On Friday afternoon, my husband, kids and I drove out-of-state for a splendid weekend with our friends. They have a country home in Pennsylvania and it’s beautiful. (Can’t you tell from the pictures?) It feels a million miles from the craziness of NYC.
For years I’ve admired my friend (I’ll call her Sara) whose house we visited. She’s the one who organized the whole weekend and always seems on top of everything. Her cooking puts me to shame and she is so gentle with her kids. She’s the one in the room everyone gravitates towards and is super warm to every person she meets.
Moreover, she’s beautiful. But she admitted to me yesterday that she never grew up thinking she was beautiful and still doesn’t to this day. I was dumbfounded! How could she not know? And what’s worse is that her lack of self-esteem led her to decades of eating disorders. While she is better now, her insecurities resurrect themselves from time to time.
How I wish I could go back in time to her early years and tell her how beautiful she is. I would have forced her to really look at herself and see how attractive she actually is. I know that eating disorders stem from very deep issues but perhaps I could have helped just a bit.
What if we all just let more people know, more often, how beautiful we think they are? Don’t you think that would make them feel a bit better, maybe even a whole lot better? Ironically I read an article in this month’s Glamour Magazine about this very idea. The piece, “Go Ahead: Tell a Stranger She’s Gorgeous”, describes Caitlin Boyle’s movement to post encouraging statements about beauty to women all over the world.
I don’t expect to cure the world of appearance issues or eating disorders, but if we all spread words of encouragement like Boyle does, perhaps we can a make small, but still meaningful difference to someone like Sara.
Before I leave today for NYC, I will tell Sara how beautiful she looks today. No question about it.