This week on Facebook, Donald Miller posted, "I believe people need affirmation slightly more often than food and water. Let's affirm our loved ones that often." This struck me as true, at least for me; though I've always thought that I am a little more needy than average. It got me to thinking, why would I need to be affirmed over and over? Why is it so hard to hold on to what is true?
I think it is because the person with the most scathing criticism, the person who throws the hardest punches, the person who tears me down the most is me. For some reason, the same things that I wouldn't allow someone else to say to me sometimes creep into my own head. And if I let those thoughts linger, I start to believe them, at least until someone sets me straight.
I have lots of teenage girls in my life, and I know from experience how hard that time is. When I was a teenager, I remember people saying these were "the best years of your life." And I remember thinking, "I sure as hell hope not." I wouldn't go back to those years if I had the offer. Now, I get to surround myself with awesome, encouraging, loving people. My loudest critic is the one inside my head. You girls don't always get that chance. You have to battle that voice inside your head, and still sometimes listen to assholes. So I wanted to take a minute to affirm you.
You are beautiful.
You are kind and sensitive. You are vulnerable and passionate. The world tells you to hide those things because they are weakness, but the world is wrong. Those things are your strength. Gentleness when it's unpopular, boldness when it's awkward, passion in the face of apathy- that's what a real woman is made of.
Your beauty does not come from bottles of foundation, the size of your skinny jeans, or the look in that boy's eye. Your worth does not equal how fast your time is on the track, how many points you score on the court, or how many times the soccer ball hits the net. Those things are good things, and we celebrate you for them. But you are beautiful without them.
You are beautiful because you are God's child. The world had this huge gaping hole in it, and God looked down and made you the perfect size to fill it. The world needs you. YOU, no more; no less.
You are God's child. I'm not sure if you know the fullness of that phrase, because you are not yet mothers. (My daughter teaches me more spiritual truths than I could ever have learned on my own.) She is the same amount of beautiful when she's rolling in the mud as when she is dressed up for church on Sunday. She is just as precious to me when she is throwing a fit as when she is curled up in my arms. My heart aches from her beauty and innocence, from her stumbles and her triumphs.
That's the way He feels about you. You are beautiful. He made you exactly how He wanted you to be.
You know this already, but sometimes our own heads tell us lies.
Be fierce. Be wild. Be vulnerable and passionate. Be kind and compassionate. Be sensitive and strong. (Those things are not mutually exclusive.)
You already are beautiful.