“Ohhhh!!! Look at you! You look so nice today!”
The coffee barista decided to greet me with a compliment, rather than jumping right into my coffee order. Rather than immediately searching for a reason to discount his kindness, I joyfully accepted his compliment with a “Oh thank you, you’re so sweet!”
As I joined the other caffeine-deprived peeps who were eagerly awaiting their own coffee fixes, my mind wandered to the barista’s compliment, causing me to laugh.
“You look so nice today,” he had said.
Not, “You look so nice.”
But rather, today….today I look so nice.
Downcast thoughts wanted to entrap me in insecurity and continue to wonder about how downright haggard I must have looked in the past to warrant me a, “You look nice today” compliment.
But I chose to shake off that negativity and refused to accept the notion that his kindness was actually a back-handed compliment.
Instead, I decided to instead take delight in the whole thing. I chose to seek out the good and see the humor in it all.
You see, even if the barista’s use of the word “today” was intentional…
…I mean, he was kind of just pointing out an obvious fact.
That day, I looked polished: my sundress was cheery yellow, my hair was curled, and my make-up was “just right.”
But on most other days? The crew at Philz Coffee typically see a “straight out of bed” Rachael: I show up to claim my cup of joe garbed in pj’s, my hair a-mess, and make-up?
Oh, please. Who has time for that before coffee?! 😉
Less Than Perfect is Perfectly Okay
There once was a time when I would feel anxious about going
out as my “less than polished” self.
I’d still peruse the aisles of Super Target in my (sometimes clean, sometimes dirty) sweats or run errands looking (way) less than perfect. But when I did, I would always do so with caution, hoping to avoid running into anyone I knew in order to save myself from embarrassment.
Well, today my mindset is much different.
Today, I show up as I am with confidence: done up or completely undone.
- When I’m a little rough around the edges, I don’t carry shame or think about what others are thinking.
- I accept whole-heartedly that my appearance has nothing to do with my value or worth. What I look like on the outside has nothing to do with how I can love, encourage, or support others in this world.
In fact, when I waste my energy caring so much about what others think about me or how I appear to others on the outside, my inside start to look messy.
- I become self-consumed,
- I begin to feel insecure.
- I become overly concerned with others’ opinions or pay an unhealthy amount of attention to things that quite frankly don’t matter: like the size or shape of my body or how “pretty” I appear on the outside.
Focus On the Right Things
One of the many gifts granted by recovery is caring less about what others think about me.
It’s been a byproduct of all the emotional healing, soul searching, and spiritual growth that’s been part of my journey in reclaiming the “Rachael” God created me to be.
- I’ve honed in on my core values and discovered my true gifts and passions.
- I’ve challenged (and continue to challenge) rules that have been impressed upon me (by society or others). I fight back against rules and standards that go against my core values, such as “your worth is linked to what you look like, what you weigh, what you achieve, what you produce, or what you attain.”
- Instead of looking to others, I’ve learned to acknowledge my feelings and understand my needs and desires, asking for myself, “What do I think? What do I need? What do I want? What do I like?”
- I’ve learned to invite God in on my moments of soul-searching, allowing Him to realign unhealthy thoughts, desires, or beliefs that require adjustment.
- I’ve learned to release my expectations and plans for the future, allowing God to dictate the path before me and the next steps to take.
- I’ve developed the discipline of spending time with God each day, allowing His correction and seeking His direction.
The more I focus my attention on seeking the things that are important to God, the less I focus on what others deem worthy.
The more I concern myself with what God says about me, the less I pay attention to the opinions of others.
Caring Less: A Journey
Learning to be less concerned about what others think about you does not happen overnight: it’s a journey.
But Friend, I promise you: the more you set your sights on God and the more you focus your attention on what God says about you, the less you will be concerned with what others think.
I think you will also find yourself more concerned with the condition of your insides (i.e., your heart, mind, and soul) than the appearance of youroutsides.
Friend, I encourage you to do your best to start putting less weight on what others think.
Where to start?
By affirming your worth in what God has to say about you.
God’s opinion is what truly matters. His opinion is always spot-on.
So then, what does He think about you?
Well, Friend, He says you’re pretty darn special! You’re loved, you’re worthy, you have a purpose, and you’re incredibly valuable to Him: just as you are.
You, Friend, are AWESOME in His sight!
So go ahead, I dare you! Claim your awesomeness!!!
- Choose to take up space
- Share your thoughts
- Seek your passions
- Live out your truth
Turn to God and ask Him to help you reclaim the “True You” He created you to be.
Friend, I hope you have a fruitful week. I encourage you to keep your eyes set on God and affirm yourself in the truth of what He has to say about you. Don’t trip yourself up by turning to others to affirm your worth.
Practice grounding yourself in truth by compassionately affirming yourself with this statement each day:
One Last Piece of Advice
A word of caution: Friend, you’re human. So let me warn you ahead of time: you’re going to slip up from time-to-time, finding yourself smack dab back in the “compare/despair” self-shaming cycle.
The truth is, even when we’re working diligently to ground ourselves in truth, we’ll still find ourselves ensnared by lies at times!
But take heart and don’t lose hope by reminding yourself of this fact: the more you familiarize yourself with truth, the easier it will be to spot the lies.
Don’t judge your missteps and failures. Instead, lean into self-compassion and ask yourself what you can learn from the experience. Then, pick yourself back up and keep plugging forward.
The next time you catch yourself tripped up by lies, shame, fear, or otherwise find yourself thinking down on yourself:
- Call BS on the lies and deceitful stories that are running through your mind; put a stop to the downward spiral right then and there.
- Put your hand on your heart and slow down to feel your feelings.
- Identify the lies and fight back with truth, such as, “I am loved, I am cherished, I am worthy, I am enough.”
- Examine your heart and compassionately ask yourself, “What caused me to go to that place? What thoughts and beliefs came up for me? What lies were disguised as matter of fact? Where is the truth? What do I choose to believe and reinforce in my mind?”
You are a beautiful soul, my Friend, with so much to offer this world. I don’t want you to waste one more day thinking your True Self from is less than worthy. God created you intentionally, exactly as you are. And the world needs your special gifts and your unique perspective.
Friend, you’ve got this. Keep looking to God and allow Him to tell you who He says you are. The more you do, the more you’ll break free from the bondage of caring so much about what others think about you.
May you ground yourself in truth.
May you acknowledge your innate worth.
May you proclaim with great conviction in the days to come: “God thinks I’m awesome!”
Scripture to Meditate on This Week:
|“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14|
Other Posts to Check Out:
Who is the “Me” you desire to be? Earlier this year, I did an exercise to flesh out the things I desire to live out as my truth. Check out this post to see my list and become inspired to draft up your own! What attributes describe the person YOU desire to be?
What definition of beauty do you want to hold true for yourself? Warped beauty standards and misaligned societal values can drive us to feel less than worthy. It’s important to challenge those lies. God’s definition of beauty is much different from what the world says is beautiful. Does your definition of “beautiful” need some tweaking? Get curious! Be honest!