I am learning to love myself.
I confess, the whole notion seemed rather ridiculous when I started this journey. However, eighteen months and nearly thirty books later, I am beginning to think there is something to it.
As I read more and more, I found prompts to “dig deep,” “look inside,”” embrace the inner me,” I felt like already I had the whole thing covered. My sense of self-esteem has been pretty strong most of my life. I can speak about myself, my life and my work in affirming language. I am a deeply spiritual person; in my spiritual practice, I was taught that God loved me in Sunday school back in the 1960‘s. I never doubted that the Higher Energy, whom I call God, loved me. For me, love and God are indistinguishable. So why the crisis now? It is my habit to research anything that I find unsettling or confusing. In this case, landed on a few statistics.
According to a USA Today study of 501 adults, thirty-six percent of adults felt stress due to work. A close second, thirty-two felt anxiety about money. Ten percent reported that children were the biggest cause of their stress. Seven percent said it was ill-health that caused them to experience stress. Seven percent said stress in their lives was due to their marriages. Five percent felt that it was their parents that caused the most stress. Only five percent said they had no stress. If those are the averages, I deserve an A in Stress. By my calculation I am in the 95th percentile. The fact is that I perceive that, in the last eighteen months, I have worried about my career, money, my children, health concerns, and my marriage. Where, I wonder, do my parents, real estate, and friendships fit in on that scale? In any event, I would surmise that these stressors have pushed me to look at my life -- and the way I view it -- in a new way.
I have to start with myself. As horribly self-centered as it seems, we all have to start with ourselves. That’s where the odyssey of this stressed-out woman began. And, if the next phase of my life is anything like the last eighteen months, I suspect there is plenty of room for me to grow.