Loving Ourselves and Acknowledging Our Gifts

I have some pretty incredible people in my life. My friends and family members are constantly inspiring, encouraging, and helping me with all sorts of things. And each of them has such unique and wonderful gifts. But here’s the thing, as far as I can tell, none of us is able to see our unique and wonderful gifts clearly, all by ourselves. For some reason, maybe because we’re such social creatures, we seem to need one another to share, acknowledge, and reflect our awesomeness back to us. And when that happens, it’s like finally getting a clear view of an image that’s been blurry for years. It’s an “Aha” moment.

I’ve recently had several of these moments as I’ve connected with various incredible and inspiring women in my life. Last week, my dear friend Kendra reminded me that my compassion and understanding is unique and wonderful. It’s the water I’m swimming in and so it doesn’t seem all that special to me, but she pointed out how much it really matters to her that she knows she can come to me and I won’t judge her or tell her she’s wrong. Instead, I’ll see the positive intentions behind all of her actions and remind her what a wonderfully fabulous person I think she is.

Just today my friend Dawne acknowledged me for the years of study and preparation I did before I became a mom. She said something like, “Well, it totally makes sense to me that your daughter would be learning and thriving so incredibly well, I mean look at all the love, attention, and opportunities she’s had because of her incredible parents!”

When she said that, it really hit me. Wow, I HAVE been preparing for her and working to be the best mom (and person) I can be for such a long time now. And that is something that I can be really proud of. I’ve been standing a little bit taller ever since our conversation.

I think this kind of specific acknowledgment is so important and sorely missing from our mainstream culture. It’s different from receiving a compliment, or from offering groundless praise. It’s a reminder of our innate greatness, and we really are great, each of us for our own unique contributions to life and to love.

When we see the love, acceptance, or even awe on the faces of the people we love, respect, and admire it’s somehow easier to remember that we rock.

Self-acceptance has not always come easy for me. I’ve struggled to fully love and accept myself just as I am, including my desire to grow and change. It’s one of the conundrums of personal growth work. We want to grow and change, so something must be wrong with us, right? No way! We are all perfect just as we are AND we are hard wired to learn and grow and get better and better at being ourselves.

So this week, offer and receive some acknowledgment. Tell your sister why you think she’s such a great person. Ask your friend what he appreciates about you. Remind your child what you enjoy about getting to share your life with him. We’re not talking about empty praise here, but deep, meaningful acknowledgment of someone’s unique and wonderful gifts.

If you’re struggling with how to structure your acknowledgment, try this: “(Name) when you (specific moment in time or memory that you share), I felt (emotion word) and the impact on me was (share how this has improved your life in some way). I am so grateful for you and your gift of ____.

So here’s my acknowledgment for you. (Your Name Here) when you read my blog every week I feel so happy and excited because I know that I’m a part of a community of parents who want to be their best selves with their kids. It brings me so much joy to know that you exist and that we’re on this journey of life and parenthood together. I’m so grateful for you and for your participation in this community!

Now here’s my recently recorded “Mommy Pep Talk” video. Please watch it if you’re a mom or share it with a mom who could use a reminder that she is fantastic.

And have a wonderful week, Shelly


The other day I was talking with some other women about the concept of enough. What is enough? And for a while I was sitting thinking about what might be enough—a little bit more here, a little bit more there, and then, like many people before me, I’m sure, it was like a light glowing and bells ringing—“This is enough. Right now. I am enough. Period.” I wrote it down in my notebook, wrote it again and handed it to one of my friends. “I am enough. Period.”

This realization can give you the strength to move forward. We can grow and change from here without things being wrong—like you said. And I want to quote you @awakeshelly because it was so important-- "We want to grow and change, so something must be wrong with us, right? No way! We are all perfect just as we are AND we are hard wired to learn and grow and get better and better at being ourselves." @AwakeShelly

You are amazing as you are.



When I see you working and striving for your goals so enthusiastically and passionately, it helps me believe that I can do that too. I then feel close to you and want to be around you even more because you give off so much positive energy and love! Thanks for being you!