“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

– Carrie Bradshaw, Sex in the City

It was one of those record hot days and of course it happened to be a day we were throwing an event in the barn. I was racing around and didn’t have time to change before the guests started arriving, so I decided to just wing it. One of our friends was taking photos and when I saw the picture of me, my first reaction was… “who is that woman and what has she done to my body?” Never mind the smile and twinkling eyes, I went right into the mode of critic…picking myself apart.

Why do we do this? I realize we are in a culture where the perfect picture of female beauty is plastered across everything we see from social media, advertisement and shopping malls, but I’m a feminist and have a degree in Women’s Studies. I know better! The pressure to show up as an air-brushed version of myself forgets the beauty of what my life has been…a student of the mystery of life, a mom of wonderful children, a wife, a politician, a writer, and a believer in possibility. When we look beyond the mirror and see through to our souls and our passions for life, we get a different picture of a person who is really quite amazing.

So if you have been in my shoes and forgotten to look beyond the surface at the wonder-filled person you are, I invite you to take another look. Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite authors, calls perfectionism “fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified.” We all want to be loved and cherished, and the truth is if we look within, it is waiting there for every one of us. Maybe if we give ourselves a break from perfection, we will see magic. That smile that loves life, the eyes that behold everyone in a unifying grace, and a desire to bring everyone together at the table. Well, that sounds pretty royal after all.

Words have power and it is essential to our self-esteem to use words of love. How can you define yourself in the most loving and beautiful words? Take a moment each day to write down your favorites…it is the best gift you can give the most important person in your life…yourself!

photo credits: our good friend, Ed Williams 🙂

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