"Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much" - Blaise Pascal.

Recently, I posted a picture of a teenage version of myself on my Facebook wall. The picture was taken by a photographer friend of my family at one of our traditional summer holidays in my beloved Dolomites. As one can easily see, I was in my "Madonna-Who’s-That-Girl" phase. On a side-note: It was my only stint as a blonde.

The post got a fair amount of likes and nice comments. And looking at it, I would also say, with hindsight and without bragging, that I like what I see. The thing is, at the time when this photo was taken I was extremely self-conscious. I felt unsecure, not good enough, over-weight – which would lead to several years of eating disorders – and certainly anything but beautiful.

© patrizia luchetta / RTL Today

There were several reasons for this, including the awkwardness of being a teenager, a sentiment that many of us have experienced. There is one crucial element though, which might seem trivial or even vain, but which had a profound effect. Growing up as a child I had never been told the three magic words: "You are beautiful", nor did I hear "You did well" very often.

It took me several years, but, be assured, I eventually grew out of it. Not in size though since I've barely made it to 5’2’’, but you know what I mean.

What helped me over time were people who believed in me, self-improvement work, professional success stories, good friends, a get-back-on-your-feet attitude (I credit my crazy grandpa for that), and sometimes a kick in the butt, but also random nice words and comments, at times received by perfect strangers. Actually, part of my healing journey has been to tell others, and especially children, what I hadn’t been told for many years.

Because life (rightly so) will be throwing stuff at us to make us grow and to help us rise above ourselves. And what a difference it makes, when the time has come to tackle these challenges, if you can face them with a healthy dose of self-confidence.

So, go out and spread the magic. For a little genuine comment, the right three words, said at the right moment in time, can make a crucial difference in someone’s life.

I wish you all a fabulous 2019!

P.S.: And as my ex mother-in-law, a fantastic woman, used to say: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." #word