As we are about to embark on a new year, I feel compelled to promote the message of self-love. Although I had not planned to publish any more posts in 2011, I have re-written an older post so that it now contains my wish for you in 2012. Whether you are a man or a woman, have children or don’t, may we all let go of the damaging internal distraction that robs us of our daily joy and happiness. This is my story …
The other day I stopped at Walgreens for a few items. It was an extremely hot day and I had just finished working out. I would have preferred to at least shower before the quick shopping trip, but sunscreen, band-aids, and an anniversary card could not wait until my once-a-week grocery store excursion.
I was comparing the (outrageous) price of spray-on sunscreen verses lotion sunscreen when a male voice came up and startled me out of my SPF price-comparing reverie.
“You are beautiful,” he stated just as casually as he would tell me my shoe was untied or that I should really invest in some deodorant or that Banana Boat lasts way longer than Coppertone when it comes to sun protection.
But he didn’t say those things. He said, “You are beautiful.”
And as the young man, whose years appeared to be half of my almost forty, walked away he added, “Go Tarheels,” and smiled in reference to my sweat-soaked baseball cap.
I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open. I wouldn’t have been able to speak if Pat Sajack stood before me and asked me to choose a letter.
There is no way that guy was talking to me.
I actually looked over my shoulder to make sure there wasn’t a Scarlett Johansson look-alike coyly deciding which tanning oil to lather on her curves (in all the right places, I might add).
At this point I would have paid fifty bucks for whatever sunscreen I happen to be holding in my hand. Embarrassment climbed my neck in a prominent red hue as I made a dead sprint to the checkout counter.
Who needs band-aids and store-bought cards anyway? I decided we could use masking tape for the band-aids that I was leaving without, and Hallmark cards are completely overrated anyway. I was certain my parents would love a homemade anniversary card this year.
Once I was in the safety of my car, I had a moment to reflect.
I actually tilted the rearview mirror down until I could see my reflection. I quickly tilted it back up. I surely did not see anything qualifying as “beautiful” there.
And in that moment of confusion, bewilderment, and shock, the words of a dear friend and loyal blog reader came back to me.
She had recently posted an array of vacation pictures on Facebook. A particular photo of her in the album captivated me. It was a close-up of her face. She wore not a stitch of make-up, and she was laughing.
In the comment section below the picture I had written one word: Beautiful.
In fact, I had never seen this gorgeous woman ever look so beautiful.
Later, she sent me a personal message. She has graciously allowed me permission to share those words with you now:
Yesterday on Facebook, you made a comment about a picture that I would have never made of myself. In fact, it took me by surprise. You typed “Beautiful” about the picture of me laughing. I almost replied, “I don’t think so. I hate the way my nose crinkles up and how my chin looks in this picture.” But then I realized your comment is your perception of the picture, not mine, and that I should consider looking at it again. I then smiled and said a peaceful and sincere “thank you” to you in my head.
My friend went on to describe her personal battle (and recent small successes) against her cruel inner voice and poor self-image issues.
I tilted the rearview mirror down one more time. Maybe I should reconsider it, too.
I liked how my cheeks were flushed a peachy rose color from the intensity of my just-completed five-mile run.
And how my hair curled into soft waves from the sweltering heat and humidity.
I even saw the faintest sparkle in my eyes resulting from the exercise endorphins still radiating through my body.
That certainly wasn’t a word I used to describe myself every day. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I called myself, “Beautiful.”
It was then that I saw the reflection of two hopeful blue eyes staring back at me, and I thought, “Isn’t 39 years long enough?”
Isn’t 39 years of harsh criticism long enough?
Isn’t it time you start seeing beautiful in yourself?
And with that, I made a wish.
At the time, it was for me, but now it is for you.
It is for anyone who yearns to break free from the internal distraction (feelings of shame, guilt, ridicule, insecurity, failure, doubt, and regret) that prevents us from grasping what really matters and truly living.
I wish …
I wish you victory against the cruel inner voice,
To see self-love truly is a choice.
I wish you victory against the worries that fill your mind,
To seek contentment that you shall surely find.
I wish you victory against a tunnel vision that blinds your view,
From the exquisite beauty that radiates from you.
And through each victory that comes with each passing day,
A melody to fill your heart, for you my friend, I pray.
Loving messages becoming more and more clear,
Drowning out the haunting voice of inner doubt and fear.
And finally you will hear it, and life will truly begin,
The victory song of self-love that only comes from within.
I am not exactly sure what my victory song of self-acceptance will sound like, but I believe it will contain words like “capable” and “strong.” And it will have phrases like, “You are enough,” and “You are worthy.”
I’m quite hopeful I will be hearing a lot of one particular phrase …
You are beautiful.
But this time it won’t come from a young man in the sunscreen isle of Walgreens.
From now on, it will come from within.
We so often overlook our best qualities. We commonly experience tunnel vision straight to the “problem areas,” instead of seeing our not-so-obvious beautiful features, both inside and out.
Is 2012 going to be the year you finally stop listening to that critical inner voice and instead listen for the loving messages of your victory song of self-acceptance? Start by doing these two things:
1) Consider your own beauty. Take a look. Zero in on something you like about yourself and celebrate that appealing physical (or non-physical) characteristic.
2) Consider someone else’s beauty. Tell him or her these simple words: “I think you are beautiful.”
I welcome you to use this post as a catalyst for those words. Simply use the “share” button below. Do it today. Do it right now. We so often have the words someone else needs to hear at the exact moment he or she needs to hear it.
The You Are Beautiful by Hands Free Mama, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.