This may possibly be the hardest thing I have ever needed to write. Which, of course, means I don't really want to write it. I don't want all of it out there, for anyone who chooses to read to see the baggage, the scars, the hidden fears. I don't want to do this, but I am going to, because recently, it seems that my five-year-old sees that how I see myself is not in a positive light. I don't want her to ever think less of herself than I think of myself.
When I think of "self-esteem," I think of being a teenager. I think of the pep talks at school and church about having a positive self-image, and not letting others persuade you to believe that you are inferior. Unfortunately, I think that many people still believe the negative words others say about them.
This post is not meant to be about all the awful things others say. No, not at all, because I know that I have said things about others that I regret, too. It's not the things that were said that have remained. It's how my own self-image was distorted by them.
The hardest thing for me to do is look in the mirror and accept the body I have been given. To point out the positive instead of seeing all the negative. Of course I believe my husband when he tells me I'm beautiful, but I just don't see what he sees, and I never want either of my daughters to look into the mirror and not believe for themselves that they are truly beautiful.
I know that beauty is "only skin deep" and that there are "all different kinds of beauty." I know that physical beauty fades with age, and that "what's on the inside" is what counts. Yeah, I know all of it. But when I look in the mirror and I want to hide from my own image, it's hard to believe all of that. And is there anyone to blame except for myself for the way I feel? I take care of myself. Sure, I could get into better physical shape, but, let's be honest - after chasing after two kids all day, working on my master's thesis, paying bills, doing laundry, making dinner, doing dishes, running errands... most nights, I just want to read a book or go to bed. Should those people of the past, who have all faded into blurred images anyway, dictate how I see myself? Should the media, who are so obsessed with beauty, thinness, and sex, tell me what I should be? Do I need the whole world to see me as physically beautiful?
No. No. No.
Because I'm actually a pretty happy person, and I love my life. I have the best husband who has gone to hell and back with me and we're still together. I have the most incredible daughters, whose smiles and laughter and happiness bring me utter joy. I have an incredible extended family and amazing friends. I have talents, and I am in a position now where I can pursue them.
In Anne of Green Gables, Anne's bosom friend, Diana, tells her that Gilbert Blythe (swoon, girls!) said that "being smart is better than being pretty."
Agreed. Oh, so agreed.
So why is it still hard to accept what's in the mirror?
I am going to continue to explore this, here on my blog, in my other writings, and in life. I haven't asked for feedback on my other posts before, but I'd love to hear your views on this subject. DM me on Twitter or PM me on Facebook.