Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Daddy- A Mirror for Self-Love

This Sunday at my church, Main Line Unitarian Church  the service was all about remembering loved ones that had passed on. In particular the names of those who had died over the past year were read aloud. On the list on Sunday was Steven James Doane, my father. However it was a mistake that my dad was on the list. My father died over a year ago in July of 2008.  As his name was read, a smile crept across my face. I took it as yet another sign that my daddy was letting me know he was with me.

In the year after my dad passed away, I expected to see signs of his "presence" but I never did. It wasn't until this  last month that I keep feeling like he is making his presence known.  Each time it feels like he is tapping me on the shoulder and whispering in my ear, "I love you Steffy and I am so proud of you!"

I know that if my dad was alive today, he would be saying those exact words to me.  When my dad died, I knew right away I had lost one of my biggest supporters. I will never forget the way my father looked at me. His admirations for the beauty he saw in me would be written all over his face. When I had troubles, he loved and supported rather than judged. Most of all my daddy didn't keep his feelings to himself. He told me how much he loved me, how beautiful I was and that he was proud of me all the time.  He helped me feel beautiful and loved no matter how "fat" I was.  He loved me in a way I did not know how to give to myself.

I believe most of us do not love ourselves unconditionally.  In fact our standards for our own self love are way higher than what  our loved ones set for us.  Just the other day a friend of mine confided in me that she was feeling bad about her weight after she overheard her daughters friends talking about her being "fat".  Her daughter however could care less about her weight.  She clearly loved her no matter what.   I asked her, "what if you could love yourself the way your daughter loves you?"

My father is gone and the reminders of him I am noticing might just be coincidence. Regardless, I am conscious now more than ever that is the unconditional love given to me by my father and by many other people in my life, that is the foundation for the self-love that is evolving inside of me. 

As I experience this "radical hateloss" I choose to love myself the way my father loved me. People in my life have always been mirrors for the great capacity I had to love myself.  Finally, I am seeing clearly the reflection that has always been available to me.

Look into the mirrors of your loved ones...what you can see...you are capable of. 

Me & my daddy at my wedding (11/8/03),
unconditionally loving me at my heaviest.
I felt beautiful even at 400lbs on my wedding day.


"So, be very mindful about who and what you invite into your internal dialogues. It has a profound impact on your life. When you invite anger, you experience anger; when you invite fear, you experience fear; when you invite worry, you experience worry. On the other hand, when you invite joy, you experience joy; when you invite peace, you experience peace; when you invite love, you experience love. "
-Yanni Maniates

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