“I’m not handsome.”

Joshua, my 11 year old son, blurted out this morning while he was busy fixing his hair. I mean, for a guy his age — is there really anything you can do with your (bob cut) hair to change how you look? But my son started taking more time and conscious effort to look “great” before going to school — a sure sign he is no longer a baby.

Yet, I was more concerned with his words this morning than the way he kept combing his hair — side to side.

“Why’d you say that?” I asked.

Apparently, a friend in school said he is not handsome; thus Josh thought so too.

Sadly, we live in a society where people, regardless of age, can say things that affect how we see ourselves. And it takes a great deal of effort on our part to find deep within ourselves the truth we want to believe in. It helps a lot if we have people in our lives who see beyond our imperfections the real beauty within. For these people, it doesn’t matter if we are chubbier than other girls in school or we are not as handsome as a Hollywood child actor — we are special in our own way.

This struggle, if left unresolved, can affect how we live, love, think and make decisions when we become adults. There is always an insecurity within haunting us during the lowest point in life. It shows its claws and grip our very being to the point we find ourselves trapped in a little room where the only sound you hear is the voice telling you you’re not good enough.

And you’re lost — lost in the sea of despair and frustration, striving with all your might, gasping for air before you are consumed by your negative thoughts. If you’re lucky to survive yet another frustrating episode of pain — you are left picking up the remnants of your sanity hoping to put together what’s left of your self belief and love…

I stopped whatever I was doing and went to hug my son who is almost as tall as I am.

“Don’t listen to Aaron (his friend). You are very handsome — the best looking boy in 5th grade!”

Josh smiled and hugged me back.

More than anything, I don’t want my son to go through the same struggle and frustrations I am experiencing because I grew up never having someone telling me I am beautiful. I love my son and he will always have my support and love even beyond the day I breathe my last.