Today, I met a lady in the beauty/powder room of the spa that I go to. We did what women usually do there – comb our hair, spritz our faces with spring water, put on some lip balm. Except that wasn’t all that she was doing.
While other women in the room did their freshening up with the relaxed glow of post-pampering bliss, this lady spent the entire time peering closely in the mirror and frowning at her reflection. Actually, grimace would be a more accurate description of the utter distaste and hatred that was reflected on her face as she looked at herself. The revulsion and disgust that she felt toward herself was so palpable it felt like a force field around her.
My heart broke to pieces. I felt the pain of her rejection. I could feel the walls of hatred that she was directing at herself as tangibly as if a physical wall had slammed into me.
I wanted so badly to turn around and engulf her in a hug that could somehow heal her soul. I wanted to hold her and whisper to her that she was loved and treasured, over and over like a lullaby until the walls crumbled and she could maybe, just maybe, begin to believe that it was true.
My heart wept. And as I stood there, forgotten lip balm in hand, realization dawned on me: I was crying for myself as much as I was for her, and for every other woman who has been a victim of self-hate and self-rejection.
So many of us have done what this woman did at some point or other in our lives. I know I certainly have.
We gaze into mirrors and grimace. We look at this or that part of our bodies that we wish we could change, and that imperceptible ache arises from our hearts, “I hate you”. We look at lofty, unrealistic images of women in magazines and then turn back to attack our own bodies with a vengeance birthed out of loathing, “Why can’t you be more like her?”
And it doesn’t stop with our bodies. We find a million faults with our personality (too quiet, too loud, too organized, too not-organized), character, spirituality, accomplishments.
We criticize, abuse, nip, tuck, pinch, squeeze our bodies and hearts till they are bled dry.. and we are never satisfied with the results. We are our soul’s greatest bully.
And I think the bullying needs to stop. The world is in desperate need of love, but how can we love others when we are incapable of loving ourselves? The world needs daughters of the King to fight on their behalf, and this self-destruction must end.
We need to start to learn how to be kind to ourselves.
So this is my prayer tonight, dear sisters, friends, mothers, daughters. For you and for me.
Show us our worth in a world that makes it hard to see. For those who feel invisible, never seen, show us ourselves through heaven’s eyes. For those who are never heard, open our ears to hear You say You hear us. For those that are never truly known by anyone, tell us that You’ve known us before we even knew Your name. For those that are never cherished, tell us that we are a treasure to die for. That You died for. For those that are never understood, show us that You know our innermost thoughts. Show us that we are special, not because of what we have, but because we are Yours.
Have you ever struggled with self-hate and bully talk? What are some ways that you can begin to be kind to yourself?