I didn’t feel pretty while I was growing up. I’m not making this statement as a complaint, simply stating a fact: I didn’t feel pretty. I wasn’t quite a tomboy either, as I was much too clumsy to shoulder that label. I was smart, but smart didn’t make me any points at the christian school I attended, nor at church. Smart actually proved to be a problem in those environments.
There were a few moments I felt pretty as a teenager and young adult. Some young man tells me I’m pretty, and every once in a while I would believe it. This wasn’t a good thing, either. I was young, insecure, and desperately wanted to be accepted – as a result I was easily manipulated and, on occasion, used.
This week’s topic on the Beautiful Like Me project is What person or people are the most influential about how you feel about yourself? Who influences you the most to feel beautiful?
This is a tough topic for me. While I have memories that help to explain why I didn’t feel pretty (let’s face it, kids are mean), I have very little to draw on for positive influences on my self image. Yet for some reason, somewhere during my adulthood I started to feel pretty. Why is that? What caused my to turn my self image around? A makeover? New clothes? Extreme weight loss?
None of the above.
It was confidence. I got comfortable in my own skin, learned to accept what I’ve got and make the best of it. I still have bad days but I have learned that there is a powerful link between my confidence – in any area of my life – and my self image. I actually felt pretty while I was nine months pregnant. It goes the other way as well. If I wake up with a giant zit on my chin, it can take a toll on my confidence at work or school.
For me the answer to the question of the day is myself. While it’s true that my husband can make me feel like a knock out, really it’s my own attitude and confidence that makes a difference on a daily basis on how I feel about how I look.
I look at my daughter and I wonder how to help her through this issue. I want her to believe she is beautiful, and I tell her she is all the time. On the other hand, I don’t want her to put too much value in superficial qualities. We joke about how describing a woman as having a great personality means that she is not good looking. But a great personality is so much more important and will get you so much further in life than superficial beauty.
I hope to raise a young lady who is confident and happy, who knows how to make friends and feels good about herself. If she happens to be gorgeous (of course she’ll be gorgeous), well that’s ok too.
Check out the other blogs that are participating in this project: