If I’m being honest, self-image is something I struggled with for a long time and still, on occasion, do.
In a society that is saturated with airbrushed and photo-shopped images of celebrities, it can become easy to be self-critical about perceived imperfections. It is easy to forget that for the women that grace magazine covers and movie screens, it is, in some sense, their job to maintain a certain image. And, when they don’t, there is the technology to make the undesired curves, acne, scar, etc. disappear.
For so long, I would see women like Jennifer Aniston or Carrie Underwood who I thought had the “perfect” or “ideal” body. Yet, I would bet money that these women have things about themselves they don’t like.
We all do.
I’m not Jennifer or Carrie. I am uniquely me.
So, it a society with an emphasis on the “perfect” body and celebrity idolizing, how do we create a new way of thinking?
I think it starts with recognizing that we are beautiful exactly as we are. I love Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty because they are making an effort to redefine beauty and celebrate women just as they are. As part of the campaign, they have the Movement for Self-Esteem:
Imagine a world where every girl grows up with the self-esteem she needs to reach her full potential, and where every woman enjoys feeling confident in her own beauty. Imagine the world of possibilities we can open up by helping to build self-esteem in the people we love most. Our movement is building a world where women everywhere have the tools to inspire each other and the girls in their lives Copied from Dove’s website
I love that idea.
Yet, it’s easy to say “I’m beautiful” but not always so easy to believe it. If I’m being honest, it can be really hard.
I had to stop comparing myself to other women and recognize what exactly I love about myself. I had to find my own self-confidence, to believe in myself. When I am happy with who I am, I truly believe that happiness and confidence shines through. I think a woman is beautiful when she is not afraid to truly be herself.
If I’m being honest, I have days where I don’t have that confidence. It’s not always easy. In fact, some days, it’s downright hard. But, those are the days that I need, more than ever, to tell myself that I am beautiful. If I let myself think that I’m not, over time, I start to believe it. On the days where I don’t feel beautiful, I have to celebrate the things I love about myself, the things that make me uniquely me.
But, the thing is, beauty is not just external. It’s not just about looks. Beauty is also a woman’s heart, her soul, her mind. Find the things that are more than skin-deep to celebrate. Remember the goals you’ve achieved, the things you’ve done. Take joy in everything that makes you who you are.
Me? I love my smile. I think I have great hair (most days). I finished my master’s degree. I ran a 25K. I took four trips to the Gulf Coast to help with rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. I love baking. Those are just a few of the things I think make me beautiful and special.
We are all beautiful just the way we are. Be confident in that.
What do you love about yourself? What makes you feel beautiful?