I have always been a super self-conscious, shy person who constantly dwelled on the judgments that other people were mentally making about me.
I was always absolutely convinced that everyone who met me, or just saw me on the street, saw ugly poor white trash and it would always be that way. I walked with my head down, avoiding eye contact and saying as little as possible.
This all changed one weekend where I realized that…
I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!
In 2001 I took a weekend adult education/self-improvement course called More to Life. I had been advised ahead of time to raise my hand every time the trainer asked for volunteers. I was terrified but I had committed to doing it, so I did.
The course started on Friday night and the first time the trainer asked for a volunteer it was to answer the question, “What does your mind tell you about yourself that you’ve never said out loud?”
I raised my hand, though not very high. I didn’t look her in the eye and made myself as small as possible in my chair.
So of course I was called on.
I had to stand up in a room of about 45 people and say that my mind constantly told me that “I am hideous, and horrible, and nobody could ever love me.”
I will never forget saying those words. I started crying halfway through.
I am an ugly crier.
The trainer looked at me silently for a full minute. I could feel the eyes of the other people in the room. I studied my shoes and wanted to disappear.
Then the trainer said, “Look at this beautiful young lady. SHE truly believes that she is hideous and horrible and nobody will ever love her. This is a perfect example of what blatant lies we tell ourselves every minute of every day.”
She said it as though it was so obviously false, suddenly it seemed ridiculous to me. There were murmurs from the other trainees in the room, and a couple of people reached out to touch my hand or pat my shoulder.
I have never forgotten that moment.
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