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For Christmas each year, my siblings and I draw names for gifts.  We are all immature enough to require presents, yet mature enough to not want to buy one for everyone.  Such well rounded individuals... our parents must be so proud.  Anyway, my sister drew me this last year, and she gave me something I am cherishing more and more with each passing day.  This book has a simple prompt in it for each day of the year, and you repeat through it for three years.  Some of the prompts are easy for me to answer, but some are quite difficult.  This last week I came across one that was difficult and it's been bothering me for a few days now.

Most prompts take me 1-3 minutes to fill in.  This one? Over and hour.  And that was for the first two.  As I thought about that for a bit, I was struck at how readily I can come up with things to say about others.  If someone came to me and asked me to list three nice things about anyone I knew, I could rattle them off with no struggle.  Why then, couldn't I do that for myself?  In our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I serve as a leader for the 14-15 year old girls.  We have a weekly activity on Wednesday nights, and this last week that fell the day after I had seen this prompt from my list journal.  At our activity, a woman I admire stood and invited everyone in attendance to think of someone they would like to love better. 
Our theme for the year is found in John 14:15, and it begins with the phrase "If ye love me..." we talked about love and how showing others pure love also shows Christ love.  As I thought about that concept, I tried to think of someone I could love more.  Who did I struggle with?  What person in my life needed my kindness? Of all the individuals in my life, the person that I thought I needed to work hard at loving better was myself. 

This last week I set two goals for myself: 1. Follow the plan I've laid out to love myself more, and 2. stop keeping kind thoughts I have to myself.  Two weeks ago I was walking in to a store and walked by a beautiful woman.  She was tall, had a perfectly styled top knot, stylish clothes, and a beautiful toddler daughter holding her hand.  She and I made eye contact and I smiled.  She, however, looked me square in the face and said "You are beautiful!" It wasn't loud or boisterous, but rather a statement that felt as genuine as my love of diet dr pepper, and it took me so off guard I stumbled over and embarrassed "thank you."  I thought back to that moment as this last week, and how her comment made me feel.  I have thoughts like that about people all the time. 

That woman is such a good mom!

I admire her hair.

Look at how patient that woman is as she waits for her fiiz!

The simple act that woman demonstrated by voicing a kind thought changed my whole day.  I immediately stood a little taller and felt better about myself.  I would love to be able to pay it forward, so I've decided that my two main goals for this year are going to be to love myself better, and voice my kind thoughts and observations.  Here's to hoping these last longer than March 1. 


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