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Posted Dec 18 2008 7:20pm

At the recent Renfrew Conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Anita Johnston, Ph.D.—author, Eating by the Light of the Moon. Not only did I attend a great lecture by Dr. Johnston who focused on the metaphors of food, but she told me I have cute freckles.


Now what is the significance of this? Why put it in a blog?


When she told me this, I was surprised. She asked me if anyone had ever told me that before and I replied “no”, but later remembered someone else actually had made that remark. Why did I forget that previous comment? Why was I surprised when Anita told me this? I don’t see my freckles as cute. The number of freckles has increased over the years so for me they are a measure of time. I see them like rings on a tree. Count them and you know how old the tree is. Count my freckles and you can start estimating the number of years I’ve been around.


So here are my thoughts.

  1. Often we have aspects of ourselves that we don’t especially like but which others see in a much different way. It’s kind of a double vision. Our view/their view. And maybe our view would be different if we saw them on someone else. So if a compliment is offered, maybe we need to stop and try out their view. It might improve our self-acceptance. This morning in the mirror, I was able to remember Anita’s comment, smile and think that, yes, my freckles are cute.
  2. When offered the compliment, I was able to say, “Thank you.” That was important. Often in the past, I would have tried to push a compliment away. I would have said, no, they’re really not cute. Or, no, they’re really not freckles but some kind of freaky aging thing. A double vision or double standard? When we offer compliments we want others to take them, not argue them away. But often we don’t react the same way.
  3. In writing this blog, I’ve asked myself, “So what if my freckles reflect my age?” They can be a testament to my strength. Yes, I am here and I’m still fighting battles. Yes, I am here and I’m a force to be reckoned with. Yes, I am here and I’m a voice to be listened to. I don’t want to disappear. I want to be seen, heard and appreciated—freckles and all.

Now it’s your turn

  • Are there qualities about yourself that you have difficulty appreciating? Can you view them in different way? Would you be critical of them if you saw them in someone else? Think about how you would react to them if you were talking to your best friend. Find a softer vision to bring to yourself. The gentle view that we often take with others. Try and bring that forgiving vision to you.
  • How do you deal with compliments? Do you accept them or try to argue them away?If you usually try to argue, then next time—don’t. Just say “thank you”. Accept the compliment. Give yourself some compliments, too!
  • Are you trying to disappear? Journal about what you want to use your voice to say. Are you using symptoms to speak for you? Try to discover what words you can use instead.
  • Finally, how do you demonstrate your strength? Start your entry off with one of these prompts:
    • I am strong because…
    • I know I’m strong because…
    • Others see my strength because…
    • Being strong means….


And when you try to deny your strength—use some double vision. Think about if you were viewing someone else’s life. Would you find strength in their story?



Go, Write On!


Martha Peaslee Levine, M.D.

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