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.
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.