Today is one of those days where you need specialized gear if you are to venture outside in relative comfort and safety. It is cold, it is snowing, and the driving, gusty winds are stirring it all together to make a recipe for staying inside. It's a day for sitting on a couch and looking out the window, and for thinking many thoughts, and for wrestling the annoying voice of critical self-awareness that insists upon contradicting you, or on tinging even your simplest, most innocent notions with cynicism.
Today is a day of self-made anxiety. You want to be content, but your inner critic tells you you're a cliche; and then another, haughtier critic looks down upon this conflict gravely and suggests, like a parent to a child, that you continue your work on yourself.
Today is a day where, thanks to the lessons you learned from pushing through your many previous days of confusion, fear, isolation, despair, blank laziness, and harried perseveration, you simply tell yourself you love yourself. You tell yourself you love yourself without condition of becoming or growing into another, supposedly more enlightened, version of yourself. You say that you love yourself exactly as you are right now.
Despite what the snarky whispers of your cynicism would have you think, you tell yourself you love yourself because you know it to be true. You tell it to yourself because you mean it. You tell it to yourself because you respect the fact that it, along with the life you have built upon its principle, depends on your attention and care. Love cannot be taken for granted and be expected to simply show up; it must be made way for. It must be practiced. It must be stated and heard.
"You have to love yourself before you can love someone else" is a cliche, and it isn't literally true. However, the spirit of it is bulls-eye correct. Loving yourself is the foundation and the precondition for building authentically respectful, loving relationships with other people. Loving yourself makes it possible to enjoy your life and the people in it. It makes it easier to accept and deal with obstacles. And, speaking from my own experience, loving yourself makes you feel awake and alive--like a veil has been lifted.
The sky is still covered by an undifferentiated slab of slate-gray clouds. It is still snowing, and the gusts continue to rattle the trees. I am sitting on my couch. I am looking out my window. I am thinking my thoughts. It's quiet now, and only peace.