“I’d rather have my hair soft and long on my back,” my six-year-old told me this morning.
I stood over her and braided her hair before school. There are only a few days left in Kindergarten and I’m starting to feel their childhood slip past me.
“Let’s braid it so it doesn’t get in your eyes today, okay sweetheart?” I was nearly finished with the blonde braid, different colors of deep gold and brown peppering the pale.
“What if someone tells me it looks stupid?” She was honestly worried about how others would see her.
I finished the braid and held her face. “You know it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I think you are beautiful and you know you are beautiful and that is what matters.”
I imagine that when I pick her up later her braid will have turned into a wavy mess of blonde, not because she was embarrassed but because the braid was in her way or felt too tight.
I guess we start young with allowing the words and opinions of others change the way we live.
I do it.
You do it.
My Kindergartener does it.
Sometimes we should let other people help us and pour into us and give us good solid words of truth. It’s what community is for and what families and groups of friends are for. Hopefully words like this make us better people.
But so often we give too much weight to the opinions of others and we let those words make us worse. We let it steal our confidence and take away our certainty. We let those types of words wound us and make us question what we already know to be right.
Why do we let people who don’t know us,
don’t love us,
or don’t understand us
hold so much weight in our lives?
We let their words rest on our shoulders like bricks in back packs. We give them power when we listen and we give them authority in our lives.
When I do this, I let those words and opinions change me. And it’s not a good change.
It makes me stand with wobbly feet in judgment and fear rather than strong legs and a strong heart firmly planted in a soil of grace and truth.
Let’s make a pact today to listen to the right voices and to weigh carefully the opinions and words of others against a backdrop of what we know to be true.
Let us wear our braids proudly because what we know is true is that we are already beautiful.
Do you let the opinions of others affect you for better and for worse? When have you let someone’s words rattle your confidence?