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Love Thyself

I am pretty good at loving other people. “What a weird thing to say, Chaya.” It’s true, though. You need someone to grab something from the store for you? Ask me. Just need someone to listen to your aches, pains, and woes? I’m your gal. I will go there, do that, find this, connect you with that resource, pray, reach out, hold space, validate, and the list goes on. I will try my best to offer the best I can to someone else. Someone else.

Do I do these things for myself? Hardly.

Is the thing from the store “just for me”? Pass. Do I allow myself to process my aches, pains, and woes? Only after I’m completely knocked on my ass. I will not go there, do that, find this, or get connected with that resource for myself. I won’t reach out, hold space, or validate myself. I have to say, I do occasionally pray for myself, but in light of everything else, I’m surprised Hashem ever takes the time to honor it.

I wonder where the tendency comes from. Is it social training? Is it hereditary? Is it both?

Life is hard. Life without in-person, hands-on support is hard. Life with minimal resources is hard. Life without communal spiritual and emotional support is hard. Life, even with all of those things, is still pretty hard.

So, I guess I should just give it up then, right? Because it’s hard?

The thing with being “ready to give up” is that the phrase implies I’ve done all my preparatory work. I’ve done everything I can to be “ready”. With that in mind, I’m not ready. I haven’t done everything I can.

The truth is, I haven’t exercised in months. Not even so much as routine stretching. Not even a toe-touch.

The truth is, I haven’t committed to a consistent practice that is 100% alone (which I know I need).

The truth is, though I’ve been doing better with eating food in general, I could do better with nourishing myself according to my needs.

The truth is, I can’t remember the last time I earnestly said the blessings in my Siddur (Jewish prayer book) at their appropriate time.

I pray. I have inconsistently journaled. And reflecting is a part of my nature. But the rest of it, well…

I am terrible at loving myself, but I have no legitimate excuses. I am perfectly capable of making time to exercise (anyone can at least do stretches, anywhere!) and even to exercise alone, prayerfully. Three birds with one stone. Meat may be expensive, but I have TWO cabinets full of nourishing loose-leaf herbs, not to mention a whole wilderness-full of wild nutrition that I am skilled enough in identifying.

I have to love myself. I need me to love me. It’s one thing to be a hypocrite about holistic health and lifestyle, it’s another to effectively abandon my family because I couldn’t— no, wouldn’t get my own crap together.

What’s more is that I was made for a purpose. I’m a creature hand-selected and designed by the Creator of the Universe. For context, I just recently became annoyed with a friend when he stored his axe by hacking it into a nearby living tree. I should be looking in the mirror and honoring myself with the same fervor.

Thank God for renewal. Thank God for mercy. Thank God for the breath in my lungs, and the capability to learn from my mistakes and try again.

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