This photo was taken at “Daddy’s” 90th and Ricci’s 50th birthday party. We all called him “Daddy,” but his name was Charles W. Speights. He was my friend Ricci’s grandfather. He lived to see two of his great grandchildren get married. The women in his family were cherished and respected. It is phenomenal DNA to pass along to our heirs.
You don’t have to know these folks to know they cherish each other. Most little girls ~ whether they be 3 or 93 ~ long to be cherished by their daddies. If we learn healthy love from our fathers, we have a greater chance of forming healthy relationships with the men in our lives. We learn that respect is love and that we deserve to be cherished.
Sadly, too many of us are conditioned to believe that abuse is love. We don’t get the blessing from our parents that all children need to thrive and find joy in life. We have been seduced by the melody of the song “Cherish” and don’t really hear the lyrics:
Cherish is the word I use to describe
All the feelings that I have hiding here for you inside. . .
You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I could
Mold you into someone who could
Cherish me as much as I cherish you
And I do cherish you. . .
Oh, please. Cherish? These are the words of a pit bull who can’t let go. He doesn’t “cherish” her. He wants to control her and “mold” her into someone who will love his sorry behind. If he did actually “cherish” her in a healthy way, I’m sure she’d still be part of his life.
Cherish is on my mind today because I discovered while scribbling in my journal that I don’t treat myself like someone who deserves to be cherished. Yes, I cherish my beloved cat Bitzie and my flowers. But, me? I struggle.
I so often hear people criticize themselves for lacking self-esteem. Yet, from my point of view, the criticism actually belongs to the people who conditioned us to believe we were “worth-less” ~ our needs weren’t important ~ our requests could be ignored. These folks instilled in us a belief that we aren’t worthy of being cherished. If we hear it often enough, we come to believe it.
In essence, these folks are building up their own sorry self-esteems by putting us down. It happens all the time. We all do it. Unfortunately, I think most of the time we may not be aware of these subtle put-downs ~ especially if we have been taught this is how people relate to each other. In some families, delivering this message in the form of a joke becomes a highly regarded art form ~ a “gotcha” ~ a “zinger” ~ “I’m OK, you’re not.”
When we truly cherish someone or something we take special care. We nurture. We’re gentle. Love flows freely and generously.
My hope for each of us today is that we cherish ourselves. We make our-selves a priority. We eat healthy. We get some good exercise. We get a good night’s rest. Essentially, we care for ourselves like we are precious children of God. We all are, you know. Yes, you are precious.