I Love and Accept You As You Are

Stop whatever you are doing right now and find a mirror. Look into it, right in your eyes, and say these words, “I Love and Accept You Are.” Again. Now say, “I Love and Accept Myself As I Am.” One more time – you can do it! Let’s close with this, “I Deserve To Be Loved.” Repeat. Now I have something to tell you…

I Love and Accept You As You Are

I mean this. Visualize me looking right in your eyes and saying these words to you.

I Love and Accept You As You Are

and…

You Deserve To Be Loved

I want you to understand something. This is very hard for me to do. I am not someone that anyone would call affectionate. I don’t like to have my picture taken. I don’t like to hug anyone. For years I have hidden in my shell, rarely if ever coming out. For at least 25 years I have spent Valentine’s Day alone. On top of this I am not just saying these words to people you would label as “good” or “deserving.” I am saying these words to everyone in the world, without reservation or expectation of any kind. Everyone.

Why? Because nobody was ever born evil. Nobody was ever born bad. Those who have committed horrible crimes that we have locked away were not always the monsters they are seen to be now. Somewhere along the way they began to believe that they were bad or evil or somehow wrong. Or maybe they never felt that way about themselves, having been so badly damaged by the circumstances in their lives, usually in childhood, that they were corrupted and twisted into what they are now.

Here’s the thing… Throwing someone in jail, or strapping them to the electric chair. does not affect any positive, meaningful change in the person. In order for a person to change for the better they have to want to. That’s the first step. But how many men and women have walked out from behind bars into a world that sees them only as ex-convicts? How long can a person last against the onslaught of so many people telling them they are bad, scum, evil, etc? It would take someone of incredible strength of will to get through that. But most of us are fragile, tender, especially if we have begun to change ourselves.

The next step is up to us. For our own good and theirs we have to forgive. We have to let go. We have to help people change their perceptions of themselves by changing our perceptions of them. Do you know how many criminals would end up back in jail if every cop in the city in which they were released called them citizen or by their first name instead of convict or ex-con? Probably a fraction of those who end up back there now. That number would be further reduced if friends and family believed in them, saw only good in them, created and enforced a reality in which this person has changed for the better. That number would be eliminated if everyone that person encountered did the same.

This is how a person is reformed. Their only job is to make the decision to change for the better, believing and acting as if they already have. The rest is up to us.

So once more…

I Love and Accept You As You Are

This is my Valentine’s Day gift to you. I believe in you, I see you as a beautiful person, without limitations, free to love and accept yourself, and by doing so, freeing yourself to love and accept others. Now take this gift I have given you and pass it on to as many people as you can today. Let’s fill this Valentine’s Day with love, for ourselves, for each other and the world on which we live.

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