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Sunset in Stockholm © Photo by Louisa Hansen

For the first time in my life, I am truly appreciating the extraordinariness of myself. I’m appreciating me for real.

All the past affirmations saying that “I love myself” pale in the face of this revelation.

I finally see the extraordinary qualities in me—including that of being extremely intuitive—and don’t give a hoot about whether anybody else sees that or even understand what that means. I used to be frustrated because I just couldn’t get other people to appreciate me for who I really am. Or more likely, I refused to completely give in to any of the compliments showered on me—because I simply did not believe, in my heart of hearts, that I deserved them. I didn’t believe I was truly that great. There was a tiny little voice that kept on nagging in the back of my mind, “No, you’re not that great. Don’t get carried away.”

Little did I know, that this tiny voice has its origin in my mother. When I was young, I was a straight-A student. She was perhaps not unlike what is known today as a “tiger mom.” What characterized her interactions with me was, even though she was elated and proud of me each time I got a top score in my test or exam at school, she would immediately put a damper on my happiness by saying, “Don’t be proud. Work harder next time.”

I got a boxful of pencils, each representing a 100% score in a test. This box was lost after I moved to the United States and studied for my college degree. Why or how was it lost? Nobody in our constantly moving family knows, but it might have been a subconscious abandonment of the past achievements, each of which had been marred by a prerogative remark by my mother, who, out of her limited wisdom, merely wanted me to aim at ever-higher goals in life so that one day, I will become extraordinary—in her eyes.

But her eyes are constantly shifting to higher and higher goals, so in order to please her, I am on a tread mill that exhausts me to no end. Her love is based on extrinsic conditions. She never showed me that she would love me no…matter…what!

So I learned to become a human “doing.” I tried to constantly outdo myself, in the quest of becoming more and more perfect in whatever I did—to fulfill this perfectionist mom’s desires. I even continued long after I left the nest 20-some years ago. That little voice of hers has apparently rented the most precious space in my mind.

Now it has just dawned on me, that all the frustrations I have felt toward the world—the frustrations that nobody understands or appreciates me fully, comes from that negative little voice. It has prevented me from seeing the full glory of my “self.” It is like a blinder that limits my vision—inward.

Today is the day I finally took off the blinder and see myself clearly, for the first time.

No, it’s not a dramatic scene like the sky opened up with sun rays shining down. The revelation came bit by bit, while I was doing chores in the kitchen, waiting for the bus, falling half asleep during my commute. I am left gasping for air trying to fathom the vastness of this revelation. Yet the effect is already palpable. I no longer feel the desperate need to seek outward recognition. There is such a tremendous sense of contentment and inner peace. To write this all down and to share with you is not an attempt to get some “likes.” My fingers are dancing on the keyboard, urging me to spill it out and share it with the world: This is the day to celebrate myself!

And from now on, every single day will be a celebration!