It is an unfortunate truth that most mornings, I have a tendency to dither about what to wear. In some kind of neurotic ritual, I spend a good 15 or 20 minutes every day trying on multiple outfits: trading shirts, discarding pants (maybe it's a skirt day?), scarf... no-scarf.... different scarf. It is a round-robin of matching and re-matching until finally I either hit it just right, or I give up and decide to love myself in whatever my best attempt at not-too-dorky happens to be that day.
I think this ritual is a bit less sadistic than it used to be, but it definitely has its roots in a time when I was not at all nice to myself, and every day was a horror of self-loathing where I couldn't see that I would ever look good in anything. I am relieved to be a kinder, gentler friend to myself, now, but this morning ritual, even with more of a neutral eye, still carries over. What gives?
Yesterday, I was stopped in my tracks by my sweet husband, who, watching my torturous daily ritual, simply said to me, "Don't fret." It seems like not so big of a deal, but it was said with such softness, like he had kissed me with words. I had this sudden realization that probably nobody is looking at my daily clothing choices with as much scrutiny as I am, and that if they are, I really don't care. It dawned on me that "Don't fret" was really more like intimate code for "love yourself as I love you."
I often wonder what I would see if I looked at myself through the eyes of those who love and care about me. I think about how I see my husband, my kids, my friends, my sister, my family. I see these people with loving eyes. I don't give a poop what they are wearing, how their hair looks, or if their socks match. They could be wearing potato sacks, and I would see through to their person. The person I love, and in whom I see smart, loving, funny, or even just downright amazing. I want them to feel good about themselves. I want my kids to see themselves as the strong, sweet, hysterically funny little men that they are. I want my husband to see how much of a genius he is. I want my sister to see how her passion and joy are needed in the world. I can imagine that the people in my life, the ones I am choosing to be with, want the same for me - they want me to see myself with love.
This morning I made a conscious effort to dress myself with the kindness of a loved one's eyes. I tried to trust my first instinct, and just go with what I liked. I tried to have fun choosing what to wear! I tried to be present to the fact that, really, I am so much bigger than this material self. Yes, I want to feel beautiful, but the beauty I want to see (and remember!) is more multi-faceted than just the clothing I choose. I want to see my beautiful body, and my beautiful spirit. This can only come through when I release myself from the negative tension created by fretting, and make room for the joy. The world needs my joy. It doesn't need my fretting.