I’ve been having what I like to refer to as a “lack of self-love” week. I don’t really know what happened, but all of a sudden all of my physical flaws seemed magnified by 110% and I became convinced (again) that no one could ever possibly love me because of them. I looked in the mirror and couldn’t grasp how someone would ever be interested in me when I have such flawed skin. How could I be considered pretty with these blood shot eyes?
It made me wonder. Why is it so hard to believe we are beautiful? To believe the good things people say about us? I think, for me, I’m afraid. I’m afraid to believe I’m pretty or that someone could love me…flaws and all…because if I do, then what happens if someone comes along and tells me I’m not? What if I’m completely delusional in believing all those good things? I know that sounds ridiculous but that’s where the fear comes from for me. I’ve grown up being teased because I’m different, turning on the television to see no one that looks like me (which is sadly a common problem for people even without disabilities), watching those “hot” actors and singers knowing they would never even give me a second look. After a stint of “stupid” occurrences on top of it…I just became completely overwhelmed. I didn’t even want to leave the house at one point. I didn’t think I would or could ever go back to feeling “ugly” until I did.
Then I started to think about my friends. Even my very best female friends have those things about them physically that they beat themselves up for. And what do I tell them? I tell them they are beautiful inside and out. I tell them that no one notices those “flaws” nearly as much as they think. I tell them they have so many other qualities that matter so much more. And why do I do that? Because I love them and because I want them to see the beauty in them that I see.
So there it is again…that inability to be as loving to myself as I am to the closest people in my life. It’s like trying to break a glass wall around you and you can get a crack in it, but you can never quite bring the whole thing crashing down. Then this really simple, but really cool, thing happened. After some car trouble that rendered my car undriveable, I walked to get lunch. It was hot and tiring. When I got to my intended destination, I was cut in front of in line by an entire family. People were everywhere around me. Some guy drove by and yelled at all of us to “enjoy our overpriced waffles” (the specialty of the place I was at) and I almost lost it. I felt like the world was closing in around me and I just wanted to get home. Then you know what happened? The super nice guy behind me with a Southern accent started talking to one of the employees about the guy who had yelled. I joined in on the conversation and then I struck up my own with the guy behind me (who was probably like 20 but super cute).
This might seem like a small thing to most people, but it just made me feel so much better. Despite feeling “ugly,” despite not feeling my best, I was still able to step out of my shyness and engage with people. I didn’t worry if I looked or sounded stupid, I was just social. Most importantly, I was reminded that who I am comes from so much more than how I look. So I was able to walk home with a little pep back in my step. Not only that, but I was reminded of just how awesome people can be. Yes there are those people who will cut in line or yell at random strangers because they don’t have anything better to do but then there’s those nice people who work at a local restaurant. There’s those random guys from Tennessee who moved out here from work who end up behind you in line.
So even though I’m still not feeling quite like Heidi Klum (ok really, I never feel like Heidi Klum), that moment today reminded me that you know what, I’m a pretty cool person. I’m worth talking to and I’ve come a long way in the past few years. I’ve come a long way from walking with my head down, staring at the ground…from never starting a conversation with anyone because I was so self-conscious. Maybe I’m not able to love myself 24/7 yet. Maybe I never will. But the important thing is, I’m making progress. I can never know for sure if someone is going to come along and be strong enough to love me (romantically speaking…I have so much love in my life from my family and friends!) but what I can do is do my darnedest to make sure I give myself the love I need. The love I’m able to provide to my friends so easily. It might be a battle, but I think it’s definitely one worth fighting.