Of the very few episodes I have watched of Game of Thrones (yes! I did not watch the whole series!), a quote that stood out to me is by Tyrion Lannister, that goes, “Once you’ve accepted your flaws then no one can use them against you!”
I don’t know if it’s an original, but I heard it first in GoT.
Every life experience teaches us something that’s why they are called life lessons. My recent experience taught me too.
In my post-stroke rehab, I have come a long way and I should be proud of it. But somewhere down the lane, in my heart a complex has grown that I don’t look beautiful anymore.
We read and preach that outer beauty doesn’t matter at all, it’s the inner beauty that counts. But somehow this complex was stronger than my beliefs.
My stroke affected the left side of my body giving me a mild facial paralysis too. So where I used to smile my heart out for pictures, I can’t now. It looks weird. I try to smile harder but to me it looks different.
My loved ones and my best friends keep telling me that I look beautiful but that little devil’s voice almost immediately tells me “They are just being nice to you! They are biased!”
Little moments stay etched in our mind. For example my son once asked me, “When will you become the old mommy again?” It was just an innocent question and didn’t really mean anything but I guess when we are vulnerable we look for things that can potentially hurt us and we absorb it. Kinda like how they say an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.
Many see in me courage and a strong will power. While I see a drooped smile, popped eyes and what not.
This is our problem. We are our worst critics. We go too hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up over nothing.
I’ll tell you an incident that made me think of all that I’m writing about now.
I started developing bad acne as a side effect of the Ayurveda treatment I did as part of my stroke rehabilitation. At that point of time, the treatment felt absolutely necessary so I disregarded the acne. But even after stopping the treatment my acne didn’t stop. It wasn’t aggressive, but I always had one or two active painful cysts. So I decided to treat it. As part of the treatment, the last step was a laser treatment. After the laser treatment, my outer layer of skin obviously started peeling.
When it did, I started crying. I started thinking why did I have to go through all this pain when the acne was hardly a thing people notice about me! I meditated calmly to look within for answers. That’s when I realized that I’m unknowingly making up for the facial paralysis and my eyes with this acne treatment because the former two are not under my control. I wanted to at least make my skin perfect to look good and feel good. And this was not for anyone at all. This was for me because I saw myself ugly.
How can I correct this thought or feeling? My son adores me for being funny and a chill mother. My husband loves me for being brave. My mother loves me for being strong. Then why do I need to validate my beauty to myself when nobody else is bothered about it?!
I have grown up being called the “black sheep of the family” because quite literally I was darker than everyone around me and also I was a notorious rebel! We don’t realize how deep these fun bullying incidents hurt our self esteem. But today I’m not blaming any of that. Today, I’m blaming myself for believing in and preaching about inner beauty but judging myself for outer beauty.
Each scar of mine has a story to tell and I should be proud of them not ashamed of it! None of what happened to me is my fault. Migraines, aneurysm, my blood type, hypertension in my pregnancy, none of this is my fault, but it’s only when I accept them that I can stop being irritated when anybody even mentions it.
There are certain songs and places that trigger my anxiety, but my husband told me to face it, breathe through it and to not let it control me.
I’ll add on to this quote, “Once you’ve accepted your flaws then no one can use them against you. Not even you!”
I'll leave you with this beautiful poem which is a reminder for me too..