“People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl… It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.”
– Gabourey Sidibe
Do you ever feel beautiful?
For the longest time, I didn’t. I thought that, to feel beautiful, I had to be beautiful. And, to be beautiful, I had to conform to our modern society’s ideal of beauty. You know, long and thin legs, big and pert breasts, tiny waist, pearly white teeth, tanned skin, thick and luscious hair… the list goes on and on.
There was no way that I could ever do that. I could use a self-tanner (even though, every time I tried, I ended up resembling more an oompa loompa than a bronzed goddess), and maybe lose some weight, but become taller and shrink my bone structure to fit into a size zero dress? No way, no matter how much I hoped and prayed.
And so, for most of my life, I felt ugly. Too ugly to wear a bikini at the beach, or even just a mini skirt. Too ugly to apply for jobs that required a “nice appearance”. Too ugly to raise my voice and speak up. Too ugly to date and be loved.
Being ugly was my reality. It took me a long time to realise that it was a reality I created for myself. That’s what feelings are, our own creations. The products of what we think about something that has happened or someone has said.
Read that again. Feelings are not the product of what happened. They’re not the product of what someone else has said. They’re the product of how we feel about these things.
You know what that means? That nothing and no one can make you feel something. It’s you, and only you, who decides what to believe, and, therefore, what to feel.
So, decide to feel beautiful, now.
Ok, ok, it’s not exactly that easy. Sigh. But feeling beautiful is really a choice you can make. So, how do you make it?
By changing your beliefs. Because, whatever you believe, you’re right. If you believe you’re ugly, you’ll feel ugly, and act as if you’re ugly. And that means no bikinis. No successful romantic relationships. No fun. Just a truckload of pain and insecurities.
But, if you believe you’re beautiful, you’ll feel beautiful, and act as if you’re beautiful. You’ll wear that bikini, be more open in your relationships, and finally do all the things you were scared of doing. You’ll have more confidence, and a lot more fun, too.
The first step is to be more aware of your thoughts. Then, you have to question them. Every time you catch yourself thinking, “I’m ugly,” don’t dismiss it or dwell on it. Instead, ask why. Why do you think you’re ugly? What beauty really is? The unachievable physical ideal promoted by the media, or a kind, compassionate soul? And if the latter, why is it so important to conform to society’s impossible standards?
Beauty is not about fitting a certain ideal or stereotype. It’s about accepting and embracing who you are. Beauty doesn’t need external validation. It’s internal. It’s in your beliefs. Once you realise you can change those, you can change the course of your entire life.
You can choose to see an ugly beast, or you can choose to see the amazing and beautiful human being you are. It’s up to you.