Last week, I was reminded of the kindness of strangers, in a slightly cruel way.
I ran into an old “friend”. We exchanged hugs and pleasantries, per usual and asked how each other’s families were doing. Before we parted ways, she had one last question. That dreaded question that no one is ever supposed to ask a woman. She wanted to know if I was pregnant (gasp!). Due to the way “my dress was flowing in the wind”, or whatever. You know, she “just couldn’t tell”. Feeling my confidence and sense of self-worth beginning to crumble (in front of my daughter), I quickly and still politely said, “no” and hurried along. I wanted to hide. I wanted to cry.
There is good in this world, everywhere.
While I was being crushed by one mother, another mother was standing there holding the door for me, overhearing the crushing conversation. My first thought when I noticed her was now she’s going to think the same thing of me. She’s going to judge my body now too. But instead, she paused to look me in the eyes and tell me, “You definitely do not look pregnant” (and a few other kind words). It felt powerful and comforting. I was glad to know another person was shocked by this friend’s callousness. It made me think about how kind and brave this woman was to try to build a stranger back up after being insulted like that. Undoubtedly, she’s had a similar experience like many mothers do at some point. I hope someone was there for her to build her back up as well.
Once I had a moment to myself I was able to start processing what I was feeling. I could have easily fallen into feeling bad about myself, my body or my choices. I could also place blame on that friend and judge her choices in life. But I realized I wasn’t surprised at the friend’s rudeness. And I wasn’t about to let someone put me into a negative-thinking-spiral.
Instead, I focused on the kindness of a stranger; Her courage to speak up in an uncomfortable situation and to lift me up, even though she didn’t know me. I am grateful this stranger was there when I needed her compassion. I am grateful for the reminder: There is so much good in the world.
You are enough.
My message is this: Know your worth. Don’t let ANYONE tear you down inside your own mind.
But, if you don’t know your self-worth or if you’re like me and struggle with it some days:
Make a plan to know your worth. Start by looking in the mirror, smiling at yourself and telling yourself “I love you”. Do it every day until you believe yourself and it feels good to say it.
I also recommend listening to Zen Parenting Radio – Episode #394 “A Checklist for Self-Compassion.
We’re all just walking each other home. – Ram Dass
If you’re looking for more help on self-compassion, connect with me on social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org