“Baby girl, I see you frowning at yourself in the mirror. Picking at the imperfections in your skin, plucking the tiniest of hairs, tugging at your clothes. I know you think your face is too round. Your skin isn’t smooth enough. Your eyes are too small. Your nose is too big. Your hair is too plain. Your eyebrows are uneven. Your pores are too big.
You shift your attention to the rest of your body. You’re not curvy enough. Your thighs are too thick. Your stomach is too pudgy. Your clothes aren’t stylish. You’re not very tan. You heave a big sigh and realize you could do this for hours. There are so many things you’d change if given the opportunity.
You just want to feel as pretty as the other girls. To be able to walk into a room and not feel like you have to suck your stomach in. To feel like everyone’s eyes are on you because you are beautiful and light up the space. Not because they’re thinking, ‘Wow, she’s gained weight! She could use a little help. Is she even trying?’
To go to a game and not feel like you have to stare at the cheerleaders the whole time. Wondering what it is about them that makes them so popular and attractive to all the guys. Wondering if you would look as good in their little outfit. Wondering if you could dance just as well if taught the same moves. Noticing the guys next to you watching them, probably thinking, ‘My girl is nice, but if only I could have that!’
To go to the gym and be able to just workout, without noticing all the girls who are way more fit and looking way too cute to be there. Who don’t just have flat stomachs but a tiny waistline. Who can waltz around in crop tops and spandex shorts without a worry about cellulite, razor burn, or jiggly legs. Who are doing their thing and hardly breaking a sweat.
To get on Instagram and not feel so much anxiety about posting your picture. To not sit there editing and filtering it to perfection. To not rack your brain for half an hour trying to think of the perfect caption. To not feel like crap as you scroll through your feed and see SO MANY girls who are so much prettier than you. Why would anyone choose you when they have so many other, better options?
To read a magazine for entertainment, and not because you feel like you have to devour the latest beauty trends and tips. Not so you’re caught up on all the latest gossip and can keep up with the conversation. To be able to look at the pictures and think, ‘She’s pretty, but it’s fake. It’s photo-shopped and unattainable.’ Instead of, ‘I’d do anything to look like that. That’s what it takes to be truly beautiful.’
To buy clothes because they express you, they’re comfortable, and you like them. Not because it’s ‘in’ at the moment, and everyone else is wearing it. Not because it’s what that quiz said you have to wear for your specific body type.
It’s ok to want to fit in. But honey, please stop trying to be someone else. Please stop hating yourself and compromising who you really are. It may seem like there’s only one kind of beautiful and looks are the only thing anyone notices. Unfortunately, for some people that’s true. But not everyone. And the people who can see more than just looks are much more uplifting and fun to be around anyway.
There will always be someone skinnier, prettier, smarter, more fashionable, more fit, more popular, more charismatic, more graceful, more this, and more that. If you keep comparing, you’ll spend your whole life doing it and never truly be happy. If you must compare, compare where you’re at to where you used to be. Are you a healthy weight? Do you have a happy glow? Are you happy with the way you’re presenting yourself? Are you giving your body the loving time and attention it deserves?
If you want others to love you, you’ve got to love yourself first. It might take a lot of work. It might take some time to figure out who you truly are. You might have to stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I am beautiful,’ as tears stream down your face. It might take a thousand times saying that before you really believe it. You might think you could never love yourself with some of these imperfections. But you can. And so can others.
People probably aren’t thinking about you in the way you’re convinced they are. They’re probably not noticing as much as you think they do. Everyone is so worried about how others are perceiving them, they don’t have much time and thought for you. They’ll just remember how you made them feel. So be someone who builds others up, who doesn’t judge, and who is genuine in what they say and do.
It may sound cliche, but there is only one you. And if you spend all your life trying to be something else, the world will miss out on what you really have to offer. Looks only take you so far. Let’s focus on people, on feelings, on actions. Let’s give ourselves, and each other, a little more love and a little more compassion.”
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