In My Grandfather’s Eyes

Hands-Writing-Notebook-Journal-Concrete Photo : Alanna Bagladi

I am very lucky to have a few grandparents still here today who I can talk to and visit with regularly. I am particularly close to my grandfather, and a recent visit with him left me with an important realization.

I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who loves me more than my grandfather. After every conversation with him, I find my self-esteem inevitably soaring. The last time we saw each other, he had high praise for my new glasses. He introduced me to one of his doctors with the preface that I was as “smart as a whip.” My grandfather wanted to know about my job, my boyfriend, my apartment, my life. He was enchanted by even the smallest details. He laughed genuinely at my jokes and whenever I expressed any hint of self-doubt or negativity, he crushed it immediately.

As I left him after this last visit, I reflected on how the interaction made me feel. My feelings drifted beyond the love I had for him and to the idea of perspective. Because after that visit, I started to think about seeing myself through my grandfather’s eyes.

In his eyes, I am the best version of myself at all times simply because I am myself. There are no bad hair days or bad work days or bad decisions or anything that makes this love waver. It’s unconditional—and it’s inspiring.

Between magazines, blogs, commercials, self-help books and all those Elite Daily lists, there is a steady flow of messaging that suggests different ways to improve ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc.—all countered by simultaneous messages to love ourselves as we are. And while all this information and motivation can provide some much needed guidance, I’ve found that nothing beats simply having a number one fan.

I think one of the most positive things a woman can do is to be her own number one fan in a world that’s constantly telling her what kind of woman she should be. However, I realize that’s not always easy. I know I often need a little boost, a reminder that I am worthy of this type of self-appreciation, especially when I just want to call bullshit on those pretty Pinterest quotes.

That’s where my number one fan comes in, when my grandfather saves me from myself. In moments when it’s hard to love who I am, I choose to see myself through the eyes of someone who truly loves me. The one who can see past whatever I’m dwelling on and tell me that I am enough. The one who expects great things of me, without adding pressure, because he believes in me. The one who wants the best for me in every aspect of my life.

It’s dangerous to rely on others to prove our self-worth. But we can certainly be inspired by them to change our own attitudes. Be they a grandparent, parent, sibling, significant other, best friend, whoever—find your number one fan and judge yourself through his or her eyes.

You might find that there’s no reason to judge yourself at all.