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Fall Back in Love with Yourself
by Winn Claybaugh
author of Be Nice (Or Else!) And What's In It For You

Simply put, you can’t give what you don’t have. It’s difficult to be nice to others when you’re not nice to yourself. And it’s difficult to be nice to yourself when you don’t feel good about yourself. If you think this sounds simple, harsh, complex, or like a lot of work, you’re right. Working on yourself and cultivating your own self-esteem is a lot of work. It’s a full-time job. You’ll never receive your final certificate of graduation and be told it’s time to stop working on your self-esteem. You’ll never arrive at a point in life when you make the announcement, “I have plenty of happiness and self-esteem. No more, thank you.”

Here’s a radical challenge: Make it a goal to fall back in love with yourself. When I give that challenge to a roomful of people in my seminars, I usually hear lots of nervous little giggles. For some reason, even the thought of “falling in love with me” seems extreme, and people reject the validity of the notion.

Why would you want to make it a goal, and eventually a reality, to fall back in love with yourself? Once again, this book is about seeking and sharing happiness, joy, purpose, and fulfillment. To offer those gifts to others, you first have to own them yourself. Again, at the risk of sounding redundant, you can’t give what you don’t have.

I once had the honor of knowing a wonderful woman named Noel DeCaprio. The owner of the Noelle Spa for Beauty and Wellness, she was quite successful in her career and business, and she was heralded by many as a mentor and leader within her industry. She’d been featured and interviewed in magazines and on television for her wisdom, and many people looked to Noel for coaching, her business ideas, and her “you can do it” approach.

Noel had also experienced a fourteen-year battle with breast cancer, which eventually took her life in December 1998. I interviewed Noel for an audiotape to raise money for breast cancer research at City of Hope’s National Medical Center six months before her passing. In that interview, she shared that after her double mastectomy and months of chemotherapy, she looked in the mirror and hated herself. As she beheld the massive scarring and her bald head, she felt embarrassed by the fact that cancer could show up in her body, and she despised herself for it.

Now remember, Noel was a mentor to many people. They looked to her for inspiration, yet when she looked in the mirror, she hated herself. Noel was wise enough to know she had to find a way to fall back in love with herself, and she did it by making bathing a ritual. Every day, she’d spend hours in the ritual of bathing. She focused on the bath salts, the candles, the oils and creams, and the aromas. She’d spend time visiting little boutiques that sold such items, and even though she was buying them for herself, she’d have the store gift wrap everything. She put so much time into something that she’d never before had the time for—something that seemed so selfish and narcissistic—that eventually one day she woke up and realized she was back in love with herself.

Once Noel fell back in love with herself, she told her family, friends, and staff, “Tell everyone I have cancer. I’m out of the closet, and I want everyone to know so I can help as many people as I can.” Noel told a wonderful little story about preparing to go out to a fundraising dinner, placing her scarf on her bald head, and still feeling a little unsure of herself. Her adorable and supportive husband Peter looked at her and said, “Now you go out there and show them how to have cancer!”

How Noel went on to raise money and awareness for cancer was unbelievable. But let me ask you: Could she have accomplished so much, and benefited so many people, had she not fallen back in love with herself?

To build your own gifts of happiness, joy, purpose, and fulfillment so you can offer them to others, and then validate more of those gifts for yourself, sometimes you might have to go through the motions of offering yourself gifts that you don’t believe you deserve.

If you knew your lover had had a bad day, you’d want to do something about it, wouldn’t you? Knowing that he or she was coming home from work, you might draw a nice bath, light candles around the bathtub, and place special salts or oils in the bathwater. Maybe you’d put on some soft music, turn down the lights, and turn the telephone ringer to “off.” You’d then greet your lover boy or lover girl at the door to grab their briefcase or purse, hand them a glass of wine, and send them in to take a well-deserved, melt-your-stress-away, long, relaxing bath. You’d do that for a lover, but when was the last time you did it for yourself? When was the last time you treated yourself with such respect and love?

My challenge for you and for myself is to just go through the motions. Tonight, you might be sitting in that bathwater thinking, What the hell am I doing here? That’s okay. Eventually, actions become habits, and habits become part of your personality, which builds your character and turns you into the type of person you were always meant to be, filled with blissful happiness and purpose.

Winn Claybaugh is the author of Be Nice (Or Else!) and “one of the best motivational speakers in the country,” according to CNN’s Larry King. A business owner for over 28 years with over 15,000 people in his organization, Winn is the co-owner of hair care giant Paul Mitchell’s school division. Winn has helped thousands of businesses build their brands and create successful working cultures. His clients include Southwest Airlines, the Irvine Company, Vidal Sassoon, Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, For Rent magazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Winn is a frequent guest on national radio and a regular contributor to online publications. Visit www.BeNiceOrElse.com to sign up for his free monthly Be Nice (Or Else!) newsletter.

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