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Loving Myself

I open the car door, peering in at the group of girls staring back at me. As I bent down and crawled into the back seat, I wondered what they were thinking. Immediately, a rush of anxiety washed over me, leaving me feeling anxious and unsure.

Did they like my outfit?

Did they like my hair?

Did they like my necklace?

What about my earrings…did they think that they clashed with my bracelet?

Were my shoes okay?
In a desperate attempt to earn self esteem, I sat quietly, keeping to myself, not wanting to say the wrong thing. Today the other four girls were discussing their social studies paper mache project. Of course, I just listened to what they had to say, occasionally butting in to say, “Oh, yours is going to look so good!” or “Really…how did you do that?” One of the girls went on and on, describing how she had used a special type of paper to do hers, and she didn’t follow the instructions. Another, flicking back her almost perfectly straightened chocolate brown hair, mentioned how she had already finished hers. I sank lower into my seat, as a sea of pity raged inside of me. My heart started beating rapidly inside of my chest, as it always does when I get nervous. This nervousness was caused by my comparison between myself and others, that haunted me wherever I went. My confidence level had basically disappeared leaving me lonely and miserable, like a little girl who had just lost her favorite doll. I stayed there, not saying anything, drowning myself in the music of my IPod. Soon, the car we were in had pulled up to the school, and I anxiously jumped out, hoping that nobody would talk to me, knowing that whatever I said, they had something more important to say, and whatever I did they could do it better.

The rest of the school day went fairly good, as expected. It wasn’t school that I didn’t like; it was just getting there and back that made it so difficult to handle. Sixth period had come and gone, and now I had to again face the car full of girls. Luckily for me, this time I had arrived at the car first, making it easy to silently slip into the back seat, without anybody even having to acknowledge me. One of the girl’s mom’s was driving that day, but she was shuffling through emails on her blackberry. For a moment, I imagined that maybe today, somebody would say something like “Hey Delaney, you look really cute today” or “Delaney, you are such a kind person” but (as I had sub-consciously suspected) those comments never came. Instead, they discussed what they were going to wear to the Valentine’s dance. I sulked in the backseat, knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to even begin to look as beautiful as all of the other girls were going to. I could just imagine the car wreck that was waiting to happen inside of me. They would all show up in the most beautiful dresses, and the expensive accessories that matched with the outfit almost perfectly. There hair would be in bouncy, luxurious curls, their makeup probably professionally done. Fortunately, there was an easy way out of this situation…I just wouldn’t bother to show up. It was my grandmother’s birthday, and though I could get out of going to dinner with her and the rest of my family, why would I? I didn’t want to put myself through the same kind of “self-worth destroyer” that I did almost every other day of the week. Instead of moping at my less than perfect dress and hair at the dance, I could be spending that time with my cousins, aunts, and uncles, who will love me no matter what I wear. With them, I don’t have to impress anyone, so why would I even put myself through all the trouble of preparing (physically and emotionally) for the dance, if I could be spending that time not getting my little amount of confidence being ripped to shreds?

For most of the first semester of the school year, I let myself act this way during the carpool. That was until one day, I was visiting a local Christian book store, where I found a book entitled “Redefining Beautiful”. It was written to help girls truly understand what exactly beauty was, in the eyes of the most important man in my life, God. I didn’t purchase it at the book store, but when I got home, I bought it on ITunes, and downloaded it onto my IPod. Immediately, I began listening to it. That particular day, I was going to the Galleria with my aunt and cousins. I listened to it while I was getting ready, doing my hair, and putting on makeup. Trying to soak up the entire book, I blasted it on high volume and closed my doors, overwhelming myself in the voice of the person who was reading the book.

I don’t necessarily know what true love is with anyone other that God, my family, and, or course, my dog. But I think that I just might have fallen head over heels in love with this book, and much more importantly, myself.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the book itself that I was falling in love with (that sounds a little weird!) I guess I was falling in love with a voice that was telling me that I was beautiful, that I was special, and that I was loved. This book gave me a confidence boost like no other…a confidence boost from God.

Now, this book didn’t necessarily fix all of my problems with the snap of a finger, but it gave me the courage to stand up for myself, and not drown in my self-pity. I decided that I would give my new found confidence a little “test-run” when I got into the car the next Monday. Stepping into the vehicle I mentally and emotionally prepared myself for what was about to happen. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but one thing I did know was that I was going to turn this situation into a positive one. As I took my seat in the back of the car, I desperately tried not to think about my appearance, or what the other girls thought of me. This created a battle field in my mind, distracting me from any of the things that the girls said. I pulled out my IPod from my bag, and began to again listen to the comforting words of the book I had craved. Right as I was putting me headphones in, I heard someone saying

“Oh, well, I just ordered this adorable necklace online. My mom had the company make it especially for me, so it’s like a one-of-a-kind.”
I was so done with those comments! I plugged in, and got lost in the reassuring words of the book. Before I knew it, we had arrived at school, and I hadn’t even said a word! And you know what…it felt good! It felt good for once to not compare myself to others. It felt good to not always feel inferior. It felt good to know that God, if not anybody else in the carpool, loved me.

As the week went on, things began to get easier. I took baby steps in order to fully learn how to deal with my insecurities, and not get down on myself whenever I made a mistake. Honestly, I don’t think I will ever stop comparing myself to others. But, with the help of this book, I don’t get angry with others when they “out-do” what I have done. I don’t pity myself when I realize I didn’t do something correctly. With this book, I am comparing myself to others way less often, and when I do, I know how to effectively re-assure myself. With this book, I have learned how to give myself an amazing self-esteem boost. But, would you like to know what the most important thing I have learned is? How to love myself.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

annbug said...
May 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm
I loved it, but I feel like I'm missing something- why are you in the same car with them?  I mean, are you in a carpool or something? I might have misread something though ;) Have a great day!!!
 
Delaney97 replied...
May 21, 2010 at 8:19 am

Yes, I am in a carpool with these girls! Thanks so much for your comment!!!!!!! Have an even better day!

 

 
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