The title of this post is a text message I received from one of my exercise instructors. How lovely. What a nice thing to read. I have a lovely face. It made me ridiculously happy. The next morning, I thought about putting make-up on - to look lovely for the instructor who already thinks I have a lovely face, of course!
Then I looked in the mirror to see if I was already lovely, without the make-up.
Close up, I was.
I did it again from further away and it was not that great.
But I also realised it did not matter that much. I am lovely, I am working out, make-up for exercise is completely unnecessary and I am certainly not there so that people will say I am beautiful. I go there to feel amazing and it works. Without make-up.
It did however make me consider the power of words to transform a person’s thoughts. And how our own words sometimes aren’t powerful enough, but others can do it. Other people can say things that we believe more than the things we tell ourselves.
I see my face all the time. With and without make-up. It’s just a face, and a pretty bland one at that when unadorned. Blame it on being a natural blonde: it’s all quite pale - skin, eyelashes, eyebrows. Unlike a brunette, there’s no definition without make-up. That’s my opinion of my face.
Instructor sees my face several times a week without make-up, for an hour at a time. She doesn’t scrutinise it and there are other faces around too, for comparison and distraction. My face is lovely: that’s her opinion of my face. According to her text.
Does she really think I have a lovely face? Was it just something nice to say? Or did she not even think about the words when she wrote them - it is just a text.
I look at my face more than she does; she has other faces around...I should know better than her whether it's a good face or not...
I think I have lost my thread here. I was going to say – no, I have forgotten what my point is.
Irrespective of what I was thinking about then, when we tell ourselves negative things, it can override any positive things that another person is telling us. Our own thoughts dominate and the other person’s positive words can count for nought, cowering in the shadow of our own criticism.
The instructor views me objectively; I view myself somewhat subjectively. Perhaps her opinion is therefore more valid than mine (there’s a whole new post coming about viewing other people’s opinions as more valid than our own, I can feel it).
How annoying. I did have a decent point to make - I know I did!
In a nutshell, I received a compliment, I was happy about it, then I questioned it, overlaid my own – yep, that was it. That was my point.
Oh, it has gone again! You know, it probably wasn’t a particularly robust line of thought if it can come and go so easily. How about you all just go away with the knowledge that one person thinks my face is lovely without make-up but that actually it is a very pale face.
P.S. Was the post meant to be about other people’s opinions being more valid than our own, or about believing our own negative thoughts over others’ positive ones? My pale face is expressing confusion.
P.P.S. I love the P.S. It should have died with email, of course, as we can now cut and paste to our heart’s content. Anything that should have been inserted can be inserted, wherever we like, before our signature, before The End. But it’s a bonus; it’s more than you thought you were going to get. And with the best writing, you never want The End to be the end anyway.