Sometimes, what other people say to us can have an incredibly strong positive or negative impact. Our parents, partners, friends, even strangers can make a lasting impression on us simply with their words. More importantly what we tell ourselves inside our own heads, or how we process others words has the deeper impact.
In the Neil LaBute play, “Reasons to be Pretty” a monumental argument ensues over a comment a woman’s boyfriend is overheard making about her face. While he is describing a new female coworker as having a “pretty” face, he contrasts his live-in girlfriend of four years as having a “regular” face. She is so deeply hurt by his comment that she leaves him, realizing that she wants a lover that finds her beautiful, and not “regular.”
If you really love someone… you will love all of them, even the things about them that are not beautiful. Just finding a person beautiful on the outside is not enough to sustain a relationship. It’s getting to know their flaws and forgiving their mistakes that makes for true love. But does it take someone else to love you to make you believe you are beautiful? If you are grounded in yourself and feel beautiful inside, why would it matter if someone else makes a negative remark. But it does… we are very fragile beings.
Children are especially influenced by the voices in their lives. I once worked with a patient who said his mother told him he was a superhero… and he was the most confident person I ever met. I also worked with a female patient whose mother told her at a very young age that she was a stupid whore. This impacted her life and relationships with men tremendously. The positive voices in our lives can build up our self-esteem and the negative ones can scar us eternally.
Perhaps finding a balance in this external and internal dialogue is the desired space. Believing in yourself and your own wonderful soul, while having someone love you, really love everything about you! Not easy to find this…
I wish you love and love and love….