I can be ruled by lists. I like to write things down, so that I remember them, and I like to cross things off, so that I get that sense of accomplishment. But lately I’ve realized (well, I was told) that there is only one thing on my to-do list. One important thing.

I was sharing with a friend in my positive psychology certification course. I was telling her about a pain I had, an ache I was still breathing through. As we looked at my challenge, it became clear to me, again, that my best next action was to simply have more self-compassion and self-love. For where I am. For where I was. For all that happened. And for the fact that sometimes it hurts – I hurt – from all that happened. The anguish from decades ago can rise up, unexpectedly at times, and all I can do is have more self-compassion and more self-love.

Which is when my friend offered me the one thing that is, and should be, on my to-do list. On all of our to-do lists. Actually, she wrote it down on a piece of paper, folded it up, handed it to me, and encouraged me to open it and see what I had to do.

It said: To Do: Love myself first.

That’s it. That’s all.

There’s very little that can not be solved, or at least eased, by loving myself first. And more. By you loving yourself first. And more.

Shining that love on ourselves can fuel and soothe us. It can power us and comfort us. And it’s not that hard to do.

I’ve learned to put my right hand on my heart, to close my eyes, and to say (out loud at times, or at least in my thoughts), “I love you Lisa. It’s all okay.” I’ve learned to offer a hug to the friends (and sometimes strangers) around me – those who seem to be in pain and, why not, everyone else too.

I was walking down the street this morning, on my way to town. The gas company has been working on our street nearly all summer, and each day I walk by I say hello to the gas company workers, who by now are familiar to me. This morning one of them responded, “Why are you always so cheerful?”

“Why not?” I answered. “It’s better than the alternative.”

On my to-do list today – love myself first. Then armed with that love, I can weather my storms, delight in my day, and perhaps bring a bit of cheer to others.

To Do: Love myself first.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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