This morning during meditation I was reflecting on the blessing of friendship and, although I have many wonderful friends and many awesome women in my life there are 3 women that bless my heart almost every day. These 3 women tell me things that every heart should hear. They don’t say things like “your hair looks great” or “love that outfit” or even “you look beautiful”. These women tell me things like “you touched my heart today” and “I had so much fun with you today” or just the other day after one of my friends and I had had lunch together someone asked her how she was doing that day (as she has not been feeling well as of late) and she answered, as she grabbed my hand; “I am wonderful today, I had lunch and a great conversation with my good friend”. These women also tell me things such as “maybe you should reflect on that more” or “maybe you misunderstood that” or even “maybe you’re wrong”. Although those things aren’t as nice to hear, they love me enough to say them.
I am so very grateful for these special friendships because my relationships with other women have not always been this way. Because of past hurtful experiences I learned to build walls and not let anyone in. It seemed, back then, that all that mattered was what you had or how you looked and, because we never had very much and I never was the teenage beauty, I ended up hurt sometimes. I don’t know that these people intentionally set out to cause pain, maybe they didn’t know that I already knew my nose had a bump or that my crooked teeth showed when I smiled or all the other things teenage girls and young women know or imagine about themselves.
I imagine we all have these horror stories from our younger days, but the point I’m trying to make is that people get so wrapped up in what they have and how they look on the outside that they don’t value the person they are on the inside. Because my walls were so high because I was always afraid of what people might see or imagine they saw and would then think of me, I didn’t let anyone in. I wouldn’t let anyone get close enough to get to know me. Having those walls up makes for loneliness and anger at oneself.
It took me years (and years) to learn to trust myself and then others. It was a very long time before I realized the few extra pounds I carry don’t matter and that the shape of my nose gives my face personality and that when I’m laughing it doesn’t matter that my teeth aren’t perfect. It took me learning that there is a difference between flattery and compliments. It took me learning that I’d rather have character than be a character. It took learning to value myself more than the opinion others may have.
I am very thankful for these women who have helped me break down those old walls so that I could really breathe and really love life and show the world the true ME. I’m not perfect but then, I don’t have to be and I am very grateful for that.
Photo credit for the heart daisy goes to Danilo Rizzuti