Appreciating Yourself for Who You Are

Springtime is just around the corner here in Washington. The air is a smidge softer, the sun a bit brighter, the skies a little more blue, and the ground is swollen with bulbs, awaking from their wintry slumbers, working their way up through the hard, cold ground.

I look forward to the moment I spy my first crocus, my first forsythia bloom, my first daffodil.  Each of these glorious creations adds so much color and beauty to the world. And while, they’re all flora, one thing is certain: a daffodil will never be mistaken for a crocus.

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Now, why do I bother saying something so patently obvious? Because we can learn a lot from our floral friends in terms of appreciating who we are and not trying to be someone else. Think how difficult it would be if all a daffodil ever wanted to do was be a crocus; a daffodil would make a lousy crocus! Where one is low to the ground, sporting cool colors, the other is defined by its long, green stalk and brilliant yellows. Our world would not be improved if there were more daffodils at the expense of our crocus friends.

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This is important to remember when grappling with a situation of personal dissatisfaction. It’s even more challenging when society sends messages about what is “ideal”: the ideal body, the ideal family, the ideal education. You know the drill. It’s not that this is a message or an observation that hasn’t been made a million times before, but, somehow, when the analogy is made between two glorious flowers, it feels a little bit easier to accept.

I could dedicate a part of each day moaning about how much I wish I had the physique of an Olympic volleyball player or the delicate finesse of a ballet dancer but that’s never going to happen! Besides, ballet dancers’ feet are a mess and volleyball players skin can get leathery after so much time in the sun. In other words, they may have their glorious pluses, but so do I! So do you! At times, it can feel nearly impossible to appreciate all the solid good in us just being ourselves, but those around us can see it—that’s one of the bonuses of enjoying their company. And to turn it around, think how concerned you feel when you see a good friend or your child diminish their own charms out of a misplaced desire to be something they’ll never be.

Is a daffodil better than a crocus? Does it have a more meaningful existence? Is it appreciated more or does it reflect any greater glory? The next time you’re tempted to run yourself down while building another person up, I want you to think about this analogy. It may not be clear what the exact purpose of the daffodil or crocus is, but we’re glad to see them every spring. We’d miss the absence of one, even if there were a hundred fold more of the other that same day.

If you can be all embracing of these two very different flowers, perhaps you can extend a little of this appreciation to yourself.

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