This post was inspired by Day 3 of my 31 Days of Video Challenge.
They say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” When you behold yourself, do you see how beautiful you are?
It took a long time for me to love the way I look. In our society, external attributes often count more than the qualities inside. In my life, I fought hard to coalesce the two, to feel confident in my own skin without needing the validation of others.
In high school, I was quite awkward. Apart from being painfully shy, I was also very insecure about my looks. I hated my profile, with my snub nose and weak chin. I wore glasses and had extremely crooked teeth. I rarely smiled. I hid behind my long hair and felt invisible. I developed a quiet rebellion against my peers’ definition of beauty. I didn’t wear makeup and refused to adopt the newest fashions. Instead of fitting in, I held out for something that would fit me instead.
Here is a pic of me during a biology field trip my Junior year. I affectionately call this my “Ugly Brian” picture, because I look like an ugly boy in it. Cracks me up! But, it’s because of that “Brian” person that I can look in the mirror today and genuinely see and embrace my beauty. She was the one who struggled through all the insecurity, so determined to become confident. She wrote and thought affirmations over and over for years. She told her reflection even before she actually believed it: “You are beautiful!” I am so so thankful for her!!
When I look back on other photos from that time in my life, I actually think I’m pretty. But back then, I didn’t have the eyes to behold my own beauty. The inner work was necessary before I could even see it in myself.
Today, I can look at my reflection and see my beauty, and feel it to my core. Of course, I have days when I don’t look my best too. But I love myself on good face days and bad. I’ve played with a lot of different “looks”, particularly vintage style and makeup; I’ve had red, black and blonde hair. But I’m growing my natural hair back. Recently I stopped wearing makeup and am learning to appreciate my natural beauty on a whole other level.
Many of my friends are very insecure about their bodies. They rag on themselves all the time. All the beauty magazines, the pressure we’re all under to look like supermodels. It breaks my heart. As “Ugly Brian”, I made a commitment to loving my self inside and out. It took years. But it was worth every second of that struggle to blossom.
You can go through life hating the way you look. Hiding from the world. OR, you can recognize and celebrate the fact that you have a body. What a miracle. And it’s yours. Your face is yours. When you can look at yourself with love, your self-image will transform, and what you perceive will change; you will begin to see beauty and you will glow from that.
Accept your flaws. Embrace your own beauty, no matter if it is a little crooked. So what. We’re all imperfect. Next time you’re in front of the mirror, smile at yourself and say, “you’re beautiful!”