As virtually every woman does at least once in her life, she believes she is not beautiful. Whether she is fourteen or forty, she believes this lie. She has very little self-esteem, and does not give herself any credit. She is far too critical of herself and holds herself to standards far higher than she does anyone else. If she’s given compliments, she simply waves them off, thinking her complimenter is being too generous. She envies the other gorgeous women around her, while despising her own image and reflection; wondering what is wrong with her. She dislikes everything about herself: her hair is too straight, frizzy, or thin; she is too chubby, skinny, or shaped weirdly; her voice is too high, deep, or squawky. Her eyes, her nose, her ears, her chest, her legs, her belly, all have despicable errs she just cannot accept.
But what she does not know is that she is the only one who thinks those things about her. What she may not know too, is that beauty begins with her mind. When she begins to get past all the negativity and begins to focus on her good qualities instead of dwelling on her imperfections, she will begin to see that she is a beautiful inspiration.
I have been there myself having struggled throughout my teenage years. I went through a long phase where I criticized everything about myself. I hated my big ears, my large eyes (which, in all reality, were on the large side), my awkward smile, etc. But my perspective blew them way out of proportion. Each time I looked in the mirror, a weight of sadness settled over me. Why was I so shy and awkward? Why was I chubby? What was wrong with me? And gosh, I hated my unibrow. What must I do to be pretty? I continually compared myself to other girls, and wished I had their curvy figures, their stunning faces or their long, thick hair.
My parents and husband have been very supportive in their encouragement as they instilled truth in me. It was useless and harmful to myself to envy other girls’ beauty because I could never be them. There was nothing I could do, short of plastic surgery, to make my ears smaller, and at 5’ 6”, I would never be tiny and petite. It is impossible to become anyone else. he good and the bad, I was me – period. The only thing I could change about those things…was my perspective. I couldn’t will my hair to thicken or wish my ears to shrink, but I could change how I saw myself.
Condemnation and pessimism are destructive and harmful, not only to oneself, but to others around us. When we beat ourselves up, and focus on the negative, it is difficult to see the positive. Negativity is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. And we wonder why we always look and feel exhausted. Just like Dr. Rankin explains, when we choose to begin to look on the bright side, and focus on seeing the positive, we will begin to ‘feel’ the positive vibes.
I have learned, too, that there is power in the words we speak. Have you ever said something aloud, and later, you realized it had actually happened? I have heard so many stories of this occurring, and I believe it is true. It has been said that an Olympic bobsledder, just before his run, said that he would win or would die trying. Moments later, his sled flew off the track and he was catapulted into a steel beam, which resulted in his instantaneous death. This makes me wonder if he would still be alive, had he not proclaimed death over himself. I believe that this works both ways – if we speak negative things over and over about ourselves, we will begin to believe them. Have you ever told a lie over and over, so many times, that you begin to believe it? This is why speaking and thinking negatively about ourselves is so damaging.
If we call ourselves stupid, we will begin to believe it. If we look in the mirror and tell our reflection that we are a mistake, we are worthless, we are hopeless, we are not loved, we are useless, we are unwanted, then we convince our minds to believe these things about ourselves…and then we believe that we are those things even more. We need to stop breeding negativity in our thoughts, and start feeding our minds positive truths.
That is how I got out of the rut. After several years, I eventually decided that I was tired of being so hard on myself – it was physically and emotionally exhausting! I had accepted the fact that I could not change my ears, eyes or stature and decided that I would change my perspective of them. So in order to adjust the way I saw myself, I began giving my reflection a positive pep-talk. Each time I looked at myself in the mirror, I would tell myself, “I am beautiful. I am me. My ears are not a flaw, they are what make me, me. They are my beauty mark…they set me apart because I am my own person, I am unique. I am treasured, I am loved, I am worth it, and I am important.”
And once I began feeding myself positivity, I started feeling positively about myself. Slowly, over time, I realized that my big ears no longer bothered me, and my large eyes were actually pretty and alluring. I had reconciled myself to my 5’ 6” frame and was grateful for it because it enabled me to excel at sports. I began to like, and even appreciate, all of the things I used to hate about myself. And as the positivity replaced the negativity, and I changed my perspective, I became entirely accepting of myself – and my confidence soared. I still have days here and there when I threaten to put my husband and I on a diet, but who doesn’t?
Today, I am happy to say that I feel comfortable in my own skin, and my confidence goes far beyond the surface. I have emerged from my little shell of insecurity, and am now a more opinionated and decisive, twenty-year-old who really does not care what others think about me. It is so freeing to be comfortable in my own skin instead of trying to hide in the shadows.