I feel lucky to have been born with an extra heaping dose of healthy self esteem. I hate to think where I'd be without it. I have had my share of trials and tribulations and blows to my self esteem. But at the end of the day (or decade), I know what I'm worth.
There was an anorexic girl in spin class on Wednesday. At the very least, she has some seriously disordered eating. Painfully thin. Skeletal. A friend of mine in college suffered from anorexia our sophomore year. I know what this looks like.
She came in and set up her bike behind me so that when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I see her behind me. My initial reaction was envy. I assure you this lasted a fraction of a second. What woman doesn't want to be thinner than she actually is? My second though was anger. Who does she think she is parading her thinness through the gym when there are people here who actually NEED to lose weight?
But then, as I watched our reflections in the mirror, reality set in. And I felt sorry for her. Sorry that she doesn't value herself enough. Sorry that she is hurting her bones, her heart, and her brain, just to name a few. As I watched her struggle to turn the crank on the spin bike I noticed the contrast of my own muscular thighs acting as pistons against the resistance of the hill we were supposed to be climbing. I bet she looks at me and wishes she could be as "thin" as me. I bet she envies my athletic build and strength. Her own self portrait is warped, but somehow she is able to see the rest of the world as it is.
I thought about her again on Thursday as I climbed South Mountain to the TV towers. It's not a long ride, but it does require strength to get up the hill. I thought about her as I ran trails on Friday and again today. My feet carried me up and down hills over and over again. I flew over the rugged terrain, my muscles responding and picking up my feet to glide over rocks. Muscles generating heat to warm my core against the breeze. I have never been more thankful for the gifts that I have.
Self esteem is the gift we should give ourselves every single day. When we wake up and look in the mirror, we should tell ourselves how great we are. Every day. And then we should tell everyone around us too. Not how great we are (cause they can see that already!), but how great they are. If we valued ourselves a little bit more, the feeling of love would naturally flow through other areas of our life.
I am worth it. And you are too.