Some people are born beautiful, and some people buy it. For me, my relationship ‘beauty’ has been long, difficult road. People say that it’s easy to be beautiful when you’re young, but when I was young, it was impossible. Not because of anything but my own self esteem, I couldn’t find comfort in my own skin until I reached my 30′s.
When I first read The Ugly Duckling, I thought it just meant that awkward children would bloom into beautiful adults. As an awkward child myself, I found that very inspiring, but when the other girls started blooming, I stayed awkward. I didn’t have boys following me around, I didn’t get asked to the prom, and I figured that beauty wouldn’t apply to me, so I relied on my personality and quirky taste in clothes.
My first boyfriend out of high school was totally hot, but told me on our second date about a beautiful blonde girl who also liked him, and he could choose between the ‘pretty one’ and the ‘fun one’, and he decided to go with the ‘fun one’. The fun one, was me…which is great, but those words stuck in my mind to this day. When I should have shrugged it off as the words of a world-class douche bag, I took it to heart and spent a majority of my 20′s trying to be the ‘fun one’ to overcompensate for my lack of beauty. Feeling like I had nothing to offer, I didn’t think I was very smart, or very pretty so I had to have something right? What ended up happening, as what happens when everyone tried to be something they’re not, they keep up appearances for a while, only to burn out, and swing the other way. Not to say it wasn’t fun, but I was struggling to be a cartoon version of fun, not accepting that I might be enough, just as I was.
What is it about beauty that women hold so important? While men may seem immune, they have their own host of crippling insecurities and issues. The women I know and love want to be beautiful, it may sound superficial and maybe it is, but I have never thought that there was anything wrong with having beauty in life, and in my experience, it’s achievable, but first I had to change my view of what ‘beautiful’ is.
There is the beauty we see in the media, and then there is the beauty we see in real life. On TV people are beautiful and they always have the right thing to say, what we don’t see are the hair and makeup people, the personal trainers, estheticians, stylists, plastic surgeons, not to mention the teams of writers and then the director helping them give that ‘perfect look.’ (which often times isn’t perfect at all). So I stopped looking to them and real life versions of them to define my idea of beauty. When I looked around the people I saw in real life, how beautiful they are… and asked myself what was beautiful about them?
What makes someone beautiful?
Time and time again, the beautiful people in my life did not possess the perfect nose, or pouty lips, or giant eyes and luscious locks. They didn’t always have beautiful skin, and they were of all ages and body shapes. And time and time again, a person’s spirit would trump a person’s physical appearance…ever know a beautiful person with a horrible personality? How much longer did you think they were beautiful?
When they say ‘beauty comes from within.’ for many years I thought that was a euphemism to make us feel better. But it’s the truth….
Personality shines through every time.
Much of my own self-esteem issues, which are directly related to my beauty issues boils down to acceptance. In my mind I thought ‘if only I could be like someone else,’ but in that desire, I failed to see the gifts I had to offer. Sure there are lots of tricks I can use to look ‘beautiful’, like wearing nice clothes, styling my hair, wearing makeup, and exercising, but those are all just extras. I’ve tried them all to feel beautiful, and they help, but it’s a slippery slope, because no matter how many shoes you have, not one of them is going to fix what’s going on in your mind. Believe me, I have tried, and tried. It wasn’t until I started the path of accepting myself that real beauty came into my life.
Does it help to consider yourself beautiful? It’s important to value who you are. In my experience beauty is a wholistic aspiration where it’s important to take care of the mind, body and spirit. Everyone has the potential, their own unique beauty. It’s just a matter of finding and cherishing it.
Sheesh, I wish I had an easy post for that.