Do you feel beautiful?
It’s probably not a very comfortable question to answer, is it? Many of us would dodge it our entire life if we could. But whether someone has asked you that directly or not, on some level you’ve contemplated that question. It’s virtually impossible not to because we’re wired to want to look and feel beautiful — not only to ourselves, but also to others. In fact, the latter is often more important to us. It’s the primary reason why I was inspired to write this blog.
Truth be told, I spent the earlier part of my life feeling insecure and inadequate. Yes, this is the part where you’ll have to bear and grin as I share my sob childhood story. What can I tell you, life can be cruel and unfair sometimes, so lets move on. Kids used to tease me growing up, partially because of my socio-economic status, but also my ongoing battle with weight management and identity. Needless to say, I don’t remember ever feeling beautiful during that time. I was a chubby kid who constantly fought with my parents for the latest name brand clothing so that I could fit in. It seemed like they never grew tired of saying “no” and let me tell you, my brothers and I were quite persistent. Back then, fitting in was the most important thing to me and how I looked defined how beautiful I felt. For that reason, I know I was a big pain in the ass and extremely grateful for my parents.
It took me many years before I began developing a deeper understanding of beauty and seeing myself as a beautiful being. Even writing that evokes some of those old memories. You may be wondering what changed. Truthfully, not much, except my definition of beauty and how I see myself in this world.
I believe we are all intrinsically beautiful, so your job isn’t to become beautiful, it’s to embrace the fact that you already are and then displaying that newfound belief to the world. But I understand that me telling you that may not change how you currently feel, so let me share with you my journey. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how I’ve spent the majority of my life living by other people’s rules, beliefs and standards — and it was something that I allowed to happen. You see, in a world fuelled by commerce, people will always sell you their definition of beauty — that’s how they can sell more products. I used to be an infomercial junkie so I know quite well how it works. I bought into the idea that if I purchased all of those products that I’ll somehow be a better person. Not morally speaking, but an enhanced version of myself that can be more socially acceptable to the world. At the risk of sounding cliché, they were always products that enhanced my exterior — my outside so-to-speak (i.e. the things that the world can readily see).
What I have come to learn is that the real problem isn’t the products themselves. In fact, some products are quite useful. The real problem was my association of those products to my personal sense of self-worth and beauty. You might be nodding and saying to yourself “that isn’t me”. Don’t be so quick to defend yourself. I didn’t write this to attack you or place judgment. I wrote it to share a perspective that really changed my life and it could change yours, especially with how you may currently see yourself. Okay lets continue on. While a product can offer an experience to enhance how you feel about yourself, it’s a fleeting proposition. As I mentioned earlier, the world is fuelled by commerce and so new products and enhancements are constantly being introduced into the world. When does it end? It doesn’t! So you find yourself constantly chasing after a feeling that keeps betraying you until you buy the next product or do something that you feel will garner greater social acceptance. In other words, you are outsourcing the job that belongs to you and should only be held by you — to create a personal sense of beauty and value.
The other human pattern that I have noticed is that we often focus on our flaws rather than the qualities that we can celebrate or build upon. As long as you keep focusing on your flaws, you’ll be the number one salesperson for those businesses that are selling you the products. It kind of reminds me of when I used to sell cookies in school; I sometimes bought them for myself. It was counterproductive since I was becoming broke while trying to raise money for school, not to mention how unhealthy it was to consume all those cookies. Today, I still enjoy dressing nicely because I have fun with fashion and I workout as part of an overall healthy balanced lifestyle, but it no longer defines my sense of beauty and self-worth.
Still don’t feel beautiful? Though some of you may work that quickly, I didn’t expect you to immediately change the way you feel about yourself the moment you finished reading this. But my hope is for you to spend some time reflecting what you just read. Here’s how you cut through the BS because company selling you beauty is bullshit to me. Think about who you are, what you value most and who are the most important people to you. Whatever your answer is to those questions, that’s what you focus on. It’s quite common to act contrary to our beliefs. I understand how difficult life can be and how important it is to feel accepted, but how you feel about yourself is directly related to how fulfilled you will be.
Now I want you to imagine a perfect day — a day that’s filled with fun, excitement and not a single worry in the world. Oh and you’re also spending it with the love of your life. Now imagine everything being the same the next day except the love of your life is now someone different. How do you feel about that? Don’t let the fantasy/pleasure part of your brain do the talking, think about what you truly value. That is similar to how it is like when you allow others to define your beauty and self-worth; it’s constantly a moving target. While it’s natural to feel greater on some days compared to others, it’s not natural and healthy to go through a roller-coaster ride controlled by the words and perception of others. I’ll leave you with this question to ponder: Would you rather experience short-term thrills/excitements or build on something that is long-term and that consistently brings you fulfillment?
Please write me your comments below. I would really like to know what you think and how I can improve on future posts.