Friday, December 23, 2011

Getting Rid Of The Baggage

My friend Pat and I in our 20s. We were hiding what we didnt like not realizing how beautiful we truly were

Love it or lose it

Loving myself at 51

Everybody’s goal weight is exactly where they were when they first thought they were fat.

Yesterday, I received a most beautiful message. Now, you should know that when I use the word beautiful for a thing or a person, I mean it in the scientific sense; beauty is symmetry, it is balance. When a person is beautiful, they are balanced and exhibit beauty from the inside and the out. Living a balanced life is what makes a person beautiful. We all know those people who are what I call Extremist; one day they are flying high and the next they are having the “worst” day ever. For these people, there is no balance, it is all or nothing. Balance requires that we give a bit more when we don’t fell like it and pull back when we fly higher than the room.

Anyway, I digress; I was saying that I received a beautiful message, it simply said “Thank you for this blog, I need it. My goal for 2012 is to love myself.” You may be wondering why I think it’s balanced, have no fear, I will tell you. Within this note you find gratitude, a desire and then the answer to that desire. This person is already reading and seeking the information to love her whole self, she is grateful for the information and she has set the goal.

I am a firm believer in the proverb which says that the way out is back through. We often have to look back over our life to see where we made our missteps in order to find our way.

This morning, I watched the beginning of the funeral services for Vaclav Havel, the last President of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic. He was a playwright and poet and then was highly instrumental in helping the country make its radical transition from a communist country to a democratic one. As I sat for the period of silence along with millions all over the world, my mind wandered to the transition of South Africa and the truth and reconciliation hearings ushered in by Nelson Mandela. In those hearings, individuals who committed often heinous crimes against others were given the opportunity to tell the details of their crime to the surviving family members of their victim(s). When they were truthful in their telling, they were forgiven. WOW!

My thoughts then drifted to the people in all of these places where acts of cruelty had occurred between neighbors and sometimes even relatives. How do you go forward, how can you forgive?

It may seem silly and trivial to make the comparison but I’ve been accused of both so here goes; when you fail to love yourself or to see your own natural beauty, you are committing a crime against your own Being and against nature. You are destroying the potential of what you can be. It may be true that others have played a part in how you feel. They may have called you ugly (which by now you should know is the lack of symmetry and balance,) they may have done things to you that cause you to feel less than who you are; in this you had no choice, but you do have a choice in whether or not you hold the harmful baggage that has been handed to you. You must recall that painful story and then you must forgive those who have offended, but most importantly, you must forgive yourself for holding onto the pain.

Recently, an old friend reached out and re-connected with me. We were in our twenties when we met and are now in our fifties. I had just earned my doctoral degree and she was a nurse. We worked on a cruise ship, me as a comedian and entertainer (I was trying to get out of my brainiac mode) and she was the ship’s nurse. We were bright and beautiful but didn’t realize it ourselves. She would complain about stretch marks and I would distress over my thighs and butt (I’m over it, see yesterday’s blog.) Last week, my friend Pat sent a picture of the two of us from almost 30 years ago. We were beyond beautiful. So beautiful in fact, that I didn’t recognize myself in the picture. We both have had health challenges and have survived but more importantly, we see how wonderful we are right now.

I believe that our goal weight is exactly where it was when we first thought we were fat. We could not see our own beauty. We compared ourselves to others instead of seeing our own unique beauty. Now, we wish to be that person we didn’t see then.

As it was said by Nick Nolte in the movie, Peaceful Warrior, we have to “Take out the trash.” The trash is in our mind and it is keeping us from loving ourselves and from being at our best; beautiful and whole.

Imagine the transformation of a poet and playwright to becoming a President, think of the activist lawyer who is imprisoned for 27 but becomes the leader of a new nation.

Vaclav Havel wrote about the Power of The Powerless and taught that “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hate.”

In life, everything is connected. Big things are little and the little can be big. We cannot begin to imagine what we miss when we fail to embrace our own self. What’s gone is gone. But you can imagine what is possible and you can imagine loving yourself.

The beauty of that wonderful message I got yesterday is in the balance. It said, “I know what I want and I thank you for showing me myself.”

·         Today, decide that you are beautiful and act like it. Walk around as if you are already “all that.”

·         Learn something about a country or place that you didn’t know before.

·         Share it with someone.

·         Reconnect with someone from your past and share a picture of you together. (We are more shocked by pictures of our self that we haven’t seen before than we are of the ones we possess.)

·         Compliment a stranger

We can all be better. Forgive yourself, love yourself, be you.

Bertice Berry, PhD


  1. Extraordinary words from an extraordinary woman. You have taught me so much over the last decade plus, and continue to do so.
    Thank you Buckle,

  2. Great blog from a very empowering woman!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Love from the frozen tundra

  3. Very wise words. Thank you for sharing your beauty as well as that of Pat. You're both remarkable women. I think we met once or twice, but Pat has spoken of you over the years. I was fortunate enough to become friends with Pat when I worked on the ships with her.