When I was in high school, my dear friend Emily would address me by saying, “Hey, beautiful!” It always unnerved me back then, though I would never have been able to articulate why. With my 20-20 hindsight, however, I can quite easily tell you why: I didn’t believe I was beautiful.
I never mentioned this to Emily, of course, because sheesh, how rude would THAT be. And so she kept doing it. And so I kept cringing. But eventually the cringing lessened, and then subsided completely. And I still don’t quite believe that I’m beautiful. Not most days. But what I DO believe is that Emily thinks I’m beautiful. I believe that every day, and it is meaningful and helpful and a generous gift for her to have given me.