For what seems like such a simple concept, learning to love yourself first so you can love another is actually such an overlooked one. Before I become a mother, I realize that I actually never truly loved myself. I did not take care of my needs, even though I thought I was at the time. I have to thank my son, Jackson, for making me a mother and giving me the gift of loving myself. Becoming a mother has pushed me to points I never thought I would be at, forcing me to recognize where I was lacking.
Loving myself means I have to stop comparing myself to others, to give myself grace, to recognize when I need to ask for help, and to only surround myself with supportive friends. Most importantly, I’ve come to understand that self love is a never-ending journey, not a destination; its continually evolving. Brene Brown said it best: “You can only love your child as much as you love yourself." By loving myself, I am in turn, the best type of mother, wife and friend that I can be.
The symbol that speaks to me the most is the elephant. I am an elephant through and through. I am a very independent and bold woman who is determined in everything I set my mind to— and it is very obvious in all that I do. As I continue to watch Jackson grow up, I hope that my sense of wonder and zest for life translates into his own life and if it does not, that he has the courage to try again tomorrow.
Teaching Jackson to love himself means the whole of himself, the flaws and all. I scream, I have no patience, I get frustrated on a short fuse; we are all human and nobody is perfect. But teaching Jackson to recognize, understand and overcome those traits and accept them as part of who he is, is going to teach him to love every part of himself. I want him to know the imperfect parts of him are what makes him so special.
- Natasha Huang Smith (@jetset.away)