Sometimes I look in the mirror and feel sad. I don’t look the way I want to look. Standing there, I pick out all the flaws in my appearance, feeling worse and worse. This has been happening since I was a child. But one day while staring into the mirror, I realized something. I don’t know who I’m comparing myself to. My vision of beauty varies from my mother’s, my best friend’s, or my neighbor’s. So where does my idea of beauty come from?
Perhaps it’s from the media. Growing up, I used to flip through those magazines in the checkout aisle and read about celebrities on the internet. I was fascinated with the lifestyle. Their lives and looks fascinated me. I would see all these beautiful women and wonder why I didn’t look like them. Tan skin, slim figures, white teeth, thick hair. I was chubby and pale and I believed myself to be falling short of the standards for women. I grew up with this mindset, that I wasn’t beautiful, and it did not do me any favors.
Today I ask myself, why am I spending my time on things that don’t matter? I buy trendy clothes and straighten my hair so I can fit into society’s mold. Instead of worrying about that, I want to be present. I want to focus on making myself a good person.
In the long run, looks really are not very important. They are superficial and they change as we age. Our skin color, eye shape, hair texture, even size, are things we can’t control. What we can control is who we are, how we think, and what we do.
Think about this: you don’t care if your brother looks goofy because it’s his personality that matters. People don’t fall in love with looks. Sure, it might initially bring you attention, but to be truly in love is to love someone’s soul. If you want someone to like you, as a friend or lover, be who you really are. Give them the best of you because you know they deserve it.
Authenticity and kindness are slow but sure methods to building healthy connections with the people around you. We crave connection and people need to be able to trust to connect. We are all living here on Earth. We all feel happiness and pain. We are all in this together. My advice, to you and to myself, is to live honestly. Be your best self, and give love freely.
Share kind things.
Share kind stories.
Let people know they look good.
Say things like, “I really like hanging out with you. You’re so funny.”
Maybe even give a boy some flowers.