Today's @womenlives challenge gives me the opportunity to write anything I want. No suggested topics (which I don't have to use if I don't want.) No outline. No schedule. So, I'm writing about the ONE topic that is the resonating cry of my heart to all women, everywhere.
You've experienced it, I'm sure.
Someone gives you a compliment, and you hang your head and all but reject the words.
"Your hair is so pretty."
"Ugh! It's a mess today."
"What a pretty dress!"
"Oh, this? I got it on sale."
"I love the way you (sing, write, pray, cook, etc.)"
"Oh. Well, I could do better.
I (was flat, am a terrible speller, stumbled over the words, followed a recipe)."
Few are the women who can simply say, "Thank you" when offered a compliment.
Why is it, that we have such a hard time believing anything good about ourselves?
We gaze at re-touched glamour magazine images of our idols, and hate our own bodies.
We want to be older, younger, smarter, thinner, richer - anything more - than what we are.
In the media, young girls barely in their teens are made to look like 20-somethings. And mature women are photoshopped to look 20 years younger.
It is hard to cherish your own unique beauty, skill and abilities when you grow up believing that there is nothing special about you. Many young girls are beaten down from the day they are born; believing they are not good enough.
Even when a girl grows up in an affirming home, the moment she steps foot into a play group or classroom, she is confronted with words and images that make her doubt her unique, beautiful, breathtaking self.
We believe that our gifts and talents are less than someone else's.
We hide ourselves from praise, because we believe we don't deserve it. We carry with us a crippling belief that all others are more talented than we. What we DON'T KNOW, is that those we admire are likely carrying the same self-doubt, even self-loathing, that we ourselves try to keep hidden from public view.
YOU are BREATHTAKING!
Of all scriptures in the Bible, THIS one may be the hardest to believe, and take to our own heart:
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 NLT
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines BREATHTAKING as very great, astonishing, very exciting, very surprising, taking one's breath away.
Within each individual girl and woman, are magnificent treasures that have yet to be revealed. There are thoughts and dreams, inventions and creativity that could transform the world around us; if only that girl or woman believed in herself.
I have had the privilege to watch the transformation of many women; from afraid to powerful. I have seen these same women lift their heads and look clear-eyed into the faces of those who appreciate the things they've accomplished. I've watched as they put their hands to their heart, and said, without shame or reserve, "Thank you."
I KNOW that it sounds cliche', but there is no one on the earth just like you! Your genetic blueprint is unique to you. No one else has fingerprints like yours. The way you think, process information, dance, sing, smile and blink is unlike any other person's on the earth. The world population clock says that there are just over 7 BILLION people on the earth. And YOU are the ONLY YOU!
Marianne Williamson is famous for her quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Overused? Probably. But STILL TRUE!
My prayer, is that somewhere stirring within your heart is the smallest THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of excitement because you know that the words are true. You KNOW that you are incredible, and special and wonderful.
I pray that you will become brave enough to value the Breathtaking woman that you are. And please, tell another woman how great she is.
Will you allow me to join you in your journey to belief? I would be honored to walk with you through the process.