Self-Love Series: Shannon


It's Day 2 of the Self-Love Series and I'm thrilled about this guest contributor! She's truly been a source of light in my life, especially while in college. I'm thankful for her presence and her ability to genuinely listen.  

Day 2 Self-Love Series

One of my favorite memories with my kids is pulling up to a pizza place in a mini-van and having my kids pile out saying, “everyone’s going to wonder about this multicultural family!” It’s true. I am the mom to a beautiful group of young people who embody some of the richest colors of the planet. I am just their mom for four short years, as I run a scholarship program they participate in while in college, but in that time we become a family. I am their leader. I have to be strong and steady and sure of myself. However, this is not always my disposition and even when I am strong it does not come easy.

Recently I met with one of my students and could see the pain in her eyes as she talked to me. I told her, “You have to be kind to yourself. It’s the most important thing. I’m not always good at it.” I told her that I know that it seems like I’m super confident and exuberant, but honestly I don’t always feel that way. Sometimes I feel like I’m down in a hole, looking up, and I’m not sure how to crawl out. However, I know that the best way I can encourage young people to love themselves and to give the best of themselves to the world, is actually, to love myself. It doesn’t quite make sense, does it? It seems like I could just give and give and give to them and build them up and never worry about myself and this would the best way to take care of the young people I care so deeply about. But the thing is, that doesn’t model to them that they should love themselves. It doesn’t model that they are beautiful. It doesn’t model self-care. It doesn’t model that God exists in them if I don’t recognize that God exists in me.

So, when I am really struggling with self-love, I start there, with God and recognizing that God exists in me. I tell myself that God is so pleased with me. I know this is true because it is written that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Sometimes, when I’m doing a little better, I struggle with God and say, “But you just like my insides. You are pleased with my heart and my works. I want to be pleased with my complexion and my body and I’m not.” I’m still working on that. On a really good day, when I leave the house, I look at myself out of the corner of my eye and smile.

Even when I can’t muster that smile, even when I just shrug my shoulders and say this is as good as it’s going to get, I still have to walk out the door and give my best to myself, which ultimately means giving the best to my kids. Lately, I have been listening to one of my power anthems again, Superwoman by Alicia Keys. “Even when I’m a mess, I still put on my vest, with an S on my chest. Oh yes, I’m a SUPER WOMAN.” I’ll keep saying it to myself until I believe it.

Shannon Hoffman is the Community Service Coordinator at Rhodes College. She is passionate about morning reflection, access to college for underrepresented young people, and always saying yes to ice

If you missed yesterday's guest contributor check out her post on self-love!