The moment I stopped trying to be pretty
[I can hear my mom reprimanding me for the title of this blog post, but, hear me out, Mama.]
The conversation of beauty is one that kind of starts and stops over time. The Dove sketching commercial vs. Victoria Secret ads; a TED Talk from ‘the Ugliest woman’ vs. the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Impossible beauty. Impossible standards. Attainable via personal trainer, the right diet, good genes and a make-over.
How many times have you looked in the mirror and truly loved the reflection? For most of us, that is a rare occurrence. We are culturally trained to see what we count as flaws: zit scars, chicken pox scars, imbalanced tone, dry skin. A nose that’s too long, a mouth that’s too red, eyes that aren’t wide enough. And on and on and on.
Well, I had a moment a few weeks ago where I realized: I just don’t care anymore. I don’t care to be the prettiest one in the bar, the one getting googly eyes and winks and once-overs. Let me explain:
I was standing next to a friend of mine to the side of my favorite dance floor, the one I frequent every weekend and the one I consider my Sanity Keeper. My friend couldn’t take his eyes off a blonde who was moving her hips in a way that I am just genetically designed not to. He said he couldn’t look away; she was too beautiful. And that he wouldn’t ask her to dance because she was too beautiful. He was certain she’d say no.
He didn’t mean it this way, but what I heard in my head was: “So, I’m pretty enough and a good enough dancer to ask to dance, but not so pretty that you can’t ask me because you’re intimidated.” Again, he didn’t mean it the way I heard it. But if you ever wonder what it’s like inside a woman’s head, now you know. We compare and contrast to the nth degree because we just can’t help ourselves. We make rules for ourselves and we push ourselves and we try as hard as we can to be appealing and attractive to everyone else. All while forgetting one thing: we still have to look ourselves in the mirror every morning. And the more we stress about being beautiful, the more confused we get. Because as we continue to try and match everyone’s definition of beautiful, we don’t get a moment’s rest. Have blonde hair. No, brown. Blue eyes. I mean green. 5’3”. No, too short; 5’7” is better. Skin-and-bones; wait, put a little meat on those bones. Order a burger, I like a girl who can eat; get a salad – gotta watch that figure!
Seriously. Tired yet? I am. I got tired of wondering, will this make me attractive enough? Once I started asking, Am I comfortable?, I felt more beautiful. Because I was settled in my own body, settled in my own skin. My skin is far from ‘perfect’. My body is far from ‘perfect’. But going by others’ standards of ‘pretty enough’ is too stressful, too time-consuming, and frankly, just not worth the effort anymore.
My challenge to you: Go one day matching your own beauty standards. What makes you feel beautiful? Not what makes you beautiful to other people, but when you dress and you make yourself up in the morning, what makes you comfortable in your own skin? Take away the layers, take away the masks, take away the steel walls you put up around your vulnerability, and be you for just one day. Don’t try to be pretty. You already are. I say that without having to see your face because if God made you, which I believe He did, then you are something special. You don’t have to match unrealistic, man-made rules of beauty, because you are a child of God. You were made for a reason. You are here for a reason. And to fulfill that reason, you need to be you. Don’t worry about everyone else’s definition of pretty. Worry about your own. You have to live with you. Make yourself easy to live with. 🙂
May you see your true beauty today.
You tell me:
What are your obstacles to feeling beautiful?
What makes you feel beautiful?