“Love yourself so no one else has to”
This quote was written on a plastic toilet paper roll holder in our local high school’s bathroom. I happened to notice it as I was taking a quick break from dance recital rehearsal with my young daughters. My first reaction was sadness…how awful that you wouldn’t want to burden anyone with loving you?
Almost immediately, though, I thought…wait…maybe this is pretty good advice.
Both of my daughters are avid dancers, my oldest just completing her 8th dance recital in her 9 years of life. For all eight recitals the formula is the same: classes start in August and run once a week through the end of the school year. The girls are assigned roles in a show that is performed the first weekend in June. Costumes are donned, makeup is applied and hair is meticulously twisted and pinned into the perfect dancer bun. Each class is allotted a two minute window on stage to show off all they have practiced and learned for the preceding nine months to an audience of parents, grandparents and any other friend or family member from which you can squeeze an applause. And the show goes on.
As I watched the latest recital, marveling at all that these young people have accomplished, I kept noticing that some kids were smiling ear to ear as they hit each position, while others were stoic and seemed to just be going through the motions. I couldn’t help but think of that bathroom quote, and I started to wonder if the stoic dancers were performing simply to be accepted, and appreciated, by the audience.
Now, we think that by dressing these kids up, forking over the money for expensive lessons and clapping wildly after each performance, we are fueling their self worth and encouraging them to stay on the straight and narrow path. But the thing is, the girls who are smiling ear to ear, truly enjoying themselves on stage, already love themselves. They know they are doing the best job that they can whether this is their first recital or their last. The costumes, the makeup and applause? Icing on their cake.
These kids love themselves and want to show the world how great they are. They aren’t worried that no one else will love them, they aren’t even thinking about that. They love themselves enough to smile and sashay across the stage over and over again because they want to. There is no ulterior self-confidence motive.
Those that aren’t all smiles and sunshine need to heed that message: “Love yourself so no one else has to”. You can’t live your life waiting for the next performance, the next chance for someone else to tell you how great you are and applaud all of your hard work. It’s up to you to love yourself and what you are doing enough so that if someone else appreciates it and wants to give you a standing ovation…well that’s just icing on your cake.