What distorted thoughts about your personality or appearance are negative to your mental health?
I used to complain about my thick, long hair. It took 3 hours to dry. It was so heavy. It always got in the way. Man, I would give anything to have that again. Women are supposed to have long, beautiful hair – just look at the TV and magazines. And, in Southern California, just look around. To have long hair means youth, beauty, vitality, and fertility. Only the sick or dying have short or no hair. In the Middle Ages or Renaissance they’d cut the hair of women to punish them publicly. Well, just over 10 years ago my hairdresser told me there was a circle, the size of a quarter, of hair missing on the back of my head. It’s been a bumpy ride since then. I have spent most of those 10 years trying to hide it, feeling ashamed and ugly. I look in the mirror and see a stranger.
It’s time to embrace that stranger.
We’re all growing older, every minute. Which of us can look in the mirror and see the person we were 10 years ago? When we look, we see our flaws, our eyes are magnetically drawn. But when our friends look at us, they don’t see what we see. They see our smiles, our tears, the cute crinkles we get near our eyes when we laugh, they see our essence, our soul.
We are loved, just the way we are.
It is my challenge, and my goal, to remember this. To realize, recognize, that my value is not determined by the number of hairs on my head, but rather, by the love in my heart.
I see strangers looking, curiosity, sympathy. They probably think I have cancer. It’s funny almost, when I wear wigs I feel dishonest, like I’m hiding. And, now when I don’t, I almost feel dishonest as well, because the likely assumptions about my hair loss are inaccurate. Truth is, who we are shouldn’t be determined by how others see us. Our value is innate, inherent – we are already valuable without even doing anything. We already are valuable, just being. But which of us is so strong as to not be influenced by how others see us? Humans are social creatures – we need others.
It is my hope, and my desire, to surround myself with people that love me for who I am, and not what I look like.