Isn’t She Lovely
I have never forgotten the day in third grade when a group of fifth graders started making fun of me. I don’t remember why specifically, but it was unrelenting. So, during afternoon recess I walked off the playground and ran as fast as I could to get home. When I got home my mother hugged me while I sobbed about the harassment. Through my tears she pieced together the story of my embarrassment and torture.
“Lisa Marie”, she assured me, “You are prettier than those other girls. They are jealous. You have beautiful hair. That’s all.” She wiped my tears and sent me back to school. There was no way she could have known if what she was saying was right or not. It didn’t matter.
And so it happened. Right then and there I drank the Kool Aid. Most women may not remember the moment it happened, but for almost all of us, it did. Somewhere along the line we come to believe that being pretty matters and how pretty you are in comparison matters a lot. We learn to measure ourselves against other women, prettier, or not as pretty. Most of the time it’s unconscious, but it’s running in the background for many of us almost all the time.
The thing that sucks is this. When we start comparing ourselves to other women we almost instinctively start to look for what’s wrong with them so we can find reasons we are prettier. Then over time, we find it really easy to find things to pick at, and when we look in the mirror, that habit extends to how we see ourselves. It backfires. Literally.
Recently I committed to myself to find something beautiful about every woman I see when I’m out and about in the world. I’m talking finding something physically beautiful to notice. I promised myself I wouldn’t default to, “I’m sure she’s a really nice person.” My intention was to find at least thing one truly beautiful thing in every single woman. You might think less of me when I admit, it was a lot harder than I imagined it would be at first.
However, over the course of a couple weeks it got easier and easier. It’s fair to say at this point it’s become habit and it’s a habit I love. Why? Because it feels good AND because it’s getting easier and easier for me to notice that I’m not so bad myself! Sometimes we have to find it inside ourselves to notice it in others. In this case, what I make point to look for in others I’m seeing more and more when I look in the mirror. (twitter!) Maybe beauty is on the outside after all.
So, I challenge you to join me. When you look at another woman, every other woman you see, find the beauty in her and then look for it in the mirror. You might just be surprised how gorgeous you really are.