29. A Beautiful Reflection

29. A Beautiful Reflection

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

A Beautiful Reflection

To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.

~T. Tolis

Every day I would look in the mirror, hate what I saw, but repeat the words, “I am beautiful.” I didn’t do it willingly. Sometimes I’d cry or grit my teeth to get the words out. But I kept saying it, no matter what.

It was at the request of my boyfriend that I began the daily ritual. He was drawn to me because of my kindness, gentle spirit and love of silliness. But, he also saw me as beautiful and it bothered him that I couldn’t see it myself.

For a long time I had accepted the lie that my weight made me a second-rate person undeserving of romance, popularity or success. Years of rejection and being ignored had caused me to build a cocoon around myself. I mistakenly thought that if I stayed quiet, maybe I would be safe. Lonely, but safe.

I wrapped myself in layers of fears and phobias, my heart breaking a little more with each wedding invitation or engagement announcement. I gave up hoping for my true love, convinced I wasn’t good enough.

It wasn’t until I resolved to be happy on my own that I met him and things began to change. He pointed out my positive qualities, best features and most admirable character traits, making me repeat them out loud. It felt awkward. I was embarrassed. I laughed, and I cried. But, I kept at it every day: “I am beautiful.”

And then, one day, an amazing thing happened. Staring in the mirror, I realized with a shock that I believed it! He wasn’t lying or just being nice. It was true! I am beautiful!

The layers of my cocoon slowly dissolved, and as I left behind the security of aloneness, new wings unfurled in vibrant colors and I learned to fly.

For a long time I had accepted the lie that my weight made me a second-rate person undeserving of romance, popularity or success.

Today, the boyfriend who changed my life and taught me to love myself is my husband of fourteen years. He still loves my curves and has taught me to be confident and proud no matter what my dress size. He encourages me to be as healthy and fit as possible, but I know now that my beauty encompasses every part of who I am.

I am caring. I am talented. I am worthy. I am beautiful.

~L. Joy Douglas

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