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“You have such a nice smile. Your teeth are beautiful. You look great today. I love that outfit. Now, those are some bad shoes, girl. Your hair is beautiful. May I touch it? You smell really nice…I always know when you have walked down this hall.  You don’t look your age. You have such a beautiful singing voice. You are naturally beautiful and look so young. Wow, you look great! I love the tone of your voice. You’re so pretty. You wear your weight well. You are always on point. You always dress so nice when you come to work. Go ‘head girl! You got it! Now that’s what I’m talking about. Divahhhhhh! You’re so talented. You are really smart/intelligent. You look sweet as sugar. You are such an encouragement.  The Lord has really blessed you. Your kids are beautiful and talented just like you. You have a beautiful family. I wish I had married a woman like you. You and your husband make such a beautiful couple. After all these years, you still look good. You are such a beautiful person. You inspire me. Your daughter gets her beautiful voice from you. Your girls are beautiful just like you. You mean so much to me. I love you so much. “

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“Dang, you sure have picked up weight. Wow, you have such a long chin. Girl, you cut your hair? I liked it better longer. You use to be so thin. So and so looks really great. Oh, but you’re okay too. You wouldn’t look good small like so and so. You should just lose a little bit of weight and you’ll be alright. I would have maybe put something else together a little bit differently, but you don’t look bad. Your face sure is round now. Isn’t so and so pretty? So and so is the best at such and such just like you use to be. Remember when you use to be a toothpick. Girl, dem babies sure done put some weight on you! You sure are some big! Remember when you use to have it going on. You sounded okay.” When sharing a great accomplishment, “Oh, that’s nice.” (Moving on to something else more important).

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Two drastically different sets of comments. I am sure most of you can relate to having experienced a little of both if not a lot. It sometimes depends on “that time of the month” as to what I choose to believe the most and/or accept. As crazy and over-the-top as some of those comments may be, these are actual statements people have taken the liberty to share with me unsolicited. Some have boosted me up and others have hurt my feelings and made me feel, “some kinda way” about myself.

It wasn’t until most recently that I began to really think about how I felt regarding my social media image and what I want to project to my family, friends and the world. What do I mean by this? Surely, I already have an established reputation on social media that is pretty positive for the most part. But you and I know there is so much more to it than just that. I have selectively chosen certain pictures to post and others not so much. I may have looked a bit heavier than usual or my hair just wasn’t quite right. There are some pictures that I feel really embarrassed about because I do not look like I use to when “others” thought I was attractive. Now, it’s hard to take a really good picture worthy enough to share without agonizing over it first.

When looking at the pictures and videos that I have been tagged in and/or posted myself as of recent, I have concluded that my focus is all wrong. Those pictures memorialize such a blessed, encouraging and inspiring time that it really is least important how short my hair is or how much weight I have gained. No, I don’t look like I use to, but very few do. We all have our best and worst moments but should focus on what really matters instead of being so consumed with “peoples’” assessment of how we should look and who we should be. The crazy thing is that I receive way more compliments than I do criticisms and negative critiques. For some reason as women, the bad stuff always seems to stick best.

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My fellow readers, I am requesting your help. May we collectively turn over a new leaf in not buying into the negativity so easily and be willing to accept the positive as a source of encouragement to continue to do better. It does not mean that we should not accept constructive criticisms to do better and be better. However, we must realize that misery does not enjoy solitude. There will always be those that have a low opinion of themselves who wish to burden others with their low self-image by projecting onto us to feel the same way about ourselves. Okay, so can we stop taking the bait and enjoy what is left of our lives making the most out of each day we are blessed to rise. The naysayers will either look to us for encouragement and/or flee if we don’t continue to buy into what they are spewing. No more comparing our image and lives to others who very likely are feeling the same way behind a smile or what appears to be a great life. Somebody must grow up so that others will do the same. If we are all wandering in the wilderness of low self-image, what will we teach our daughters? What is the example we set? What will be our legacy of beauty and self-image to our daughters and young girls alike?

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I say to you, “Hello Beautiful! It’s nice to meet you! Care to join me?”

Blessings and Inspiration,