Undamaged

Some lessons are best taught by 9-year-olds. 

I have the pleasure of playing “mommy” this weekend while my parents are basking in the Floridan sun. One of my parental duties is to get my baby sister ready for school in the morning. It was her third grade class elections yesterday, so I insisted that she get up early so that I’d have time to curl her hair so she could “look the part” while delivering her campaign speech. (Aren’t third graders a little young to be having a student government? Like what are their issues? Broken crayons?) 

Anyway, after forcefully removing her from her bed and dragging her downstairs into my bedchamber, I sat her down in front of my mirror and began taming her bed-head. 

Twenty minutes later, after i’d finished curling her hair, I told her how pretty she was. She responded perfectly. 

“I know.” 

When was the last time you responded to a compliment like that? Can’t remember? Me neither. 

This feisty, little 9-year-old has yet to have her self esteem torn down, ripped to shreds, and irreversibly damaged, despite the toxic environment around her. She doesn’t compare her outward appearance to the girl next to her. She doesn’t look at covers of magazines and think “man, I wish I looked like her.” And you better believe I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that her self-esteem stays untouched. 

How beautiful would that be, if we were all able to have the same confidence as my baby sister? To be able to sincerely accept and believe a compliment. To have an unchanging perception of ourselves, and to love that perception in its entirety. 

I can honestly tell you that I have no idea what that would be like. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t refute a compliment from a stranger, or gaze in the mirror with an attitude of disapproval. 

And also, why is it so frowned upon to accept a compliment? If someone were to tell me I had beautiful eyes, and I were to respond with “I know,” the complimenter would think of me as an arrogant, stuck-up snot. But I say, what’s wrong with expressing that you like something about yourself? I mean, definitely, moderation in all things, but in my personal opinion, there is nothing wrong with agreeing with someone when they tell you they like something about you. 

It’s okay to love yourself. In fact, it’s crucial. 

M. 

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7 thoughts on “Undamaged

  1. I personally appreciate your baby sister self esteem & I think she has a very strong personality unlike me … whenever ( rarely ) someone compliments me , my answer is always: ” Awwh, oh my god ! that’s true ? … you’re just way too nice , thank you I love you .. ” and Bla Bla, I lose controle of words because I don’t hear these compliments a lot and I personally don’t believe in myself ( mainly my look ) so yes, please , keep her self -esteem and confidence this high and this good 🙂

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  2. We really are, and once we’ve conditioned ourselves to think that way, it’s nearly impossible to gain a sense of self-worth and confidence in being who we are. Oh my thank you so much! I greatly appreciate it!(:

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  3. Oh, I shouldn’t have followed you while I have so many things to do- I can’t stop reading! What a wonderful thought- it is so, so true. We are taught to be insecure. Look forward to having time to read more of your posts.

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  4. Unfortunately, not much progress has been made in the West, either. With the media telling us how flawed our bodies are and offering products that pledge to correct our imperfections, how are we supposed to develop that same self-confidence? Thank you so much for reading, and for your insightful comments! I greatly appreciate it(:

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  5. Beautiful post Maddie. I have said this many a time. In parts of Africa you can still tell a woman she is beautiful and she will look at you as if to ask why mention the obvious?
    The West has not quite arrived there yet!

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  6. Or if we just simply said “thank you” instead of feeling as though we had to contradict the compliment. My daughter, thankfully, is much like your little sister, but she is 12. I’m grateful, since my own confidence faltered early on, that she’s building self esteem now and hopefully will be able to keep her healthy sense of self as she gets through these next few super important teenage years (yikes!). Thanks for coming to check out my blog and giving me the opportunity to check out yours.

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