Saturday, May 14, 2011
"Hey, Ugly!" Grappling With That Little Voice In My Head
This post got me thinking about my own "body confidence" and it made me realize that not only am I my own worst critic, I am not alone when it comes to self-image.
I have never been one to think of herself as "pretty." When my mother recently asked me if I thought of myself as pretty, I responded, "If I had to answer, I would say 'normal.' I am not ugly but I am not pretty either." My mother expressed concern. I would expect her to. She has a mother's bias because like most mothers, she sees all her children as beautiful.
However, when it comes to my intelligence and wit, I am quite confident and happy. I just wish I could feel the same way about my appearance. Throughout the years, I decided to focus on being smart because I never felt pretty, especially when I compared myself to other girls/women. (This was particularly the case when I was at Viva). So, every day I put my makeup on, do my hair, workout, eat well, and just try to be me.
I know I judge myself too harshly. I see flaws that perhaps no one else does. To others, they may see a just a vintage-clad, redheaded gal with a streak of blond in her hair while I see an awkward girl with a chubby face, thin hair, big bum, and short legs.
Nevertheless, I suspect my acerbic self-criticisms stem from an expectation that others judge me. Basically, I judge myself before others have the chance. That way, I can anticipate any hurt feelings and therefore soften the blow.
But here's the thing, no one is standing around, lining up to pick my looks apart. No one is 'chomping at the bit' to put me under a microscope to better study my flaws. It is human nature for us to be harsh on ourselves but I shouldn't allow this trait to render me vulnerable and I wind up classifying myself as 'ugly.'
Some days are better others in the 'looks department.' For example, days when the hair refuses to cooperate, when my 'time of the month' is approaching, or when the 50s sundress I bought last year is too tight. Regardless of my knee-jerk need to wallow in self-pity, I know that hair can be fixed, my body will go back to normal after my cycle is done, and I can just do more cardio and that dress will fit again.
I know I am a strong, independent, and positive woman. I do not need the approval from other people nor do I base my entire self-worth on trivial things like 'looks.' Despite my self-assured personality, I allow myself to listen to the 'little voice' in my head that seems to shout out, "Hey, ugly!"
Like all things in life, my body image/self-image is a 'work in progress.' I will not gain boundless confidence overnight but I know that if I focus on what's important (i.e. health, family, friends, living life to the fullest) I am going to be okay.