I was challenged to write a list of some of the beautiful things about myself now, right now. Not “if I lost weight” but the authentic Kathleen. A list of the beautiful things about who I am regardless of what condition my body is in.
This is very hard for me. It feels arrogant. I have spoke many times about my Religious Fundamental upbringing. I have a very solid love for my Lord, but I was raised with some legalistic ideas that have had a lifetime of negative affects on me. One of those fundamental beliefs was to be very humble, and think of yourself last. “Love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:31. I’m not going to make this a Sunday school lesson, but I do want to make the point that I got this verse all wrong.
Love my neighbor as MYSELF! Or, Love myself as my Neighbor! It’s OK to love yourself, Even God says so. Where this gets twisted is when we think we have to neglect ourselves, and believe we are less than everyone. I spent a lot of time developing my sweet, kind personality and spirit to compensate for my looks. I was always last, I was the servant. In fact I was never a bridesmaid in any of my friends weddings, I was the personal attendant dozens of times. I don’t fault my friends, I put myself in that position. I created myself to fit that mold.
There is a line between confidence and cocky. I do not like cocky. I never have. Probably because I struggled with such low self esteem most of my life. But it is very possible, to be confident and humble. This is about knowing your worth, yet realizing everyone else has worth as well. I can celebrate my value and celebrate those around me as well.
The transgression comes when we think we are better or more important that our sisters and brothers. We not only have the right, but God wants us to celebrate the gifts he has given all of us. He gives them to us to use! Have you ever given someone something you are so excited about, because you know it’s something they need and can really use, then they never use it, or they save it? That’s how God must feel when we don’t appreciate or use the gifts He has given us.
Well, here is my list. These are big and little things I am good at, now and forever. One of the perks of having this realization and new confidence is that it removes jealousy, and allows me to celebrate other peoples gifts as well.
A Creative spirit which includes;
- being a really good hairdresser
- an artist
- creative sewing
- a writer
- a really creative cook
- a progressive and tasteful eye in fashion and decorating
An ability to have a heart for people, this allows me to;
- being a good friend
- understand complex people
- a drive to help when there is a need
- The ability to love and nurture many people
- The ability to allow people to safely open up around me
- helping others to see their talents and gifts
- helping others feel good about themselves
A sense of humor ( not to be confuses with sarcasm which I use to do, it was my pain coming out sideways all over the people I loved. Or I used the shock factor to gain attention.)
A deep love for all living things
The ability to become childlike and play with children on their level (I am really good at playing with Barbies)
Comfortable being alone and with myself
And most of all, a deep love for God and a desire to show that love through loving others.
I am not perfect, and some of these things I have failed miserably. But when I am confident and feel complete just the way I am, some of these things just flow out of me naturally.
What are the beautiful things about you? My list is no better or bigger than any of yours. I’m just learning to embrace them and be grateful for what God has given. I encourage you all to make a list of your own. Only until we know what we have can we fully use it.