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I met Natasha when I was in hospital as a child, on some trifling issue with my collarbone. We got together somehow. The simplicity and cheerfulness of her nature was the best recommendation for me. Natasha was always disposed to chatter, and I loved to listen to her stories. So, when she invited me to snatch a meal at her parents’ house on one of the weekends, I agreed with delight.
I was aware that Natasha felt somewhat uneasy to introduce me to her mom. But Natasha sensed a kind and open heart in me and wanted my smiling face to cheer her family.
I did my best to not show my astonishment at seeing her mother. But I bet it was all written on my over expressive face. I never before or since saw a woman so big. I was just a shy child and on my asking if there was anything I could do to help her with setting up the table or getting the tea ready, she became suddenly annoyed and left the room without saying a word.
I felt her unease and pain as my own. It often goes to my heart to see people unhappy in their bodies. I didn’t think a moment but acted on impulse. Rushing right after her, I hugged her and cried bitterly in her soft bosom. Often I think I am made practically from one heart and it governs my actions, leading me through the jungle of human emotions.
Natasha’s mother was a beautiful woman, shy and gentle, kind and sincere in everything she did. I realised, many years after, that this moment of uneven and impulsive emotional connection we both felt resulted from our likeness. She, just like me, was oversensitive. Her emotions were like musical strains, too tightly rendered. She had a way of noticing even a slight change in people’s attitude towards herself, and she took it too close to her heart.
That was a magic night. I do not remember laughing so much ever since.
Read more: Calm Your Expectations to a Rejuvenating Self-Acceptance: 4 Strategies to Make Sport a Manifestation of Self-Love
I left the hospital in a week and we lost each other, being a few years apart and busy with our lives. At that age it was a huge obstacle: I was 11 and still played with dolls and Natasha, being about 21, started to go out with boys.
In my last year at university, just before moving overseas, I rented an apartment with my friend. The kids next door were noisy little devils. On one occasion they were fighting in the little corridor we shared and ruined our shoe shelf. Their mom came out of the door just at the time when I was vainly trying to rescue my boots out of the younger boy’s hands. He was trying to kick his brother with one boot and to pull the other on his own poor head as a helmet.
I was so much taken up by the drama in front of me that I didn’t right away realize that a lady next door was dragging me out of the fighting boys’ way and into her apartment. I found myself in the kitchen, sitting at the table with the lucky boot in one hand and a cup of fragrant tea in the other.
I was well rewarded for my pains with love and hospitality bestowed on me by my old friend Natasha.
“Forget about the little rascals, Oly,” Natasha was the only person calling me so. “They will get their share of motherly affection when I’m done with you.” We hugged and kissed, we laughed and chatted till midnight, Natasha’s husband dealing with the kids.
Read more: Wave Negativity Away and Welcome a Happy Family Spirit into Your Life: 4 Trusty Guides to the Successful Union
Loving Yourself Comes First
1) Love Yourself Today
We were throwing tea parties almost every night since then. I used to look at Natasha from time to time with an air of conscious admiration. Refreshed, delighted, invigorated, she carried the world before her by the force of love she felt towards herself, her children, and her husband. She rarely came out of the apartment, mostly busying herself at the kitchen making all kinds of delicacies for her boys. She had a big heart in her rather big body.
Her husband adored her, children obeyed her ALMOST every time, and unlike her mother, she loved herself just the way she was.
Read more: How to Free Yourself From the Restraint of Everyday Monotony: 5 Ways to Be Mentally Engaged and Never Repentant
2) Let Your Family and Friends Help
Natasha needed to go out more often, though. I knew that, she knew that, and her husband secretly asked me to encourage her. He tried to convince her every possible way he could invent, but being a soft and loving person, he could not say ‘but’, or ‘no’ to his sweetheart. Good enough he said ‘yes’ and ‘sure’ to everything I suggested.
First, she could see neither rhyme nor reason in it, saying, “Why would I need to go out? I have everything I need here handy. And besides, my mom was pretty sound and jolly at home too.”
Her mother died at 43. Too many health complications caused by extra weight. So, Natasha needed to change her life to be there for her family.
3) Take Little Steps
I asked her a few times to run some errands for me, excusing myself by the business of my working and studying schedule. Then I offered evening walks instead of evening tea rounds. Half hour strolls gave way to an hour one, temp getting faster, music accompanying conversations.
4) Find a Thing You Like
Natasha loved music. Her tuneless yet sweet humming was pleasing to the ear. I found out there was a dancing studio nearby. The time worked for both of us and I urged her to try. She became friendly with the elderly woman instructor. Gradually that kind and sincere lady took the place of coach in Natasha’s life. I felt good transferring my duties to her, knowing I was leaving my lovely friend in good hands.
5) Reward Yourself
I got into a habit of sending Natasha a motivational postcard each month with little writings coming from my heart. She sent me photos of her-improving-self in gorgeous dresses she crafted for her dance performances. It was quite an expense for her family, but surely the one they could proudly enjoy, watching that charming woman’s every graceful move.
Read more in my books
Natasha turned 44 last year. I feel like it was a turning point in her life. She always had a fear in her kind heart to have a similar fate as her mom’d had. Natasha stopped thinking this way the day she felt a deserved pride from being herself. Although her health improved significantly with some weight loss, the bigger change was in her attitude toward herself.
To the outside observer Natasha’s body didn’t change very much. Maybe some curves got more prominent and sensual, that was all.
She WAS and IS bathing in love coming from her husband and kids. But you see, she used to be affectionate toward herself in a kind and humorous way, with a slight touch of loving mockery. Now her attitude changed.
In her eyes there is a real, rattling satisfaction. She goes about singing and dancing, knowing how to showcase her inner and outer beauty. A growing admiration from the men and women of her dancing studio and applause from the smiling audience proved to her the thing she always knew but seldom voiced proudly. Those magic words were: “I am beautiful!”
“In a different family – or at a different time, with someone different beside… I might have been the person I want to be.” That self-talk is not the right way to start your day, to live your life. You are precious, beautiful, benevolent. And with support of people that love you, taking little steps, and finding the very thing you like – you can change anything in yourself that is not exactly what you want it to be.
Step to your new life as if you have wings to your feet, and can go without fatigue for many miles slowly, taking your time and experiencing a sense of your inner and outer beauty even if this feeling is an entire stranger to you. Embrace it in your heart, embrace yourself with love.
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