While preparing for some mock interviews, I came across a list of potential interview questions that all job candidates should be prepared to answer. Of course, one of those questions was “What three words would someone close to you use to describe you?” (Whether or not this is a good interview question isn’t relevant at this point because, let’s be real, who would say, oh, my friends think I’m an idiot?) Anyway, I began to think about my own answer to that question, and though I have several adjectives that I would like for my friends to use to describe me, I wasn’t really sure what they would say. Even more importantly, I’m not sure it would matter…to me…in my current state. I am sure the people closest to me would say some wonderful things, but would I believe them? Probably not.
To test my theory, I wrote down three words I would like for my friends to use to describe me:
Passionate Beautiful Funny
Those are my words. That’s how I want people to see me. Now, quite a few people said passionate. I’m not sure if that’s because it typically leaves my mouth at least five times a day or because people really see my passion. Only one person said beautiful, and that’s my aunt, so in my mind, it doesn’t count. Of course, this bothered me. One person said pretty, but that is in no way the same as beautiful. Pretty fades and disappears over time. Beauty is deep; it’s forever. If someone asked me what it means to be beautiful, as long as I am not talking about myself, I would rattle off a list of adjectives and very few would have anything to do with physical attributes. On the other hand, if talking about myself, I would rattle off a list of physical attributes as to why I am NOT beautiful. Why? Because I am rarely appreciated for my physical beauty. And while I realize how superficial this is (I know all about the beauty myth), it is the truth, and because of that, I have always desired for someone to describe me in this way (outside of family and good friends, of course). Even men that I have been in relationships with have never, not once, identified one of my best features as something physical. I’ve gotten a lot of intelligent, smart, strong, etc… Of course, in the end, I’d much rather be intelligent than pretty, but…right now…in this moment…as a single woman who has always struggled with body image…just once, I’d like to hear someone (preferably not family or good female friends) remind me of my physical beauty. (I have often wondered if really attractive women have strong desires for someone to recognize their inner beauty. Maybe so? It is hard for me to fathom though. However, I realize I take intelligence and inner beauty for granted…imagine that. Sometimes when I admit to this, it shocks people. Do not judge me or take away any of my confident, all-mighty and powerful womanliness points because I have this issue… I am simply a product of my environment. And I guarantee, I’m not the only strong, confident woman with a little bit of insecurity when my clothes hit the floor. Amen?)
Anyway, as far as funny goes…well, I had one or two. Of course, this tells me either I’m not as funny as I think I am or that people around me have no sense of humor. (I’m going with the latter, of course.)
Now, you see what I just did? I did what most people in the world do when faced with a compliment. I focused on what was not said instead of on what was! The people around me filled my bucket with wonderful, kind, and transforming words. The people who know me best described me as:
Passionate, Inspiring, Intelligent, Driven, Capable, Pretty, Multi-faceted, Wise, Courageous, Trail blazer, Free, Honest/Trustworthy, Caring, Giving, Service, Outgoing, Dedicated, Charismatic, Legendary, Selfless, Encouraging, Devoted, Fierce, Dilligent, Connector, Mentor, Super-hero!
Seriously?? All of those are me???
If I were to leave this earth tomorrow, and those words are any indication of the legacy I would leave, why in the world would I want to be anyone other than exactly who I am right now?
Here is the simple truth though: I am always striving to be different/better/more or less of this or that than I am. And I still have feelings of inadequacy because not enough people said beautiful? What is wrong with me???? Why is it so hard for us to believe that we are good enough? Most everyone else seems to believe it, so what am I missing? I am willing to bet that even if everyone would have said beautiful, I would have been upset that they didn’t say sexy.
We do not allow ourselves to believe we are good enough!
How many times have we heard that we shouldn’t let others’ opinions of us determine who we are? In fact, the only opinion that should matter is yours (and Jesus’, of course), right? Well, what do you do when others’ opinions of you are much better than your opinion of yourself? How much strength would I have if I lived my life believing that all of the things that my friends have said about me are in fact…true? And what if…just what if…I defined my own beauty by the same standards I define beauty for others? You couldn’t tell me nothing!! But, alas, here I am…waiting for someone to call me beautiful (and again, not family or friends) and ignoring the fact that I am a freakin’ super-hero!
So here is my promise to myself…and what I would like to challenge my friends to do...believe in yourself the way others do. A LOT of people around you appreciate you and all that you bring to their lives. Embrace it and forget (I’d really like to use a different f-word with only four letters, but my mama would D-I-E…) the rest!
You are good enough and I am beautiful.