I met a girlfriend for an early morning cup of coffee
+ conversation in West Hollywood recently.
I have a handful of favorite spots that I can count on
to make a sharp, bitter espresso.
I arrived a few minutes early (which rarely happens)
and ordered a pot of coffee while I waited for her to join me.
Minutes later she came scurrying in, wide smile, long brown hair
tied back and clad in athletic wear.
I couldn’t help but notice how strong + fit she looked.
“Hi!” We uniformly exclaimed while exchanging a healthy hug.
“Wow, you look fantastic!” I told her.
“Oh, what? Please. No. Are you kidding?” she says with a dismissive wave.
“I really need to lose a few pounds + I only went to the gym once this week which is why I am forcing myself to go after we meet.” “Well, I think you look great,” I exclaim, “Whatever you’re doing is working.”
I drop it. We move on.
It was a shame, I couldn’t help thinking. She really did look great.
But she doesn’t see it.
Still not good enough.
How often does someone compliment us + we dismiss it.
Run away from it.
Duck + dodge as if it were an arrow headed straight for our head?
How many photos do we avoid because “we just don’t take a good picture”? Someone tells us they’re proud of us + we quickly respond with “Yeah, thanks but I still have to get that promotion/ lose more weight/see what the consumers think/ get better.”
Why is it so hard to think well of ourselves?
Perhaps it’s because self-regard is not something we are taught to indulge in.
Who taught you not to show yourself off?
“Don’t make a fuss.”
“Don’t draw attention to yourself,” our parents used to say.
Maybe you even tell your own children this.
Please, accept my compliment.
You have strived for what you have acquired,
where you have been, what you have lived through.
Yet, you wave this off.
“No, I’m still not yet enough,” you whisper to yourself.
Self-induced amnesia run amuck.
Its time to remember.
It’s time to see ourselves with kinder eyes
+ remember that the miles we’ve walked
+ the battles we’ve fought brought us to this point.
Cultivate the desire to see yourself they way we see you.
Your first reaction might be to feel like this is sinful narcissism.
Too often we dash through our days looking after everyone else and falling into bed
without paying a small but significant homage to where we shined that day,
who we shined for.
In fact, you do look pretty killer in your workout clothes.
Damn, you’re hot.
You spent 3 weeks preparing a recent media presentation/ ebook/ online group program/ art exhibit/ dance performance + regardless of how it turns out you mustered up enough moxie + mojo to get it done + done with passion.
Claim your space.
You don’t look like you did at 22 but you’re a pretty damn sexy 37 year old.
You’re scared shitless for an upcoming change
that will send shock waves through the rest of your life
but you move ahead anyway. Not easy. Well worth it.
Claim your space.
You don’t have all the answers. You often get things wrong.
You still have a lot to learn. But despite that you’re an ‘effing good
mom, entrepreneur, change agent + lover.
Fan your feathers.
Learn to take a compliment. (+ believe it)
After all, that lipstick really does look fabulous on you.
I’m a Los Angeles based relationship expert + life coach.
I offer a sharp combination of keen insight, know-how + intuition.
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© 2012 Danielle Dowling