That Thing You Say

“You are hideous.”

The words just came out. I would never in a million years have said that to anyone else but her. But I looked her straight in the eyes and I said it.

She looked back at me, meeting my gaze. She hardly flinched. It was as if she was used to being treated like that.

Suddenly, I realized what I had just done…what an awful thing I had said. How completely unkind I had been. And kindness is one of my values.

She was me. That’s what made it so easy.

There was a rule in our house – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I always thought of that in terms of how I should treat other people. I never made a connection with how I spoke about/to myself.

We’ve all got those voices in our heads and no, that doesn’t make us crazy. It makes us human. It’s like there is a little, wide-eyed kid inside each of us that, on our best day, finds the purest joy in the simplest pleasures, but on our worst day wonders if we have got what it takes to live the life we want.

We question ourselves over our imperfections, berate ourselves over our failures, bully our hearts into giving up, and that little kid inside of us cowers.

His lip starts to quiver. Her eyes fill with tears. We want someone to stand up on our behalf. We need an advocate to speak out the truth for our hurting hearts. Thing is, that someone can and should be us.

Sometimes the person who needs us to advocate for them the most is our self. And until we can do that well, we will never truly get what it means to advocate for others.

We might go out and try to do it, but I doubt it will hold the same power. If we can’t speak nice to our own soul, how convincing are we really going to be when we try to speak out for other people?

Next time you look in the mirror, listen to what you are saying…really listen. Are the words true? Are they loving? Some of us owe ourselves an apology or two…or two hundred. Then forgive yourself and speak a new message over your heart.

Yes, I’m imperfect but I am perfectly acceptable.

No, I don’t always get it right, but I’m made right with God through Jesus.

I’m not a quitter. I am courageous even when I am feeling afraid.

I am human. And to be human is to be made in the image of God Himself. And that is incomprehensibly beautiful.

I am definitely, absolutely, most certainly not hideous.