Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” may have been a little out of touch. Words can absolutely hurt. They can heal. They can empower. They can make or break relationships. It’s why the phrases “think before speaking” and “choose your words wisely” came into existence.
Yesterday I posted a picture of myself to my Instagram story. I imagine that I went through the same process that everyone else goes through. Filter? No filter? Do I look ok? Ugh, is my body going to be scrutinized? Should I even go through with posting it? Do people need to see this picture of me? And then I pulled the trigger. I made the decision that the picture was good enough for me.
Later in the evening, someone made a comment that “to be honest, the picture looks photoshopped” followed by “I was kind of disappointed that you would do that because you should just be you.”
I went from feeling good about the picture to thinking “wow, it must not look like me.” But I didn’t photoshop the picture. The person who made this comment did not accept that as truth. They went on to suggest that maybe the person who took the picture quickly doctored my thighs before sending the picture to me.
It made me feel like all the nice comments I got about the picture were now voided because it probably doesn’t look like me anyway. I cried. The mean voice in my head high-fived herself, celebrating a victory. “See, I told you.” I took the picture down. I cried some more.
I’m not trying to hide anything about myself. If my thighs don’t look thick enough in that picture – let me tell you – they are thick. I am not a skinny girl. I have cellulite. I do not have a body that hits the gym every day. I was at a food festival eating a vegan grilled cheese when I took the picture. Just so you all know – I don’t have skinny thighs. Sorry, not sorry.
A therapist once said to me “everything that comes to your mind does not have to come out of your mouth.” Words are powerful. So here are some nice words. You are gorgeous. Your body looks just fine – from that angle and the other angle and from all the angles because nothing about you is a mistake. A tight hug to the folks who struggle to find the nice words because they didn’t hear them often enough. Words are free. Pick the best ones.