Lately I've been seeing a "beauty challenge" going around Facebook and Instagram. Basically, you post a collage of pictures of yourself that make you feel beautiful and then you challenge other girls to do the same thing. I was challenged tonight by one of my best friends and figured it was a good time to share some thoughts on beauty. Especially after this week. Being secure in ourselves and our body image has been a major topic of discussion between me and my girl friends this week. So instead of posting a bunch of pictures of myself, I decided to share with you a few things about the average girl's struggle with beauty. Here are two things that really test my self-confidence.
~Being told I look young and the graceless way people tend to address the fact.~
The night before my cousin's wedding, some of us bridesmaids were talking about how people mistake us for teenagers on a normal basis. A week rarely goes by that I don't get told I look like a teenager or people ask me how I got to my destination since I couldn't possibly be old enough to have my license. And honestly, it's frustrating. Being told, "Oh, you'll love looking young when you're older and everyone else is getting grey hair!" doesn't make it okay. The next morning I went in to get my makeup done for the wedding and you know the first thing the stylist asked me? How old are you? I answered back that I was turning twenty-three in a few days. Her response: What?! You look seventeen. Oh, and laughter. Yes, she laughed. Do you think being laughed at for your looks is a build up or a tear down? That would be the latter.
~Being shamed for being thin time and time again.~
All girls should feel confident about their size, especially if they are living a healthy lifestyle and doing their best to take care of themselves. All sizes are beautiful. I don't bash people bigger than me, so don't bash me because I'm small. Comments like- Are you anorexic? You're such a stick! You need to eat something. You need to gain weight. You shouldn't be working out. You're not allowed to feel fat. Size zero is disgusting.- I've heard these comments since I was a little girl. Somehow society has determined that if someone is skinny, you can make rude comments and get away with it. I don't know who decided that's okay, but it's not.
Feeling beautiful and confident in your skin isn't always easy. People can tear you down even when there intentions aren't always to do so. If I left my sense of self worth or beauty in the hands of the world, I would be in a lot of trouble. Sure, there are many many times that I fight insecurities of feeling unwanted, or too skinny, or ugly, or my hair is too big, or my teeth are too crooked, etc. But let me tell you, when I take all those thoughts away---I feel beautiful. Not because of how I look, because we all know I'm no supermodel, but because I was created to be exactly how I am. Why would I want to be anything else? I have one of a kind hair, eyes, skin, and body shape. I am ME and no one else ever will be. And you are YOU and no one else ever will be.
So whether you look eight years younger than you should or eight years older than you should, don't let that change who you are. If you feel too skinny or too fat, don't let that change who you are. If your eyes are brown and not blue, if your hair is too frizzy or too flat, if your feet are too big or too small---just stop. You are beautiful just how you are and please don't let anyone tell you otherwise.