Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Calls You Pretty?

I have a friend...a very good friend...who has been such an encourager on this journey.  He may not know it...but he really has had a very big impact on me as I've been changing things in my life.  Even when I hadn't yet lost much weight, he consistently let me know that he could see the difference and that I was looking good.  Words like "amazing" and "pretty" could be heard in our conversations on a routine basis. He also let me know that even if I'd never lost any weight, he'd still consider me both of those things. 

This friend happens to have known me for a very long time and knows the person I am inside...knew me before I was a big girl and had the same opinion of me then as he does now. I can tell you, when he says that he thinks I'm pretty, I believe him.  He knows me well.  For him, it's not just what I look like...it's who I am on the inside that really matters.  And it means so much to me to know that he feels that way.  It's been such a source of support while I've been making these big lifestyle changes.

Lately, though, I haven't been getting that kind of encouragement from him.  He's still supportive...still interested in my life and my goals.  He just hasn't said anything about my appearance in a while.  In fact, no one is really calling me pretty these days.  Not him...and not anyone else either.  And I've been reflecting on that...why it's been so important to me to hear it and how not hearing it for the past few months has affected me.  The conclusion I've reached is that I don't really need to hear that from him or any other friend.  Who I really need to hear it from is ME!

Self-esteem issues are not uncommon for me.  I've struggled with them for much of my life, including the time when I wasn't a big girl.  I might be smart, but I could name you 10 people smarter than me.  I might be nice, but ____ just always seems so much more kind than me.   Maybe I hit the ball well on the softball team, but I can't run the bases like ____ can.  You get the idea.  I don't always have a kind, helpful, or healthy view of myself.  Calling myself pretty usually doesn't enter my mind.

But it needs to.

I need to come to the place in my life where the only...the ONLY...opinion about my appearance that matters is my own.  

My friends are not part of my life to feed my ego.  They are here to support me...and they do...very, very well, for which I am forever grateful! It's unfair to put the kind of pressure on my friends that if no one notices my outfit or my new hairdo...or my weight loss...my world falls apart.  That's not what friends do.  And truly, that's not what healthy people do. 

People who are emotionally and physically healthy don't depend upon reassurance from others that they are on the right path.  They do what is needed to be there and stay there on their own.  It's not that healthy people don't need support.  They do.  We all do, healthy or not!  But healthy people are confident in themselves and the path they've placed themselves on...without the constant reinforcement from anyone else.  That's who I need to be.

So, who calls me pretty these days?  Well...no one just yet.  But I'll tell ya what...I'm starting to like what I see in the mirror.  I hope you can say that about yourself, too!

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