This past weekend, we visited with my best friend of over 50 years, and as Douglas found the picture above. He was excited to find picture of me from my younger days.
Douglas thought that it was a wonderful picture of me, and he was confused on why I told him that everyone considered me as less attractive than my dear friend. I am the one on the left. In all of my stories of the two of us, I always spoke of being the ugly duckling of the duo. But my husband this weekend did something that has changed the way I see myself.
When I pulled up my Facebook account on Saturday, I noted that the picture had been posted to his Facebook page. He had written the following: We visited four of Regina’s relatives/friends. One showed us this picture of a much younger Regina. She was almost as pretty then as she is now!
I was dumbstruck! I asked him why he wrote that, when I did not see myself as beautiful. He said, “You bought into the lies about you.” He meant that I had acquiesced to the beliefs of the adults around me. I resorted to seeing myself as others saw me.
I wrote on one of my first posts of the day one of my aunts told me that I would have to be smart, because I was no Sleeping Beauty, and, subsequently, I would never find a husband, doomed to care for myself all of my adult life. At seventeen, I had my first boyfriend, and unfortunately, he was a batterer who constantly said that no one else would want me because I was so ugly.
From those sentiments, I developed an image of myself as the “ugly ducking that never turned into a swan.” As a devout Christian, I believed that everyone of God’s children were beautiful to him, but that did not help me see myself as pretty to earthly males. I suffered such low self-esteem from being called a “monster” at school and unattractive at home.
Over the years, I came to see my value and worth and to see myself as a jewel, but I had not overcome the belief that I unattractive. But my husband posting my picture and calling me beautiful, past and present, for the whole world to see has touched me so deeply. I looked at the picture of me smiling for all I am worth, and I thought, “What a beautiful smile you have!”
It just takes one person to tell someone that they are beautiful, and to say it with such love and conviction that the other person can believe it deep in their soul, to change how that person feels about themselves. It may save them from a lifetime of pain and self-loathing.
I ask you to do that for someone in your life whom you know does not see themselves as beautiful, whether it is a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, neighbor, church member, friend, or stranger. You would be surprised how many women and girls don’t see themselves as lovely, even though the mirror says otherwise.
Every little girl be told that she is beautiful and special from her parents, and especially from her father, if he is alive. I think that I would not have entered into so many violent and doomed relationships, if I had thought myself worthy of better.
Proverbs 18: 22 (The Message) states, “Find a good spouse, you find a good life— and even more: the favor of God!” After nearly 15 years of marriage, my husband is truly the “gift that keeps on giving.” It is the power of love, a love grounded in our faith in God, that makes me thank God for him every day. I am beautiful! How about that!