We can change our hairstyle, lose weight, work hard to be amazingly successful, but still feel like the awkward, teased kid we were way back when.
A quote from The Office actress Mindy Kaling in the February 2011 issue of O magazine reminded me of that.
“I still think of myself as a chubby 12-year-old, so when my boyfriend says, ‘You’re hot,’ I smile. That’s what people say about Sports Illustrated models, so hearing it makes me feel like I’ve pulled off this total scam.”
I don’t know if Kaling says this modestly or in jest, but I really related to that. Sometimes I still expect to see the same shy, vulnerable 13-year-old in the mirror too. But those harsh words from our peers, parents and ourselves can haunt us through adulthood if we let it. It can take away our accomplishments, our self-esteem and prevent us from growing and moving on our from the past.
Failing to both acknowledge the person we are now and learning to accept and love who we were when we were 30 pounds heavier, wore glasses or had braces, will always pull us back to the past. It can make us feel unworthy, undeserving and sabotage our happiness and negate our successes.
It’s still a challenge for me and sometimes I forget. But every once in awhile when I glance at my reflection, I try to see past my past image. And even if it’s a bit awkward at first, I try to smile both at that 13-year-old girl and the woman who now stands before me.
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