May 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
“We have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. we have been created in order to love and to be loved. ” -Mother Teresa
How often do we compliment each other?
I mean really compliment. Deep compliments. Sincere. Spur of the moment. Unpetitioned. Maybe in a letter, an email, a text, a facebook post.
Probably not often enough.
But how often do we take them and remember them? Probably less often.
I spent last weekend with some of my high school friends and all of the mean things that girls said growing up came back to the surface. It was like a tidal wave on my already dilapidated confidence.
The “friend” who drew a picture of my zits in 6th grade and made fun of me because my shoes were from Payless. The girls who laughed that my nose would be bigger than Dallas when I was older because it was so big in 7th grade. The girl who told my date for an 8th grade dance that I didn’t want to go with him so that he would uninvite me. The girls that insisted my first boyfriend only wanted to “get some” (high school freshman terms) and he only danced with me because he was drunk. He couldn’t really be interested. (We dated for a year and a half from age 15-17.) The friends who put me down in front of the more popular, pretty girls so that they looked even cooler all through high school. The girls who told me my feet were so ugly that it would be a terrible freshman initiation for the girls on the basketball team to make them think they’d kissed them. The girls who told me I was “like twice [their] size.”
The list goes on and on and on.
Why do I remember these things? Why do they still hurt? Why do I still feel insignificant when I’m around these girls?
The funny thing is, is that after the hurtful things were said or done, somehow, it negates every nice thing that person says after that. Somewhere in my mind, I feel like people only mean the hurtful words. The kind words, the compliments are meaningless. Meant only as white lies.
Part of that is likely because of my family’s belief in brutal honesty. I love it because we know that we say what we do out of love. Yes, its often said in a way that comes across unnecessarily hurtful, but they love me anyway. So we say that an outfit isn’t flattering, or admit “yeah, you gained a little weight,” or tell each other we should opt for the apple instead of the cookie. I grew up in a family that said things that many would consider hurtful, in a way that was meant to help and backed by love. But with that background, a background of sincerity in criticism, I took all of the things everyone said seriously. Never able to blow them off as just girls being mean.
And so even when they’re corrected, the words hurt. They sting. They leave scars on my soul and bruises on my heart.
More than 10 years later, I still feel insignificant. Unwanted. Ugly.
Its these feelings that lead to my not eating through an intense basketball season and volleyball season in high school and getting up early to work out extra. Its this hurt that lead to the subsequent binge eating that packed on at least 40 pounds. Its these feelings that still lead me to pints of ice cream and bottles of wine when I feel upset. Overcoming these feelings will help me stop abusing myself through the cycles of eating, and not eating.
How do I overcome this? How do I foster enough self-love that what they thought, or still think, doesn’t matter?
I’ve decided I should write down the compliments. I need to reread them when I feel unwanted. I need to love myself. I need to compliment myself. Sincerely. Maybe if I reflect on the good things that others see in me, focus on the good things they say instead of the bad, I can learn to appreciate these things in myself; value you myself and treasure myself.
I need to discover reasons to love myself. When I get down my best friend makes me find at least one thing and say it out loud. I love her for this.
Even more, I need to notice the beauty in my friends and the people around me. Send them letters, emails, texts just to let them know.
Why aren’t girls uplifting, encouraging, inspiring. Perhaps if we noticed the beauty in ourselves we wouldn’t need to put others down to make ourselves feel better.
I found Operation Beautiful. I realized that I’m not alone in this. And as I read stories that others have posted, I notice how beautiful these girls are. Every one of them.
I realize that I love the shape of my eyes and the fact that I have 2 dimples on one cheek. I love that my body carried me through a half marathon, a duathlon. I love that I really am a pretty good cook. I love hair. My skin that tans easily. And the smile on my face that I just can’t get rid of…not that I really want to try to lose it.
I love myself. I will overcome the hurt that has been left from years of holding on to all of the mean things that girls have said.
What do you do to overcome the hurt? To love yourself?