I am precious. I cherish who I am.

I can feel some discomfort even as I type these words. I believe them, that is, I think they are true, yet I definitely don’t always feel them. It’s really helpful for me to remember that the feelings are not the most important thing, that they develop over time. The magic happens when I believe that I am precious and act in a way that cherishes who I am.

This shift in thinking and action is definitely a journey, a work in progress, but one that grows with time. Every positive thought I have (I am beautiful, I have something to offer, I’m a loyal, kind friend) and every act of self-care (a walk in the woods, a phone call to a friend, going to bed early) nourishes something inside that wants to grow, to stand tall, to bloom.

This isn’t a process that is happening in isolation, but in community. It is interesting to notice that as I am learning to cherish who I am, I am surrounded by and continuing to meet like-minded souls, people who inspire and encourage me. I develop greater courage by witnessing the bravery of others, develop deeper compassion as I feel seen and accepted by these beautiful souls.

Life continues to present challenges, I still get tired, grumpy, ill, worried; the human experience doesn’t suddenly become plain sailing. Instead, I develop a deeper appreciation for the small things, find nourishment in the everyday. I believe I am still precious even when I’m tired and grumpy and therefore treat myself with greater kindness and compassion.

Earlier today I saw someone I haven’t seen for a few months. She commented on how well I am looking and asked what has changed. Without missing a beat, I replied, ‘thanks, I’m learning to love myself’. And even better, she didn’t think that was a weird answer, she thought it was wonderful.

I am precious. And so are you. I cherish who I am. I hope you cherish who you are.