Despite What Advertisements Tell You, there is No “Norm”

A beautiful outside doesn’t always translate to a beautiful inside

Women the world round fight with the idea of not being beautiful. Even women who are drop-dead gorgeous on the outside, don’t necessarily find that view coming from the inside. I stand in front of a mirror and look at myself. I am not beautiful. I am not even pretty. I am cute. I know this because they have told me my entire life that I am cute.

I can find every flaw in myself. Everything out of place. I find the qualities that the media doesn’t translate to being anything special. I am used to it. I am a face in the crowd that is easily passed by.

When I was younger, I would count myself lucky to be intelligent. I remember being told I wasn’t pretty enough to be a model. I wasn’t pretty enough to do this or that. My mother has always told me I was pretty and beautiful. (She still does.) But what does she know? She is my Mother. My parents both supported that idea and would try to underscore it. However, when the world around you tramples those views, you tend to go with the crowd.

No, on the outside there is nothing special about me. I am deeply flawed. On the inside, I am beautiful. Most of the time I know I am. Yet, there are times of hesitation and doubt. Years of peer programming and media ‘beauty’ standards have left me discouraged and troubled.

I am well past my prime. My son is in his early twenties. The woman in the mirror doesn’t reflect the one I feel I should be. It is an interesting phenomenon. How, even though, we move from youth to young adulthood, to adulthood and beyond, our visions of ourselves remain pretty resolved. We don’t give ourselves the benefit of who we really are.

We see the flaws that so many others have pointed out in us. We make comparisons based on what we see in advertisements. Sadly, these things we see as flaws brought to our attention by people who weren’t our friends, our family, or our supporters, are the ones that have influenced us the most.

We swayed by what the media shows us. What strangers say and write. We find flaws in ourselves that don’t really exist. We no longer look for the positives but we see the negatives. We allow others to ridicule us for who we are allowing their words to take root in our hearts. Sadly, we get into the rut of processing everything in our lives through these opinions. Even when we know they aren’t true. Even though there is a doubt in our hearts about what they say, our self-confidence waivers.

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

Years of this absorption has shaped who we are. When we hide these feelings from our friends and family, when we look in the mirror, it is these thoughts that repeatedly bubble to the surface causing us to question ourselves and our unique beauty.

It breaks my heart to see young girls suffering from depression and sometimes suicidal thoughts because no one has taken the time to help them learn to be self-confident in who they are. To listen to their self-view, acknowledge how they feel and help them see a different version, a more positive version, or who they really are. We aren’t teaching our youth that beauty really does come from within.

When you are beautiful inside, you glow outside, and that is very attractive.

We aren’t teaching our girls to support or encourage one another; to point out the positives in each other. Instead, they are still looking for the flaws in their peers. Often, to the point of cruelty as they point them out, hoping to make themselves feel better.

Someday, I hope that we will learn, especially as women to support one another. I hope that we will teach our children to build up one another; to look beyond flaws and find beauty. I hope that we can learn to say something simple, “The color of your eyes are remarkable,” without jealousy or envy building up in our souls. Without comparing our own eye color or hairstyle or weight to someone else.

We have been fighting a tidal wave of false advertising about what beauty is and isn’t for decades. It is time we take back being told what defines beauty. It is time we share true beauty, redefining it and helping to build self-confidence up rather than allowing things to tear at our souls making us question everything we are.

In silence, doubt and destruction can slowly build. Let us not give an opportunity for that to happen. Let us instead take hold of our definitions and create a better world filled with the true nature of beauty. You are beautiful. You are wonderful. It is not determined by your physical attributes. Trust me that changes with time. No, it is determined by how you treat others. How you shower the world with your presence in the things you do.

Intelligence is beautiful. Talent and creativity are beautiful. Being kind is beautiful. Allowing these things to flow from who we are out into the world is beautiful.

I challenge you to find something amazing about another person today. I challenge you to make an honest compliment from the heart to them. I challenge you to find something amazing about yourself today. I challenge you to accept it as the reality it is.

You are beautiful.

Student of life; mother, widow, sister, daughter, friend. Writing, photographing and exploring the world around me. Rediscovering life.

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