When the kid was learning to speak, I began a nightly “thanking” ritual that we did after reading books and turning off the light. Part of the exercise was to recall the day and where we’d received kind gestures or gifts from others. I let her do her own set of thanking people (I went first, so she could think), and, very early, she bowled me over.
“I thank myself for thinking of going swimming. I thank mommy for swimming with me. I thank myself for having fun.”
Woah, I thought. She thanked herself!
My daughter was around two when she started this nightly exercise. At that point in time, true self-love and acceptance was a new-ish thing I was growing into, and I realised: My daughter already had it.
I never chastised her for thanking herself, because the energy she exuded—self-love, joy, and glee—was amazing. We should all have that energy of loving self and loving life. Till now, I’m still trying to follow her example. Every night, she thinks of her own acts of self-care more readily than I can.
Well, I can do it, but it’s kinda lazy sometimes: “Mommy thanks myself for getting lots done today.” If I work harder at it, I thank myself for doing the hard tasks, giving myself little indulgences, and treasuring myself. If it’s a busy time, I thank myself for the people I talk to, the access I have to wisdom, and breathing.
Yet, I know the moments I’m most grateful are exactly when I am receiving the gifts, though of course I love this bedtime ritual–I never know what the child’s going to say! And I’m grateful to myself for letting her show me how to love self.