Happy Tuesday 14th February 2017
I spent much of this morning thinking how lucky I am. How much love is in my life, and trying to find the words to tell those I love how much they mean to me. Its an impossible task. But luckily there are poets in the world who can say what I cannot. I am very happily married and every day brings me so much love. I am a lucky human being. But, the success of our lives, or the amount of love we have in them will not be measured or defined by our relationship status. The most important lesson we can all learn in life is how to love ourselves.
Here is Dean Atta reading his poem 'How to Love Yourself' on the BBC website. Have a listen. Its joyous.Thank you to Dean for allowing me to put the full poem on the SoapBox website. Photography by Olly Woodman, taken at the SoapBox Poetry Club (John Peel Centre) Wednesday 26th October 2016, featuring Matt Annis, Piers Harrison-Reid, Honey & The Bear, and Dean Atta.
How to Love Yourself
Write your own list and only take from this the things that work for you.
A good nights sleep.
Drinking plenty of water.
Turning off your phone.
Cinema trips alone.
Do not make a list of your virtues and vices.
Do not do it because of your virtues or in spite of your vices.
Do not feed your fears. Your fears have an insatiable appetite.
Do not feed your ego. Your ego has an insatiable appetite.
Learn to live with a certain amount of hunger.
Do not expect to be full all of the time.
Do not place parts of yourself on the table to be dined upon.
Go to the library and take yourself off the shelf. Check yourself out. Read yourself. If you are not satisfied with how your story reads, make as many edits as you want to. Take the new edition of yourself back to the library and if asked about the edits, politely, or not so politely, remind them that you are the author.
When no one turns up to your poetry reading. Read the poems out loud anyway.
When no one turns up to be your father, grow up to become a great man anyway.
Say your name out loud until you feel good about the way it sounds. If that proves impossible – rename yourself.
Remember if you rename yourself for a laugh too many times on Facebook you may get stuck with a bad joke.
Learn to laugh at yourself more often.
Do not spend too much time on social media looking at other people’s photos, relationships, marriages or Valentines.
Refuse to acknowledge February 14th as any more important than any other day.
Do not compare your days to anyone else’s. Yes, you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé but you are not Beyoncé.
Find yourself attractive. If that proves impossible – relearn what attractive is.
You are not tinder, you are already flame.
Swipe right to your reflection every morning.
Say this in the mirror, “I accept myself unconditionally right now.”
Remember that just because someone is single and finds you attractive and good company that does not mean they will be able to love you. There are many reasons someone may not be able to love you that are not about you. Their reasons are not your faults, not your reflection. Their reasons belong to them.
Remember that no one belongs to you, but you. No one knows you as well as you do and your list needn’t read anything like this.
Written by Dean Atta (all rights remain with the author)
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