If you read my blog or if you know me, you know I have major body image issues. I’ve never been confident with my body and never believed people when they would tell me I was pretty. I have never been comfortable with just me.
Almost every day my husband would tell me that I looked pretty or that I was beautiful, and I would always respond with “no I’m not.” Then a few months ago I realized I hadn’t heard those precious little words from my husband. So I had the conversation, and I asked him why he didn’t tell me I was pretty anymore. His response was “you always say, ‘No I’m not’ so I figured I would stop saying it, even though I believe those to be the truest words I have ever spoken.” That broke my heart, and I sat down on the bench behind me and started to cry. I cried because my perception of myself forced a man who would walk through fire for me, to not feel comfortable with calling me beautiful anymore.
I begged him not to stop, and I would answer differently next time. I thought to myself, how hard could that be, just respond differently? Not a day later I walked out of our bedroom dressed to go somewhere and there it was coming out of his mouth “you look beautiful”. When the final word flew out of his mouth, I looked at him, seriously, and almost said: “no I don’t.” It would have been so easy to say “no I don’t” after all those words were hitting the back of my teeth demanding to be let out. I swallowed hard and squeaked out a faint “thank you”, so faint that if you weren’t watching my lips move, you would be certain I hadn’t said a thing. My sweet husband, knowing what a big step that was for me just opened his arms and swallowed me whole.
I have been trying to be kind to myself every day since then and thankfully my husband has not given up on me. I can now force out a thank you even if I only half the time believe it myself. I am slowly reprogramming those 40 years, and I have started to see myself as my husband sees me, as my children see me. Believe me, that is not to say I don’t have my moments, come on, I’m human so of course I still have my moments, but then today happened.
Today was the first time that I looked at a picture of myself, that picture above this post, and I felt pretty, honestly pretty.
It is not a professional photo; it is just a picture I took by myself on my phone to show my sister my new haircut. When I got ready to send it, I couldn’t stop looking at it, for the first time in my life I felt beautiful. I love the natural color of my hair. I have my reading glasses on and no makeup. That picture is 100% genuine me, and I loved it. I couldn’t stop staring at it mostly because it is at an angle that I have in the past, despised and yet I was in love.
I was at a loss trying to understand why I loved it so much, and I sat and thought about it for a good hour. And then I came to the conclusion that the picture reflected a woman who was finally comfortable in her skin. A woman who is kind and good and it reflects on her face. A woman who comfortable with where she was in her life. A woman who is comfortable with herself like she has never been before.
Being gentle with myself has paid off. Having a gentle husband has paid off. The result is that picture, a picture of a woman who has fallen in love with herself. Please be gentle with yourself, you are beautiful, you are kind, and you are good.