In this day and age of Snapchat streaks and #DoItForTheGram it’s easier than ever before to compare yourself to millions of beautiful people all over the world. If you’re anything like me, you scroll through your Instagram feed to a symphony the tune of,
“She’s so cute.”
“I want her hair.”
“Her skin is so clear!”
“I wish I had ________ like them.”
And despite you doing this time and time again; knowing these people took 15+ photos at various angles to find “The One” and then carefully selected presets, we declare them to be #goals without realizing how incredibly harmful this behavior is to us.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m deep in the trenches there with you. I’m well known for hiding behind my hair in pictures if my makeup isn’t done; for taking the selfies where my hand covers quite literally half of my face, and for leaning in towards the mirror with a truly disgusted expression on my face. From a young age I was told to, “act like a lady” and “put some concealer on that.”
At first it was all fun and games to play with mother’s makeup before going out to church, to dinner, or even to playdates. But concealer became a full face of [too dark] foundation, smudges of heavy eyeshadow, and a desperate attempt on the daily to coax my lion’s mane of waves into straight-as-a-board silk. There was a point in my life where I simply got up every morning and applied makeup, justifying it as, “just a little won’t hurt.
The acne was the worst. I tried various combination of heavy concealer + heavy foundation, face masks, peels; I endured people who told me I should try medications for it, etc. I was so uncomfortable in photographs, folding my bangs dramatically over my face, and always volunteering to be the one to take the pictures instead of dealing with them.
I wish so badly that I could tell you, “Then one day it all changed!” and proceed to tell you the story of how you too can take control of your self confidence and love the skin you’re in! But insecurity is far too deeply engraved in our culture for such a thing to be that easy. I can tell you, though, that it gets better if you let it. It’s a sincere effort every day to look at my naked face in the mirror, and smile at the reflection.
With every compliment, it’s a struggle not to tell the person every reason they’re wrong. With every photo it’s a conscious effort not to pick apart my own flaws. Some days it’s even hard to let my significant other see me in my every day face, hair a mess, and a t-shirt from three years ago. I look at these pretty girls on Instagram, and tell myself that I don’t need to be like them, just inspired by them.
It’s very hard sometimes to remind myself that instead of saying, “I would be pretty if–” I should be saying, “I am beautiful because–”
And I want to remind you to do these things as well. You don’t need flawless complexion, just-so eyebrows, eyelash extensions, 40lbs. of toned muscle, bigger lips, a smaller nose, or anything else to be beautiful. You are beautiful because of the way that you are now. You are beautiful because of your smile, because of your laugh, because of the way you wiggle your eyebrows when you’re confused. You are beautiful the way you are because you are one of a kind. There is nobody else in the world like you, and that’s the way it should be.
Friend, you are a beautiful collection of your own unique experiences, your own struggles, scars, quirks, habits, and yes, flaws. You are beautiful the way you are today, tomorrow, and always. Never forget that. Write it on your mirror, put it on your fridge, and remind yourself every day.
You are beautiful the way you are, inside and out, and you are worthy of love. And you know what? I am too.