What is it that defines you?
Your husband's opinion of you? Your parent's expectations? Your looks? Your work?
The problem with putting something as incredibly important as your personal identity on things as impermanent as your looks or your work, or on other people's expectations, you risk having your foundation ripped out from under you when it all doesn't go your way.
You see, I think the most important thing you can learn in life; the most impactful thing you can do for yourself, is to stop measuring your worth by such flimsy barometers. If your husband is having a bad day and doesn't say he loves your outfit, or worse your relationship is starting to fizzle out... if you lose your job, or there is restructuring in the company that changes the dynamic you are used to... or let's say your looks are changing, be it age, having children, anything... when these types of things change, the network of value you have tried to set up for yourself will crumble.
Then you are left feeling shaken, afraid, worthless, unloved, under appreciated and extremely incapable.
But what if instead all of that you focused on what makes you you. Your integrity, your honesty, your sense of humour, your compassion, your warmth, your love for open windows and cool breezes, your love to walk barefoot in cool grass, your addiction to steamy romance novels... the things that have permanence. The things that will never change, no matter what your boss says, or your spouse/partner... no matter how you look, no matter what people expect from you. What if you put stock into that? What if you began to build your foundation of confidence and worth on those immovable FACTS about you?
Would you then feel a bit untouched when someone passes an opinion of you? Or when someone has ridiculous expectations of you?
What if you worked to build upon the things that are TRUE about you, and not upon things that people MIGHT say or feel about you?
I think that's when you will suddenly find an inner strength you never knew you had... that you will be able to see beyond the harsh words others may say, into their pain, realizing that their problem with you was never actually your problem to begin with.
I believe we walk through life at times trying to carry everything. It's a sad and frustrating juggling act, that slowly flattens us under all its weight. This is not our own weight... but the weight of the pain someone else caused us, but they won't say sorry about it, the weight of someone not helping you, because they don't see your struggle and you don't know how to ask for help. It's the weight of expectations, unrealistic or realistic. It's the weight of magazines showing only one or two types of bodies and neither of them looking like yours. It's the weight of your partner not telling you that you're beautiful when you need to hear it... and the weight of your responsibilities in life, because you know that if you don't do everything, it will all begin to fall apart...
Well I believe that when we realize that the weight we are carrying isn't even ours to begin with, and that when we are able to place that excess weight down and only carry our own, that is when we will stand straight and tall. Suddenly loving ourselves. Suddenly confident. Suddenly powerful.
So, today, place just a little of that excess weight you carry on the ground. Walk away from it. Remind yourself that it isn't yours to carry anymore. And make a list of what it is to be YOU. Do not include your labels, you are so much more than a mother, daughter, wife, sister. Do not include your job title, or your looks. Make a list of what you ARE. INSIDE. And then remember - THAT is the only weight you need to be carrying around.
I am including images from a personal project I did earlier this year, I had women come into the studio, drink tea and speak about what was weighing on them. Even through the toughest moments their strength and resilience shines through and they are a constant reminder to me of the immense power we have within us.