Yeah, I am risking a lot sharing this picture of myself from sixth grade. Believe it or not, this was the retake picture! I can’t even remember how bad the first one must have been for me to go with this choice. Not a great year, apparently.
The first time my husband saw this picture he said, “Yikes!” In fact, that’s exactly what I have captioned under this photo in my scrapbook.
I do have a purpose for sharing this picture with you, and allowing it to float around cyberspace. I still see this girl in my mind when I’m going throughout my day. I think about her every time I decide what new hairstyle to try, or a new frame for glasses. I think about the awful years of braces when I look at my straight teeth now.
How many of you have a similar picture in your mind when you think about yourself? Would you be brave enough to share it?
I’ve been contemplating this post for several weeks now, and I’ve tried my best to formulate how I want to say what I want to say. But it’s hard to make the words come together in the right way.
It’s been weighing on my mind because I know so many beautiful women who have forgotten how beautiful they are. I was shocked when I read that my home state is one of the highest for breast augmentation. It’s also one of the highest for depression. No, the two aren’t associated, but it makes me sad to see these women struggle to “fit the mold” they are “supposed” to fit in.
There’s a million articles about being yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin. I don’t think I have anything better to add what has already been said, but I do want to add my voice to the others and tell you, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
It’s so easy to get caught up in looking like the celebrities we admire. It’s easy to rationalize the need for enhancements to “feel” beautiful. I know because I struggle with it as well. I would love to get my stretch marks removed, I’ve contemplated eyelash extensions. I color my hair, workout, diet, and buy trendy clothes to help “feel” beautiful. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite. I’m not saying any of those enhancements are bad. I’m really not.
What I am saying is this: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
I can’t look at this sixth grade picture for very long without getting a little sad. I felt so good the day this picture was taken. I planned my outfit carefully so everything matched from my hair bow, to the elastic on my braces. I even sneaked a bit of mascara on my eyelashes (my mom wouldn’t allow make up until Jr. High). I fluffed my bangs a little higher that day. I thought I looked amazing as I walked out the door.
I rarely carry that confidence these days, but I’m working on it.
I want you to recognize that you have a specific beauty that no one else has. I know that sounds really corny and cliche. Maybe it is.
I want you to know that I (and so many others) think you are beautiful even when you answer the door at 3 pm and you haven’t showered yet, or gotten dressed (beyond a loose t-shirt and baggy sweatpants).
I want you to know that I (and so many others) think you are beautiful when you haven’t put on makeup or brushed your hair, or you’re a size 20 or a size 2, or 4 feet tall or 6 feet tall.
Remember those celebrities don’t have much else on their plate other than spending hours with a personal trainer, paying a chef to cook perfectly balanced meals, spending thousands on hair and makeup artists. Then having their photographs airbrushed, or clothes tailored perfectly to hide any imperfections they may be self-conscious about.
Last weekend I was at a conference with fellow bloggers and several of them mentioned how tired they were of the competition between women. I don’t know why that competition exists, but it is pretty silly. There needs to be friendship and buoying up between women. We are hard enough on ourselves we don’t need more critics. We need to love ourselves and love others as well.
Find your natural beauty and own it. No one can be better at being you than you, so be yourself. One of my favorite self-esteem posters from my youth was a picture of a single white daisy in the middle of several red roses. The caption said, “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful.”
There is NO mold to fit in. There is NO one perfect way to be beautiful. There is NO one perfect way to parent. We ALL make mistakes. We ALL have imperfections we hide from the world (some people hide them better than others).
Find the good in yourself. Then start finding the good in others. You will “FEEL” beautiful when you do this, and you will see the beauty in others as well.