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I stepped into an elevator early this morning, on my way down to the gym. There was a mom with her little girl already inside, and as I reached out to punch the floor button, I felt the little one staring at my bare arm. She pointed to my scar and with all of her angelic, open-hearted, innocent compassion asked, “oh my gosh, what happened?”

My mind, my heart flashed back to the razor sharp blade that cut through my dulled sense of being. Ironically, my skin seemed to be the path of least resistance to awaken my numbed, dissassociative self at the time of the injury. So overwhelmed by my emotional pain, I had sliced my skin. I was so driven—an athlete to the core, so used to putting myself through physical challenges, discomfort for the sake of sport—that I knew how to conquer physical pain. Instead of trying to traverse the scary, overwhelmingly unknown world of emotional despair in which I had been drowning, I transferred it to something I did understand, something I did know how to navigate; my body.

Obviously, this was an extreme case of me having hurt myself. However, we all have treated ourselves poorly at one point or another. We all have mistreated ourselves, berated ourselves, or accepted more flogging than we deserve. We all have punished ourselves for what we weren’t, instead of appreciating ourselves for all that we are.

It’s time to break that habit.

Thoughts and feelings go hand in hand, they are inextricably linked. Our bodies, our hearts, our souls respond to the thoughts that we feed it. They either buck against the sentiment that we conjure, making us feel badly emotionally and physically, or they sync into a beautiful symbiosis with the thoughts we think, eliciting powerful, good feelings both emotionally and physically. The symbiosis comes from the wellbeing at our core; wellbeing is our intrinsic nature. Our bodies would not be the miraculous entities that they are without wellbeing at the basis. In other words, think positive, optimistic thoughts—feel good; think negative, pessimistic thoughts—feel bad.

Appreciation is the quickest way to change the cellular chemistry of our circumstance. When we truly seek things for which we can be appreciative, things we can celebrate about ourselves, about someone or something else, that is all we will find. Many of us don’t give ourselves or our world enough credit in that when we propose a hypothesis—meaning, when we make up our mind about someone or something with a statement such as, “I’m late all the time,” or “he never listens to me,” our subconscious automatically and efficiently starts gathering evidence to support our theorem. We will gather evidence to prove ourselves right about whatever we have declared. We are built to recognize patterns, to match our suppositions with our observations, to stay safely within what we have decided on as our belief structure. This is why our words are so powerful. This is why it is so important to pay attention to our inner monologue, our outer diatribe. This is why our self talk is so important to craft, and to craft with care.

We have a brilliant built-in excuse to practice appreciation this thanksgiving. We have a beautiful opportunity to focus on that which we love and apprecate about ourselves and others. To replace thoughts of lack, shortage or not-enoughness with gratitude, abundance, and the knowledge that WE ARE ENOUGH; with the acknowledgment of where we are, the appreciation of how it feels to be there, and the eagerness for more to come; for much much more to come. It is okay to be where we are. In fact, it is amazing to be where we are, for we could not take a single step without first having a place in our life, in this world. Let us recognize the incredible fortune we have to simply exist, to be here, now; how fortunate we are to be, to do all that we have done, to have all that we have accrued. We are enough. And we are on our way to so much more.

Let us love ourselves unconditionally this week. Let us speak from that love. Let us act from that loving place. And let us surround each other with the unconditional love we have for ourselves…

And watch the world prove THAT right before our very eyes.

The happiest of thanksgivings to all of you. I love me so that I can love you. Unconditionally.