Recently a friend and I were talking, and we got to sharing stories about slights from our childhood that we still remember today.
She told me about a time when she was ten years old where a friend informed her that her thighs were disproportionately big for her body.
I volleyed back by telling her about the pool party I went to when I was thirteen, and how when I stripped down to my swim suit, one of the other girls looked me up and down before saying, “You’re not as thin as everyone thinks you are.”
The funny thing is two decades later, she’s still self-conscious about her thighs, and I still think about this girl’s comment whenever I’m stripping down to my swimsuit in front of people. How ridiculous is this? Honestly!
I hate that I’ve held onto this memory for so many years. I challenged myself to think back to when I was thirteen, and remember a compliment someone gave me. The only one I can think of wasn’t even a compliment, but how, after I got my hair done professionally for the first time in my life (and, what do you know, my major frizz-ball hair was actually naturally curly once I stopped trying to brush through it!) and a boy in my class did a double take when he saw me.
Recently I went through a bunch of my old cards and letters, and I was amazed as I was reading through them, all the complimentary things people wrote to me. Things that I’d completely forgotten, but that were heart-felt and touching and so, so kind. How did I forget all these cards with amazing compliments even existed, but I can remember the time a boy in high school stood me up and called me Raggedy Ann (admittedly, that’s kind of hard to forget), or the time when the girl who stood next to me at choir practice plugged her ear so she couldn’t hear me (and is the reason I don’t join choir today), or the girl who told me that she didn't see why anyone would fall for the main character of my first book, and many other stupid, little things that I’ve held onto for too long.
Do you ever watch Reba? There’s this episode, and I don’t even remember what happens, but her son-in-law says to her, “I have one word for you: Letitgo.” This has become a catch-phrase in my family: Letitgo.
Someone ate the last piece of pizza that you were saving for later? Letitgo.
One of the kids spilled Sprite all over my freshly mopped floors? Letitgo.
I think this applies at a deeper level, too.
What memories are you carrying around with you that are unneeded added weight? Letitgo.
Are you holding on to experiences that keep you from believing in your own worth? Letitgo.
Make room for the good stuff. The compliments, the encouragement, the people who believe in you. Be stronger than negativity.
Most of all, believe in yourself. No matter what anyone else has said or done or thought or written about you.
Because all that bad stuff? It’s designed to hold us back from our true potential. From loving ourselves and from opening our hearts to others and trying again.
So my advice today?
Let it go.