A Radical Proposal For Valentine’s Day

In my 20s, in a little hole in the wall on the upper east side of Manhattan, I got the best haircut of my life. So I followed the guy faithfully over the years as he repeatedly upgraded to ever nicer and fancier places.  Eventually he opened the first hair salon at Barney’s, a very fancy place indeed.  By then, he mostly cut movie stars and celebrities, plus a few of us persistent enough to have followed him all through the previous decade. By then, I was 30-something, a new mother, and a new resident of Orange County. As I sat in his chair, intimidated by my posh surroundings, I stared in the mirror and criticized my appearance.  “Stop!” he interrupted, and reeled off a list of names, some of whom are still known for their beauty today.  “Not one of them”, he said, “can sit in that chair, look in the mirror, and like what they see.”

Making Peace With Yourself

I was struck by the proverbial lightning bolt.  It clearly wasn’t about how beautiful the rest of the world finds you, how perfect your features are, or how young, rich or famous you are.  After all, if those gorgeous celebrities felt dissatisfied with their famous faces reflecting back at them, what hope could I have?

How do we make peace with our reflection?  How can we unlearn the harshness, and replace it with the kindness we would naturally and simply offer to a child, or a stranger? It makes them glow and soften with joy and pleasure, so they appear more beautiful, and it has the same effect on us.

You Deserve Love, Kindness

So it’s Valentine’s Day, and you’re hoping to receive a love letter. One that  acknowledges your strengths and your weaknesses and promises to love and accept you for both, that honors your joys and your sorrows, and lets them both be okay, that recognizes the difficulties you have overcome and offers you compassion for the ones with which you still struggle.  I have a radical suggestion for you: write it yourself.  It can be ten words, or ten pages.  Write it out, read it aloud. To yourself, in the mirror.  You deserve love. You deserve kindness. Happy Valentine’s Day.

“You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha

This was originally published as my Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record. Link to original article here.
%d bloggers like this: