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  • The Radical Notion of Self-Love

    You may have noticed I forgot to write my usual blog yesterday. In fact, it was my daughter’s birthday and I joyfully neglected all things work-related. Happy birthday, Rivlet!

    In honor of River’s birthday, I’m going to do something I’ve been shying away from for weeks. I’m going to dig deep and find the courage to share a piece of my forthcoming self-help book. Giving birth to this manuscript was almost as painful and heartfelt as the real deal. And just like the true experience of parenthood, it continues to give me insomnia and indigestion, as I search the far corners of the internet for my soulmate, the literary agent.


    Anyway, I hope you love it. Leave a comment here and please share it far and wide!

    The radical notion of self-love

    Self-care is hard enough for people to commit to, but self-love? Self-love is a radical notion. Even so, there are some people who come by “self-love” naturally. From the incessant and questionable licking of his lower bits, I’m going to assume doggo has “self-love” down pat.

    I also think children start off with great potential for self-love. Let me tell you a quick story about that:

    Soon after my daughter learned to write, she asked for a journal. She chose a fuzzy pink diary with a picture of a puppy on the front. (Awww.) It had a lock and a key. It was a kindergartner’s dream. She opened it up and proudly wrote her name inside the front cover. Then she asked me how to spell “secret.” She told me I’m allowed to read it “because family doesn’t keep secrets,” but no one else could touch the prized diary. Then she created the coolest journaling exercise. She called it “River’s Love List.” One by one, she named all of her classmates, family members, pets, and neighbors, asking me to spell each one. After completing three solid pages, she set down the pencil and proudly recited the names.

    “River, you’re missing someone really important on your Love List,” I told her.

    “Nuh-uh. Benji’s on it.” (Be still, my heart.)

    “But it’s River’s Love List. So who else should be on it?” I pushed.

    She rolled her eyes, “Just tell me, mommy.” Cheeky little monkey.

    “You! You should be on your own Love List! Rivlet, put yourself at the very top!”

    She giggled self-consciously and squeezed her name into numero uno. Then we pretended to make a YouTube video about Love Lists. (Hey, I’m a twenty-first-century parent!)

    Whether you’re five years old or forty-five, you deserve to be on your own Love List. And it’s a damn shame that not including your own name is pretty normal.

    Today’s Journaling Prompts

    • Who is on my Love List?
    • On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I love myself? Why?
    • On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I deserve to be loved? Is there something I need to do/be/have in order to deserve love? (We’ll come back to that later.)

    Today’s Act of Relentless Self-Love

    Pick one person from your Love List and ask them what they love most about you. Even if your dog is near the top of your list, I’m suggesting that you select a human, as conversation is easier. Accept what your person says without argument, without doubt, and without input from your inner critic. Take in their raw, unabridged answer and write it in your journal for posterity.

    Stay tuned for more excerpts from my manuscript, Love Yourself Like Your Dog Loves You (Unconditionally). And as always, take care of yourself.

    Annalisa & Benji

    1. Lana Lindenmuth

      Lana Lindenmuth

      August 12, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      I absolutely love what you wrote about self-love and that story about River’s Love list is so precious. I can’t wait to read more!

      I learned a long time ago that you cannot truly love others well until you love yourself properly and allow yourself to be loved.