My husband sent me a link today to a gif on Boing Boing that he proclaimed to be "The Coolest GIF of the Day." I'm linking it here. Feel free to take a moment to peek at it. I'll wait.
When I saw this, I was flooded with memories of watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood with my children when they were little. I learned how trikes and crayons were made, among other things, thanks to a humble minister and his low-budget children's show.
What I remember best about Mr. Rogers, though, was his kind acceptance of people "just the way you are." He liked everyone, no matter where they were on their path in life. If you were working to become a better person, that was a good thing, but that didn't mean you weren't valued for who you were right at that moment, before you had achieved your goals. You deserved kindness, and respect, and to like yourself. Even if you also wanted to become something better.
I have been struggling with liking myself just the way I am for a while. Life has been really chaotic, and filled with stress, and work has been so busy that I have not had time to get out and ride my bike or get to the gym or take care of myself in the way that makes me feel healthiest. That's frustrating, and it's made me feel impatient with myself and disappointed that I don't have the capacity to somehow find the time to do all I am doing *plus* the rest of everything.
In a way, it's a good sign that I'm noticing what I'm missing. For a while life was too crazy for me to even pay attention to that. It's a sign that, fingers crossed, things appear to be restabilizing.
But I have to be careful about my inner dialogue. It's easy to think that I should be now to just jump back on the bandwagon of everything I was doing before, and to ignore that changes in life may mean that the new "normal" doesn't look exactly like the old "normal" looked. And that is okay. If I don't accept that, I am likely to spend my time comparing and being disappointed in myself, which leads to a sense of defeat. I've been there before; I've given up in the past because I wasn't able to sustain a certain level of perfection. And the worry that I will do that again is one more worry on top of the heap of other worries.
But today a GIF of chain being made reminded me of Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Rogers reminded me that I am likable, just the way I am. I feel better about myself, and the self-defeating disappointment has been jettisoned before it could turn into loathing. I'm not perfect, but if I like myself I take care of myself better. I am special. I deserve to be loved.