It is not obvious to many but I only started liking myself 5 years ago. Let me explain...
As the middle child, I always craved my parents' attention. You won't believe it but friendships did not come easy! I knew in my heart I was worthy, but it seemed like people never quite appreciated me -- or maybe it was that they never really saw me. I was forever the lonely child, trying to find love and to feel loved. Yes, I am now happily married and am lucky to have a husband who loves me, but the insecurity still nagged.
It wasn't until I turned 50 that my perception of myself finally shifted.
David threw me a surprise birthday party -- after my incessant threats -- and delivered a very sweet speech. Then, when my daughter Sophie took to the microphone to read her speech, I started to panic..."What is she going to say?!" I was sure she was going to make fun or be silly...
She started describing my character, flaws and all -- "My mother is brutally honest, opinionated, unfiltered, impossible. But what you see is what you get. You'll always know where you stand." She then went on to list a few other traits -- warm-hearted, loving, silly, playful. As she continued, she spoke with such compassion and empathy, acknowledging the vulnerability few people knew I had.
"You will never find someone more authentic and sincere than my mother. Her delivery might shock you but her heart is always in the right place, with the best intentions...She says it all with true passion and love."
It was the first time someone so close to me described me with all my faults and virtues mixed together. As I was listening, I realized I actually really liked the person she was describing! I thought to myself, if this amazing person she is describing is me, then what is there not to love? With empathy and wit, she painted a beautiful picture -- if not always a flattering one, certainly a genuine one. It filled my heart with great appreciation and love. For the first time in my life, I felt worthy and loved. The power of words...
Since then, my family has developed a more personal way to celebrate one another. In addition to a "physical" gift, we write each other letters, a capsule of the year behind, with all the ups and downs, the stories that happened and shaped our lives, from our personal points of view.
These are letters of love that will be left behind for our children and their children to read. Each year should be remembered and celebrated. The power of never knows how transformational they can be. And to hear from your child the words you have been craving your entire life...I was lucky!

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