You prance around the party showing off pictures of you and your friends and you say “omg these girls are gorgeoussssss.” And you mean it. You’re not saying it to be unkind or ironic or whatever (not usually at least), you really think your girlfriends are beautiful in any way worth measuring and you want your other and you want everyone else to know it. You’re proud of them for who they are, and that makes them beautiful to you.
Later on in a different interaction you are fixated on a picture of yourself that you are contemplating deleting or having your friend delete due to the obvious litany of physical flaws that stick out to you like an adult male at a Taylor Swift concert. You look at yourself and go “blah i’m ugly and fat and awful what gives.” Your this is too that, your that is too ugh, and your ugh is the most ew that ever ew’d.
The fact of the matter is that when you look at your female friends you are choosing to see beauty in all the ways that they are, truly, beautiful. But when you look at yourself, you are choosing to see ugliness…so much so that sometimes you’ll even invent ugliness where there is none. This is an unfair, unhelpful, and ultimately unhealthy way to look at yourself — at best it’s limiting your own potential, at worst it’s laying the groundwork for some pretty nasty psychological disorders.
Just today, give yourself the same benefit of the doubt and grace that you extend to those around you. See the picture of the four of you and when you get to you, choose to see the same type of beauty that you create for your friends. The gorgeous qualities they see in you, the unity and freedom that comes from not having to say “make me look skinny” before you ask a friend to take a picture of the group and hoping that people with think you’re just being funny when you say it. Choose to see a better you and a better you will emerge.
All have flaws. No one is saying you have nothing to work on, or that one of life’s great (and most rewarding) challenges is self-betterment (whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise). But make your elimination of flaws a celebration and a focused journey, akin to successfully surmounting Everest, rather than just a struggle to trudge your way out of the swamp and eliminate the deficit between you and the “normal” people. Change what you can (healthily) change, accept what you cannot, and find joy in the moments in between. Use your friends for support, not comparison, and you will find yourself much improved as you face the true difficulties in store. And PLEASE don’t wear crocs. Ugh.
Post script/disclaimer: This post was mildly directed toward women because they — both from societal and individual standpoints — tend to have to more pressure and focus put on their physical attractiveness than men and (at least in my experience) have echoed (or quoted directly) the statements above. HOWEVER, this obviously applies just as equally to men who might struggle with similar issues and/or any human that has ever had any self-doubts or self-esteem issues based on their own flaws (whether real or perceived) at any point in their lives or in the entirety of human history. So there.
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