If I told you you’re beautiful, you probably wouldn’t believe me, right?
Why is that so? Why do we reject compliments when we receive them? You’re probably thinking “Oh, they’re just being nice,” or “Well I don’t see it, so it must not be true.” STOP RIGHT THERE, BUDDY. What makes you believe that your negative opinion of yourself is the truth? WHAT IF you actually considered that the complimentor’s opinion might actually be valid?
First of all, I need you to understand three things: fact, belief, and irrational belief. Fact is cold, hard truth that is inarguable. Belief is simply that; an opinion. Beliefs can change based on experience and can vary from person to person. An irrational belief is a belief that you develop that sparks an emotional reaction.
Let’s simplify this. Sally and Benny are hanging out one day listening to jazz music. A fact in this situation is that jazz is a type of music. Sally states her belief by saying “Jazz is the best kind of music.” Benny states his belief by saying “No, alternative rock is the best kind of music.” Sally then forms an irrational belief because of what Benny said, thinking to herself: “Wow, I should have known that, I’m stupid. he must think I’m so dumb.” Because of this, Sally rejects her love of jazz music in the future, thinking that the only way for her to be accepted or admired is by liking alternative rock music instead of jazz.
If you think that you are ugly because of something that someone said to you when you were 12 or 14 years old (or even today), remember that that person stated his or her belief. That belief doesn’t have to be your belief. It doesn’t have to be your sister’s or your boyfriend’s or your neighbor’s or your cat’s belief either. If you are using the rude person’s belief to define who you are and it is causing you to have a negative emotional reaction, you have developed an irrational belief about yourself and your appearance.
Have you ever seen someone that you think is exceptionally good-looking and you think “This is it, no one else will ever be as good-looking as this person is,” but yet you still manage to find more and more people that you think are just as beautiful (or more so)? I want you to take a moment to picture all of the beautiful people that you can think of, both in the media and those you know in real life. Chances are, they all look pretty different, right?
The media tells us that there is ONE kind of beautiful. If we do not have these qualities, then we develop the irrational belief that we are FAT, UGLY, and ultimately a FAILURE, and we let these labels haunt us for the rest of our lives. These irrational beliefs affect our confidence and performance in everything we do. We reject the qualities that we DO have in search of what we tell ourselves that we SHOULD have.
Think about the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff as a metaphor for the search for beauty. If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can find a version of it here. The lush, green grass on the other side represents the beauty that we wish that we could attain. The bridge represents the media’s approval. The smallest goat represents the media’s form of feminine beauty–small and thin. The smallest goat is easily able to cross to the other side of the bridge. The medium-sized goat represents the media’s form of masculine beauty–muscular, taller/larger than a woman, etc. The second goat is easily able to cross to the other side of the bridge. The third goat represents those of us who don’t feel that we fit into the other two forms of “beauty”. Perhaps we are overweight, perhaps our eyes are not as big as we wish they were, or we aren’t as tall as we wish we were. Maybe we’re curvy, maybe we’re “not curvy enough,” or don’t have shockingly white teeth. Whatever it is, by the time we get to the bridge, we are attacked by the troll: self-doubt, anxiety, depression, or maybe even people that say rude things to or about us. However, in learning what we have to offer the world individually and accepting who we are, we can free ourselves of our own binding and suffocating expectations and enjoy the lush, green grass that real, natural, true beauty (both the in AND out kind) offers us. We only have to discover it in ourselves.
(Edit: The above paragraph doesn’t even address the fact that those ‘perfect’ people/goats that you see ALSO–believe it or not–struggle with feeling that they are not good enough even after ‘easily’ making it to the other side. Food for thought.)
Self-acceptance is the key to unlock your natural beauty.
We’ve all experienced that the more you come to know, understand, and trust a person, he/she becomes more beautiful. We’ve heard and/or experienced that the more you carefully care for a person, the more you come to love him or her. What if this were true for ourselves as well?
What if the more you got to know and take care of yourself, the more you would come to love yourself and the more beautiful you would become?