I was shopping in JC Penny’s, when I noticed her eyeing the swimsuits, shuffling them around by the hangers, doing her best to avoid actually touching the fabric. She sidestepped over to the full length mirror and held the suit up to her body. She started to smile, then caught a glimpse of her face in the mirror. The smile disappeared and the familiar look of shame and sadness came over her face.
"That suit would look so good on you!"
I couldn't help it. I had to encourage her.
"No, not me, but maybe my daughter. . ."
Her voice trailed off.
"Well, I think it's perfect for you! You would rock it.!
She smiled and walked away, hanging the swimsuit back on the rack. I wondered if I had helped or only embarrased her. I encourage women in my shop all of the time, but it's different there. Those women are open to my suggestions and engaged in our interaction. In this situation I was an interloper, intruding on a quiet, semi-private shopping experience.
But the look in her eyes compelled me to intervene.
I meant what I said about rocking that suit. But she didn't believe me, most likely because of how she sees herself. We never see ourselves as others do. We look in the mirror and think that reflection is what others see, but it's not. We see our insecurities, failures, fears and shortcomings. Others don't see that.
When was the last time you looked at another woman, a stranger, and saw insecurity, failure, fears and shortcomings? Just like me, you would have seen the potential in this lone shopper and seen how absolutely adorable she would look in that swimsuit! You would have seen how the deep red would have complimented her skin tone, how the cut was perfect for her curvy hips and how the classic style would have accentuated all of her best features.
Because what you would have seen were her best features.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could look in the mirror and see our best features? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we didn't judge harshly? What if we saw the shape of our body as perfect? What if we could feel the warmth of our own smile?
What if we just loved being ourselves, just the way we are?
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