Recently, a former TV news reporter emailed me to say that my mission, of helping other women find their glow, inspired her to write a letter of apology to herself. Libby Reilly, creator of the blog Plain Jane Mad Libby, decided to forgive herself for reducing her sense of self-worth to a number on the scale; for looking at magazines and feeling she didn’t measure up; and ultimately, for not believing that her body is beautifully- and perfectly-made. It’s not easy to write posts like this. Her inspiring, raw message is our very first guest post on SheJustGlows.com.
I owe you an apology. I have known you for 25 years and you have been very faithful to me, but you have consistently been taken for granted and not treated with the respect you deserve.
I need to tell you that for the first time in 25 years, I realize that you are not only capable, you are beautiful. Did you hear me? I said you are BEAUTIFUL. I am sorry it has taken me this long to understand how wonderful you actually are and I promise to compliment you more often- not because I am vain but because you are a gift.
I am sorry I have filled you with sub-par things and expected you to work to your fullest potential. I am sorry I deprived you of sleep, nutrition, laughter, and made you spend way too many hours staring at, and obsessing over, a number on a scale. I judged you by that number and I realize now how wrong that was. You should have instead been judged by the strength you possess, the lines around my mouth that point to how many smiles we have given to others, and the freckles that dance around my skin for they remind me of all the wonderful days we have spent in the rays of the pleasant sun.
I am sorry for all the excuses that were made to not fuel you with exercise. We are so much happier and full of energy when we are active! I am also sorry for all the times I filled you with improper food because I thought I deserved it, or the times I deprived you of calories all together because I thought I didn’t deserve them. I deserve to be fueled. I deserve to give my body nutrition to live and thrive. This is just another thing it has taken me so long to realize.
I am sorry I have compared you to others. I am sorry I didn’t think you measured up to them because let me tell you, you are perfect just the way you are. Everyone has their battles and if I can love others through theirs, I can love myself through my own, too. I can’t take back all the times I stared at pictures in magazines or at strangers on the street and wished to look more like them, but I know now how foolish that was. You are capable, miraculous, and wonderful.
I am sorry for thinking a number on a scale was enough to define everything about you. It sounds pretty ridiculous said aloud, doesn’t it? Someone who loves us very much recently took that scale away, and at first I was angry because I didn’t think I would be able to measure my progress. It’s funny though- I haven’t seen this much progress in a very long time and it all started with the scale no longer being a fixture in my bathroom and in my life.
Getting to this point of loving you has not been easy. It was hard to even admit at first that I didn’t love you; however, people take care of and nurture the things they love. They treat those things with respect and honor for the blessing that they are. I have not done that with you and that stops here.
One day I hope to have a little girl and I don’t want her to go through these hard feelings like I have. I don’t want her to know what it feels like to not love exercise, not love good food, and I certainly don’t want her to know what it feels like to be obsessed over a scale. I don’t know that little girl yet, but I know that she will be beautiful and miraculous and capable. I know she will be unique and have so many characteristics about her that everyone will love. I know this because she will be a part of me. She will be a part of her dad, who is wonderful, too. These are all the things that will only begin to define her.
So, Self, with this sincere apology, I also want to say thank you. Thank you for continuing to work and thrive despite the obstacles through which I have put you. Thank you for being patient with me while I learned all of these lessons. You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are cherishable. You have been good to me and it is time now that I return the favor.
Your Newest, Greatest Fan
Psalm 139:14: “I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Photos courtesy E.P. Widor Photography