THIS MONTH LIZ TAKES A SIDEWAYS LOOK AT LIFE AND WONDERS WHY WE SOMETIMES QUESTION OUR CONFIDENCE AND SELF ESTEEM – USUALLY IN THE DARKEST HOUR
My granddaughter looked at my hair. ‘Have you had it cut?’ she asked.
‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘Do you like it?’
She studied me for a moment. ‘No.’
The day before, when I’d just had my hair done, an acquaintance asked me, ‘Why do you bother colouring it? Why don’t you just go grey naturally like me?’
Sometimes I do wonder why I bother. Then my hair grows and I take on the appearance of a frazzled badger and I remember why.
Husband can’t understand why a visit to the hairdresser takes me so long. I tell him, ‘Because they wash it, then cut it, then dry it, then colour it, then wash it, then dry it, then put in highlights, then wash it, then tone it, then dry it then cut it a bit more.’
He shakes his head in disbelief. It’s all right for him: I cut his hair and it takes about ten minutes – he doesn’t have a lot. Oh yes, and I should men-tion that the hair-cutting kit was my Christmas present one year. Seeing my surprised expression when I opened it he beamed and said, ‘Think of the money you’ll save cutting my and the boys’ hair.’ I won’t tell you what I said.
I also won’t tell you what I thought – but didn’t say – to the acquaintance who also argued that colouring my hair was pandering to men. I point-ed out that I do it for me.
It’s the same as losing weight. I am on a per-petual diet – though you wouldn’t think it to see me eat. This might explain why I never lose weight …
But, although I’m nowhere near obese, I feel better when I’m slimmer. I’m currently carrying about one stone more than my recommended weight. I’d like to claim, as Husband does, that it’s because I’m not fat for my height but short for my weight but that doesn’t take away my muffin top.
So here I am wanting to lose weight and to have good hair but why?
Because it makes me feel better, more confident; it boosts my self-esteem. Now I know my family love me whatever I look like – and they’ve seen me at my worst – and that people who like me do so not because of what I look like but because of who and how I am. And I know God loves me just as I am.
But here’s the thing. Having more self-confidence, even if it’s only slightly more, empowers me. I feel better about myself these days than I’ve ever done and that enables me to accept challenges, like running a women’s group or speaking in prison.
So I will continue to colour my hair and have a good hair cut and try to slim and wear make-up and that’s fine.
Until I wake in the middle of the night.
Two o’clock in the morning is the darkest hour of the mind. When every doubt and fear takes possession and I hate everything about me. When all the jokes I make in the day time about how useless or stupid or pathetic I am strike me as utterly true.
A year or so ago in our women’s bible study group at Zac’s we looked at how precious each one of us is in God’s eyes. There are so many verses in the bible that speak of God’s great love for us, a love that doesn’t depend on us loving him. But even when we know in our heads that he loves us believing it in our hearts can be difficult.
Especially at 2 am.
The search for love and acceptance begins early in life and for some it’s a lifetime quest. It’s as if we need permission to be ourselves, whoever we are, but we fear that if we were to reveal our true selves no one would like us. So we do things to try and make people like us: I know I am guilty of this.
But when you recognise Jesus and discover you are accepted for who you are, with all your scars, hurts and things you’d rather not talk about, you can become yourself. It releases all the potential with which you were created. And when you begin using that energy, whether you’ve coloured hair or grey or none, you can change the world!
Finally, if you’re reading this and you sense a conflict in me, you’re right. I’m not ‘there’ yet. I’m on a journey and sometimes the right path seems overgrown and impassable. But I’ve got my secateurs.
Just two postscripts: I still suspect some people at Zac’s only like me for my cakes. And, very importantly, never believe what your head tells you in the middle of the night.