Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeling Beautiful: Self-esteem

I call them my “fat ugly” days. My hair looks awful, my clothes don't fit, or I just feel sludgy and desperately want someone – my husband, children, or friends, to reassure me that I am beautiful and lovable even though I don’t feel like it. My friend Rhoda, a homeschooling mom with four kids, was having one of those days. When she made disparaging comments about herself and how ugly she felt, her husband didn’t take the hint. He didn’t encourage her with the sweet compliments she had hoped for. And that made her angry. Why couldn’t he see she needed reassurance?

Later, she confided that the surlier she became, the less likely it was that he would want to shower her with tender affection. What she needed was an escape to the spa. With her kids and husband otherwise occupied, Rhoda retired to the bathroom where she put on soft music, lit candles, and took a long bath. She scrubbed every inch of her body with a loofa sponge and deep conditioned her hair. Energized by that, she painted her nails, applied makeup, and styled her hair. To top it off, she dressed in an outfit that made her feel pretty.

As she cared for her body, Rhoda also refreshed her spirit in the Lord. She reminded herself that even when she feels frumpy she is still beautiful and valuable to her Savior. She knew that truth all along, but the fog of emotions and weariness of motherhood had hidden it from her sight.

Two hours later, she felt like a new woman. “After my bath, I went out and gave my husband a big hug and kiss. He looked up at me and his eyes popped.”

“Wow, you’re hot, Babe!” he said with appreciation.

“Yes, I am,” she thought with a smile. “Thank you, Sweetheart.” Even if he had not noticed the change in her, Rhoda knew she had that assurance deep within.

By the time she got to our meeting that night, Rhoda was able to share what she had discovered with us. It’s something every woman needs to know. “I realized it’s not my husband’s responsibility to make me feel beautiful; it’s mine. It’s my job to take care of myself, stay connected with God, and do the things that make me feel pretty. When I do, I can be confident in myself and have more energy to reach out to others.” Then she smiled mysteriously. People often remark about the ethereal look on Mona Lisa’s face. Maybe she had learned the same beauty secret as my friend. True beauty comes from inside.

~ (c) Beth Vice, January 2010

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