A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to someone special in my life who was feeling unworthy. In writing that letter I realized I had other friends who felt similarly, but I didn’t realize how many and how much that message was needed until I posted it and they responded. So many friends messaged me with thanks for speaking directly to them. And some went further into their pain.
I responded to them personally, but I want to share a bit here too. I always figure that if there’s something one person feels, there are probably others struggling with it too. So here are my thoughts on why you’re worthy…still.
“I, like so many other women, get this special, deep down love from our girlfriends. It is so sad to say, but sometimes our partners are unable to love us the way we need.”
This is a truly sad reality, I think. I do think it’s reasonable that we don’t get every need met by our partners. I don’t think it’s completely healthy to be so wrapped up in one singular person that we don’t find fulfillment in our friendships, our children, our hobbies. But I do think the “how to be a good spouse” playbook includes lifting the other up.
Male or female, we should find joy is seeing everything from shy smiles to tears of laughter on the faces of our loves. We may not always be able to encourage our spouses, but more often than not, we should try. Shouldn’t we?
It may not be in your nature to look your partner in the eye and say, “You are enough. I love you for everything you do and appreciate you.” That’s okay. There are many ways to express this love, this thanks, this reminder that we are all deserving of being cared for.
Try one of these on for size:
- Do things the other usually does – taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, dishes – especially during times when you know they’re more tired or distracted than usual.
- Ask if you can help before your partner asks. Make dinner together once in a while. Or watch the kids so she can shop on her own.
- Rub him/her. Massages are such a gift to our partners. And they serve multiple purposes. In this one simple gesture you’re helping ease stress, encouraging intimacy (physical and emotional), and letting the other person know you’ll touch their bodies.
- Touch their bodies. This might seem obvious, but I don’t mean grabbing his butt. That can be fun sometimes, too. However, I mean touch your husband when he gets home from work – a kiss that says, “Hello…can’t wait for bedtime.” I mean touch your wife when she’s making your lunch – a little kiss on the neck that says, “Thanks for last night.” As someone who has struggled with body image, let me tell you that the more you touch your partner, the closer they get to realizing they are worthy of your touch. Tell them.
- Leave notes. Whether you write on the fogged over mirror or send a text, short messages are an easy and quick way to say things like, “Thank you for being you,” “You’re a good mom,” or “Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you.”
We all need to be reminded of our worth from time to time and girlfriends are great for that. However I do think it’s sad when people feel like that’s the only place to get a lift up or pat on the back. Try showing and telling your spouse how worthy they are, and listen for their messages of love as well. Maybe they’re trying to tell you in their own way.
“Thank you for writing this. I don’t quite believe it, but I’m starting to hear it more every time you say it.”
I’m so glad my words are helping. I write for many reasons, but healing is high on the list. My healing and yours. I’m not perfect. I’m not always chipper. But I know there are people that have my back when I need a pat. I’ll be that person for you.
I remember what it’s like to doubt my worth. That might be part of the reason I feel so strongly about expressing to all of you how much you’re loved and cared for. Thankfully, I’ve figured out that my husband is a smart man – if he picked me (and he did) that means I am as special as he says. Someday you will believe what I’m saying. Until then, though, I’ll keep reflecting your beauty back at you.
“It’s like you’re talking right to me. Thanks for seeing the things I have a hard time seeing. How do you do that?”
My dad is pretty witty and has been known to say, “It takes one to know one.” That’s part of how I do it. As I’ve already said, I struggled for decades with my body image. I felt unworthy of praise. I brushed off compliments. But, in recent years, I’ve starting truly believing that I am worthy of all of it! I am lovable. And the more I recognize that in myself, the more I see it in others. I walk through life and see women who doubt themselves or struggle to smile. I am one, or once was, so I recognize the signs.
So, I guess I’m talking to that girl that I was. And I’m so glad you hear it!
The other part of how I do it is that I really do look up to the women in my life. And that means most of you reading this post and that letter. I see the things you gloss over because you’re busy focusing on the things you want to improve in yourself. I admire the things in you that I struggle with appreciating in myself. And when I notice something that I think you need to know about, I want to let you know.
So, yeah, I guess I am talking right to you. And I am so glad you hear that!
Those are my thoughts. Those are my words. If they speak to you, they were meant to. If you’re not ready to hear them, they’ll be here when you are. As I said in the letter…it’s just what friends do.