For 50 years, the voices inside my head have said things like, “too short, too slow, too weak, too wrinkly, too fat, too…. whatever.” Every day I felt like I woke up on a diet and went to bed a failure: Day after day a steady diet of revulsion and internal derision for my lack of willpower and prowess.
It’s time for a change. I recently watched a short piece put on by the makers of Dove soap. In case you haven’t been following, Dove is on a campaign to recognize ‘real beauty.’ Not “beauty” that is airbrushed in magazines or movies. But “beauty” that is each one of us. In the clip, they had women describe themselves to a forensic artist, then, after meeting a stranger, they were asked to describe the person they’d met. Ultimately, the two drawings were compared, as were the responses of the participants.
In all honesty, it brought me to tears. What I saw in the short film about personal nit-picking was me. Just as these women had not recognized their own beauty (but the strangers had) I have not allowed myself to recognize mine. This is not a conceited, stuck-up, holier than thou sort of beauty. It is the honest, natural beauty with which each person is graced. Every stranger saw the women more beautifully than they saw themselves.
What I learned from this is: For God’s sake, there are a lot bigger things to worry about in the world than how many wrinkles we have, or how much hair we have or how damn skinny we are. Other people don’t pick us apart with a microscope, so why do we. Ask yourself, honestly, do you really look at other women and say, “Wow, she’d be a lot prettier if her skin wasn’t so…… etc., etc.” If you do, please rethink your world view. The lines on my face and scars on my body aren’t flaws. They were earned. They are the roadmap of memories that is a person’s life. They don’t define or limit me unless I allow it. And I allow it no longer.
All of us are gorgeous, unique creatures. Allow yourself the luxury of accepting your own beauty. Empower yourself and others by seeing beauty in all people. Some of us strive to see beauty in everyone we meet, turn those eyes on yourselves. In the words I’ve always told my daughters, “Use your powers for good.”
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