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The Art of Loving Yourself

Contented Gypsy | Chelsey Messy Hair Photo Op

To say I’m a hot mess is an overstatement. A warm mess perhaps. Or maybe just an at times mess. I have my fair share of mortifying moments. Just last week when I landed at LaGuardia’s terminal D, I walked all the way to the other side of the airport to my crashpad (about a 25 minute walk) before realizing I left my checked bag chilling back in baggage claim.

There’s also the time I felt like I was auditioning for the Amazing Race on my commute home. Thanks to the poorly designed LaGuardia airport, I had to walk outside and swap terminals for every attempt because each flight was with a different airline. I was unable to change out of my uniform into my incognito wardrobe because I had to go through security each terminal swap.

With only an hour between each flight, I was literally running outside from terminal to terminal (in high heels I might add). Of course this scenario isn’t happening when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. No. It’s taking place in a torrential downpour on an afternoon when my thigh high tights decide they would much rather be knee highs.

After running for the sixth terminal swap with some weird limp in a feeble attempt to keep my thigh highs in place, I had had enough. I hid between some parked taxis to fix my stocking situation right about the time the taxis decided to move. Mortified at my exposure, I missed the gigantic bus driving full speed ahead through a puddle I had yet to notice because it was under the formerly parked taxi.

In a slow motion moment meant only for movies, the bus drove through the puddle hitting me with a tidal wave of stagnant rain water. My dignity, waving goodbye from the taxi, left me sopping wet with my dress up to my waist exposed for all the car and pedestrian traffic to see.

Thankfully, the various shades of tomato I had become didn’t last long. I still had a flight to catch, but once I had a seat, was on my way home, and processed the scenario in it’s entirety, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically (causing quite a few stares from the family sitting around me). These are the situations I regularly find myself in, and I have learned that to survive my life, I need to laugh often.

To realize our flaws and cracks formed from life’s messiness are actually threads woven together to tell the bigger story of our lives.

I realized a long time ago (after noticing I had a laundry list of embarrassing scenarios to choose from) that it was either sink or laugh at myself. To find the humor in how the events of my life unfold. Don’t get me wrong, just because I can laugh at myself doesn’t mean I don’t end up panicked at my humiliation. I have simply learned none of these moments have killed me (nope still kicking it adding humor to other people’s day). People are going to chuckle at my misfortune regardless so I might as well join in on the fun.

We are criticized enough from others so it’s imperative we learn to like and eventually love ourselves. To realize our flaws and cracks formed from life’s messiness are actually threads woven together to tell the bigger story of our lives.

It’s impossible to please everyone. People are moody, temperamental, inconsistent. Some people are like cats who just glare at you from across the room with no real reason other than to creep you out and make you think they’re plotting your demise (“if only I had thumbs….”).  For these reasons, we shouldn’t allow the opinions of other to influence how we feel about ourselves. It can be a challenge to stop the self criticism, but baby steps lead to habits, and before you know it, self loathing turns into self appreciation and begins to take over your routine (kind of like the way Starbuck’s frappes have snuck into my mornings).

With a multitude of mediums to spew words and insults at each other, it’s important we don’t become critics of ourselves amongst the naysayers. An excellent place to start learning the art of loving yourself is to realize where our confidence should lie. As Lysa TerKeurst writes, “Maybe this is the true secret to being fulfilled and content – living in the moment with God, defined by His truth, with no unrealistic expectations for others or things to fill me up.”

Contented Gypsy | Lucille Ball Quote

The type A side of my personality is a big list maker (finishing them, now that’s a whole other story). Perhaps you are more of a free thinker, and the idea of lists makes you want to volunteer for a root canal. Either way, I highly recommend spending some time writing down the qualities you love about yourself whether you do this with bullet points or you just put words abstractly on paper. Just get jotting. Maybe you have a grand smile or you make a mean pot roast. Perhaps you’re a great listener or a good conversationalist (that’s at the top of my list). Include them! Focus on what you love about you! Keep in mind this isn’t a one time list. Edit and check it often.

I’m also keen on finding joy and thanksgiving in small everyday things. It’s been my experience that when I only have happiness when exciting events are happening to me, my emotions are are a carnival ride mess. As a supporter of intentional living, I’m a firm believer in keeping attempting to keep your emotions even keel on a regular basis. There will certainly be stressful days where you will dominate that candy dish at work, but the point is your happiness needs to come from within and not from outside situations which happen to you.

…your happiness needs to come from within and not from outside situations which happen to you.

The only consistency is inconsistency, and it’s a cliche statement for a reason. There are very little facets of our lives in which we are able to have complete control of the outcome. While we can control getting fat from enjoying too much junk food (those darn Starbuck’s frappes), becoming broke after a weekend shopping spree, or a rain forecast on the day we choose to straighten our hair, there are some aspects of our lives which we have no control.

The harder we try to control the various variables we face each day, the more frustrated we become when the results aren’t what we envisioned in our fantasy scenario. You do not have to just take my word on it. Check out Proverbs 19:21, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” When you start to feel attacked by situations out of your control, step back from the situation. Clear your head, say a quick prayer, and evaluate what part of the problem you do have control over such as your attitude. This allows you to properly handle what’s currently happening in your life.

I interact with so many people throughout my day and have realized those who are the happiest are the individuals who generally like themselves. As I was sitting squished in my middle seat bound for “home,” ignoring the stares from the family surrounding me, and noticing my hair was drying in an awful style of frizz, I reflected on the fact of none of us are perfect. We will always have traits or baggage we are working to change, but the key to enjoying life here on Earth is to embrace the person God created us to become.

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