Unconditional love is a powerful thing.
I have been blessed to have a very wise grandmother in my life. She has taught me patiently, and with laughter, that life is an extraordinary playground and that I deserve everything good in it.
She has traveled the world, been diving in many coral reefs, and spent time with the aborigines of Papua New Guinea. She has lived in Italy, made close friends with nearly everyone she knows, and single handedly supported her family after the death of her husband.
You can tell just from walking in her home that she is an interesting person.
Pops of red and orange come from all over the room, adding a sense of playfulness and cheer. Soft warm light shines out of her lamps, illuminating her abstract art and the many treasures that she has collected over the years.
She has a painting of a dancing man made out of tiny ribbons of color, wooden carved masks from all over the world, and my personal favorite — a kneeling oriental horse on a bright pink background.
When my grandmother walks in the room she brings a sense of passion for life that I’ve never seen matched by anyone else. At 88, she’s still full of vitality. Her warm brown eyes twinkle and laugh, and from the moment that she wraps me in her arms I feel special, and that I deserve all the love in the world. “MAL! “She says, “MAL! I am so HAPPY, HAPPY HAPPY to see you!” And she’s truly authentic when she says it.
She has been a wonderful support to me. I went to college far from my home in Boulder, Colorado and ventured to a small liberal arts school in Lewiston, Maine. My gram lives in Boston, so I would always come stay with her for a night or two before going up to school or heading home.
I was terribly homesick when I first went to school. But when I was sad or struggling with a problem, she convinced me that I was perfect the way I was, and all I had to do was believe in my inner worth. Because I was wonderful to her, I started to believe it myself.
Everyone needs someone who will make them believe that despite their flaws they are good enough, and deserve love and respect no matter what. My grandma helps me believe this from my very core. I know that I am not perfect, but I think it’s important to remember your own goodness when things are hard.
Pema Chodron writes, “Being satisfied with what we already have is a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted, and inspired way.” If you can find someone who helps you be satisfied with yourself as you are, spend as much time as you can with them. Life’s too short not to.
Mallory Ayres is a Boulder native who just graduated with a degree in political science. She is passionate about journalism and has interned for Skiing Magazine in the past. She now is one of Elephant Journal’s new interns and works for the outdoor gear website ActiveJunky.com. She loves hot yoga, creative writing and loitering in Boulder’s coffee shops.