When I was a teenager, I started making the habit to wash my face each evening before bed.
I take the time for the water to warm, gently wash off the day’s experiences and finally take a bit of moisturizer and massage that in. What started out as advice from my mother (that I was reluctant to receive) turned into my favorite act of self-care.
Because it isn’t just washing my face anymore.
Over the years it developed into a beautiful moment where I look myself in the eyes and mentally affirm my self-worth. I see myself stripped of hard and tiring efforts in my day, my skin is happy and glowing and I catch that sparkle in my eyes that I have always loved. It is a simple moment of self-love, to know that I am beautiful and have value on this earth; to see that I am powerful and capable despite my weaknesses.
There were times though when it was hard to look in the mirror, when I averted my own gaze. Losing James sent me in a tailspin in which I forgot who I was and what I was capable of. I remember rubbing my face aggressively and the times when I did look in my own eyes, they looked so sad that I could never stare for long. I was scared of myself. Scared of what my own grief could do to me, scared of its power to transform my eyes so that they lost that sparkle. I could feel my own sadness when I looked in the mirror and it would send me to tears.
Have you ever watched yourself cry? Big tears well up and fall as your face contorts and swells; it confirms that you look as sad as you feel.
But there wasn’t only sadness, there was a lot of bitterness and shame. I was mad at myself, at my body for such an act of betrayal. I didn’t feel strong or capable, I felt contempt.
So I spent months, routinely washing my face, moisturizing but skipping that moment of self-love.
I have learned that Heavenly Father is acutely aware of us and is always trying to reach us. He desires to send His words of peace and love straight into our hearts, that it can flow from that central point to the rest of our being. If it starts at the heart, it will make it to the brain, to the eyes. Then we can think and see clearly what He sees.
In those months of sadness, I began studying the concept of individual-worth. Not of my own curiosity, but as part of program called Personal Progress that was created by my church. As I studied the assigned scriptures and sought out talks given by inspired men of God, the reality of how much Heavenly Father knew me started to hit. I started to remember moments where He was mindful of me, I started feeling His infinite love so fully that I started looking at myself in the mirror at the end of each day.
When I did, I saw how much love can transform us for the better. The love we have for our families and children fills us with purpose and strength; the love our Father has for us because we are His children is a constant reminder of our worth. His love is infinite and He extends that infinite love to each an every one of us.
When I look at myself in the mirror at the end of each day, good or bad, I take that moment to see myself as He sees me, as a child of God with infinite worth and a divine purpose.
It helps me see beyond my limited view and when I do I feel beautiful, I feel strong, but most importantly I feel His love.