I need to tell you something…

I need to tell you something…

On Friday, I was walking with a friend, talking about some of the changes I have been making in my life over the past few months…

As we walked, she said “Well, I am really proud of you.”

and here I am, still thinking about it…. because it meant something to me…

as a mom, I spend a lot of time making sure my little guy hears positive messages about himself, receives reassurance, and generally is able to believe that he is a pretty impressive guy… not without flaws but still….

However, there is a point at which we stop hearing those messages…  there is no longer someone who takes on the role of cheerleader, telling us we look nice, we are smart, we are gifted, we are good people…

The saddest thing about that is: there are still lots of people who think it….

I know this because I think at least 20 nice things a day about people i see, hear from, and interact with….

I just do not always say them…

and therein lies the problem….

I have thought about this before… About a year ago, I met a woman in a store whose beauty immediately struck me… She was about 40, and she had a great face, slim body, but the thing I was most aware of was her haircut. She had the most amazing very short hair. It made her eyes prettier, her neck longer, her cheekbones higher.

She was wearing the hell out of that hair…

I saw her a couple of times, and finally approached her and said, “Excuse me, I apologize, but your hair is amazing. Just perfect for you.”

And she burst into tears.

She kept gasping, “I am so sorry, I am so sorry”, even tears welled up in my own eyes, the two of us, strangers standing in the aisle of the Stop and Shop, crying.

After a few moments, she gained control, and said, “I am so sorry, but you cannot imagine what that means to me, to hear that today.”

Turns out, that was her first day out without her wig in the 18 months she had been battling cancer.

She was incredibly self conscious, and was just about to leave the store to put a scarf over the short hair that made her feel so obvious. Her husband and son had assured her a thousand times that she was beautiful, but she found it impossible to believe them. Her sister, not a touchy feely woman, told her nobody really gave a damn what anyone else looked like, and no one cared about her hair.

However, the words of a stranger, a woman she would never see again, had the power to change her. To help her let go of the memories of her long bob, and give her a start on the path to appreciating the strength of this new warrior cut.

The entire interaction lasted about 3 minutes… One hundred and eighty seconds that, in her own words, changed her Life. We hugged, I got in line to pay. Walking to my car, I passed her on her cell phone… I overheard her say, “and she told me she loved my haircut, like it was a choice I had made.”

I cried all the way home…

because I almost did not say it… I came so close to walking to the register without telling her that she was beautiful. And because there had been so many other times that I had left, had noticed, appreciated, and thought, and left…

The mom doing such an amazing job with a screaming kid. The teen offering his seat on the bus. The cashier making an extra effort to be nice to a mean customer.

Who knows if they thought to themselves, “Why do I bother, no one notices.” When in fact, we do notice…

Think back on the last week.

Think of the chances you had to tell someone that they looked great, did great, sounded great, acted great…. That they were generally pretty impressive guys.. not without flaws, but still…. Bright, beautiful, kind, smart…

You’ll know when you see it. Especially if you keep your eyes open and look for chances to tell someone something good about themselves.

Because we all need to hear it….

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