fellow elementary school teacher, you know that this is a landmark day each year for children. The little ones usually have a themed day of learning with using the number 100 to count with, they talk about the 100 different things they have learned this year, they make a project out of 100 items, and the list continues. Each year, I try to challenge myself to come up with a creative way to celebrate this day of learning.

I jokingly said this year to my team, “I don’t have to dress up this year. I have 100 more gray hair, 100 more wrinkles, and I feel like I have aged to a 100 year old person.”

I wonder how many of us feel the same this year. Like time has fast forwarded, and we have all of a sudden felt like we have been transported a few decades. When I look in the mirror these days, I tend to notice many of the flaws that I have been accumulating, haven’t had time for the core workouts at the gym, haven’t stuck to my no sugar diet, I haven’t had time to put on the 5 different skin lifting creams. But then Scott will say, “You look more beautiful today than the day I married you.”

That simple phrase brought me to this blog. Self perception can be a slippery slope.

I came across a quote that spoke to me “What is behind your eyes holds more power than what is in front of them” by Gary Zukav.

I began to think about the way we all tend to perceive ourselves and how the world might perceive us differently. I also began to think that as a mom, as a teacher, as a community member, the moments when I begin to falter on my own self perception affects many others.

Raising two pre teen daughters in the 21st century is challenging to say the least. In a time, when people are liking, sharing, and commenting practically every minute of the waking hour, it is hard not to compare yourself to another. The media has the perfect hair, the perfect fix, but in a current that seemed almost too difficult to fight, I have noticed a change in tides.

The change to embrace individuality, the flaws along with the beauty, the differences that we all have.

A friend of mine shared with me that she asks herself and her children, “What do you love most about yourself?” when her daughters are in a funky mood. Within a few minutes the girls are giggling and realizing that they do have more worth than social media is showing them.

I decided to try this exercise and see where it would lead me. . . What do I love most about myself?

I love that I write and bring inspiration to others, I love that I can share the spirit of holidays with my family, I love that I can talk about books and really hold my own in a debate about what is important for children’s learning, I love that I have hazel eyes that can turn green in the sunlight, I love that I can grow my own garden, I love that I have a sense of adventure.

Tending to Little Ollie- Miniature Olive Tree

After writing these phrases down, I realized I only referenced my physical appearance once. The rest of the qualities I love is about parts of my personality, interests that I have, or what I want to share with others.

The gray hair, the wrinkles, the “negative” self perception slowly crept away and I found that what I love is far more than what the world sees at a first glance (in a photo).

The world is waiting for you. . . So often we can find all the things we dislike about ourselves. The self doubt, comparing, the uncertainty of standing up for one’s beliefs, or embracing a bold move to be an individual can be stunted because we are wondering what our peers, our family, or our support nucleus will approve or disprove of our choices.

Gary Zukav wrote in his book The Seat of the Soul, "When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning…” I believe if we all pause and ask ourselves that simple question “What do I love most about myself?” it could be the catapult to take on a new challenge, a philanthropic project that you have been putting on hold, a relationship to pursue that you have faltered on, or even a complete transformation about the space you are currently living in.

My parents used to tell me when I was growing up that Valentine’s Day wasn’t just about who you love, it is about spreading love, sharing your goodness with others. Love comes in so many different forms. Loving who you are, loving the space you live in, loving a hobby that you have decided to pursue, loving your family, looking in the mirror and confidently knowing that you are bringing some aspect of goodness to others.

Take a moment and find out what you love about yourself. It could be something that the world has been patiently waiting for. . .

Iler Woods sheds light on hidden talents.

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