My husband started this thing with me when I was at my lowest point in life. When I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. When I saw nothing but negatives and saw every insult I had ever been given. And it was hard, but years later, I can say how rewarding it is.
When we first got together, I was suffering from bipolar, and anxiety, and depression, and insomnia, oh and a little bit of a twisted view on my body. Not only was I screwed up in the head, constantly drifted from one mood to the other, from highs to lows, from OCD behaviors to being relaxed. But I was also really hard on myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror and not feel devastated. I felt like I needed to be thinner, do my make up better, have prettier hair, better skin, better…everything. I was tired of looking at myself and cringing. I had been told I was pretty, my husband found me t be gorgeous, and really, there was nothing wrong with me. But still, I had issues. I desperately asked for reassurance from my husband. It was something I needed. I needed to know that he thought I was beautiful, that I was worth the trouble, that I was worth anything at all. And in the beginning, he was there with a compliment in hand, to ease my anxious and ever self deprecating mind. But there was a line that needed to be drawn, one that only he saw, and one that I fought.
He told me that he wasn’t going to compliment me anymore.
It sounds strange, you know. Isn’t that what husbands are supposed to do, compliment their wives, make them feel pretty when they’re feeling less than average. In a way, yes, if all things were normal, if I hadn’t relied on my self worth on what my husband thought of me. I needed him to tell me positive things about myself, to feel as if I was doing okay in life. If he thought I was doing poorly, I went into hyper anxiety mode, because i valued his opinion so much, or too much, I guess it depends on who you ask.
So, he stopped complimenting me. It wasn’t to be mean, in fact, it was the opposite. He was doing it to make me better. Because I was dependent on his words. I was dependent on him to make me feel valuable when I couldn’t do it on my own. And that was the problem. I was unable to make myself feel valuable and by me constantly asking for his validation, I was screwing myself up, taking steps back instead of forward. I hated it, at first, because I spent a little while struggling with it, but when it started to work for me, it really worked.
I had friends that didn’t understand. They told me that, in order to feel better about myself, he needed to compliment me. That I needed to know what he thought about my apperance to know if he was happy with me. I needed to hear those words to feel pretty. But that wasn’t the truth. The didn’t understand where my head was at, they didn’t understand his need to help fix me in the only way he could see how. They didn’t get it, because they weren’t us. They were me. They weren’t struggling.
I ignored them though because I knew what he was doing had my best interest at heart. Because although my husband has a sarcastic asshole exterior, he’s actually one of the most generous, selfless, kind heart, and loving person I’ve ever met. Don’t tell him I told you that though. 😉
And on the days I asked him, “Do I look okay.” He would simply nod and say “You look fine.” And on the days I pleaded with him to just tell me I looked beautiful, to compliment me, he said “You know why I won’t.”
And I did.
He wasn’t the type of person who liked to say things for the sake of saying them. In fact, he’s a firm believer in doing things because he feels them. He’s proven to me over and over again that the times he does to the romantic things, or compliments me, those are the times I remember with such happiness that i could burst. Those are the times that stand out to me because they mean something. Because in those times, I knew he meant what he said.
It was tough though, because what woman doesn’t want to be told she looks amazing even when she’s sitting there in sweatpants, no makeup, with Cheetos on her face. But he stayed true to it.
I started to think about it the other day. Mainly because I was looking in the mirror and realizing just how old my body is starting to look. Okay, not old, but older. I’m a mom of twins, my body isn’t what it was. Sure, I’m thinner than I was before I got pregnant, but I have this weird twin skin thing going on, with stretch marks all over my body, and my boobs are no longer those perky and awesome twenty-something boobs. I had a moment of weakness, because I wanted to know if he still found me as attractive as he did the day he met me. We’ve been together for five years this December, married for four years, the curiosity was getting to me. We met when we were young, when we were kid-less, I had to know. I wasn’t asking out of curiosity, I was asking because I went back to that mind set of needing validation. I needed his opinion to make me feel okay about myself, instead of being independent enough to feel good about myself, by myself. So, of course, he refused. He hadn’t had to refuse in a long time, and it took me back. It made me see how far I had come, because besides that moment, I had kind of come into my own skin. I’ve been proud of my body. I birthed two kids, with two failed epidurals, for over 36 damn hours and came out in one piece. That was something to be proud of. And I’ve been comfortable enough with myself to wear no makeup, and still feel like I rock it. I’ve been happy to know that I birthed two tiny humans, and still feel fairly confident with my body, with myself as a person. I’ve been independent enough to not need anyone else telling me that I am pretty to feel it. And that was big.
After his refusal, it put things into perspective for me. Brought me back to the mindset I needed to be in. And I thought to myself, how lucky am I to have a husband who works so relentlessly to make sure that I am strong, that I am independent, that I am mentally healthy, even if it might mean doing something unconventional to get me there. And when he feels that I am in the place I need to be, he compliments me, not because I need it, but because he feels it, and he feels the need to say it to me and because he knows that I am strong enough to hear it and feel proud.
It’s odd, I know, but it’s amazing to me.
Most might disagree, but I’m thankful for it, because had it not been for him, I probably would still be the anorexic girl who saw herself as this ugly troll when the truth was, I was far from it.
Sometimes people come into our lives and they change it for the better, and I’m one of those lucky people that has a husband that has changed my life for the best.