Can I accept myself fully, all of who I am? It’s a bit of a scary question. When I dig deep, when I catch glimpses of those parts of myself from which I sometimes hide – can I really and truly draw in and embrace those parts of me? Can I say that, no matter what, I won’t reject myself? I won’t turn on myself. I won’t leave myself lonely, out in the cold, and hurting without comfort? I haven’t, all of my life, understood that kind of love. The love I understood was far more conditional – I feel loved if I perform this way or look that way or say the right things. In my young, underdeveloped brain that’s how I understood the world. Over time and lots of healing, adapting, and creating flexibility, I have come to understand that I really can practice unconditional love with myself. That no matter how someone else is frustrated with me, not understanding me, or even attacking me I can hold onto myself. And when the voices of my own past, that reverberate inside me, seek to attack me – even then, I can hold onto myself. I can love those parts of myself too. It all comes from pain. And if I hold on, and refuse to let go, I can heal the pain. Today, I will practice awareness of the most ashamed and hurt parts of myself and I will hold them.