There are many things we see and then there are things we know. Some things we just don’t believe — no matter how many times we see them or how many times we are told.
Today, someone shared this video with me and I found it very interesting and yet discouraging too. I watched women pause when they had to think about which door to walk through and even see one woman walk away. The choice was too much for her. The most interesting thing I noticed is that this experiment was done with women who spoke different languages, yet they reacted the same way.
Women are horrible at accepting compliments. We just are. We do everything possible to make ourselves feel better about ourselves but inside we feel this constant battle of competition of the woman standing next to us. A woman can complement another and she accepts the praise with a little bit of hesitation and maybe blushes a little. It is easier for us to believe in the loving words shared by others on how they see us, but we would argue day to try to convince ourselves of the same compliment.
How do I know? I put the women in my women empowerment group to a test — we each needed to say something we like about ourselves and then compliment the woman sitting next to us. One woman has beautiful blue eyes and that was my compliment to her. So when she acknowledged that her eye color is the compliment she receives most, I found it very interesting that it is not something that she actually likes about herself. She knows her eyes are blue (a very pretty blue) and yet she doesn’t see herself that way. In another group, I did the same thing. And this group of women had a really hard time finding something that they liked about themselves. Even the women sitting next to them received a better compliment that they gave themselves.
It is not something that just began. It is everywhere and we are only just now starting to take notice of how real women feel about what they look like and how the world sees them.
I don’t know where it began, but I know it needs to stop.
And we are even worse when it comes to describing ourselves. Want to test yourself? Write down 5 words to describe yourself. Then ask a few friends to describe you, without sharing what you wrote down. It is interesting to see if what you see is what they see. If you are being real with these people, they will see you for who you really are — just as you described yourself.
For some time, I did not believe that I was beautiful. But I was only looking at myself from the outside. I am not “drop-dead gorgeous” nor am I 5’10” with a model like body. Nor do I have blonde hair or even fit in with the most current of fashion trends. But we are bombarded with messages like this from a very early age. Hello…our role model was Barbie. Please…
And look what it has done for us? We have been scarred into believing that we were inadequate, overweight, and we questioned our worth. Eating disorders and obsessed with our looks became what drove us. It didn’t matter if we were cruel or kind…we had to look a certain way. We hide our shame just as we hide in the locker room and force ourselves to believe that we just don’t measure up to what society thinks we should be. We all want to look our best, but at what cost? Is being who we really are worth the sacrifice we put ourselves through?
We can look at our gray hair and wish it was deep brown. We can see our stretch marks as ugly, forgetting why we have them. No one notices the scar on our face, but we know it is there. [bctt tweet=”We can pick out our flaws and try to masquerade behind them, or we can embrace them. “] We are in as state when we are surrounded by reality TV, yet forget that the words are scripted and editing takes place behind the scenes.
Can’t we just be real for a change?
Women have become something to desire and with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and Victoria Secret ads everywhere on TV, no wonder why we don’t believe we are beautiful. Heck, we are not even thinking we are average. Not when we compare ourselves to those models. So what does that do for the woman’s ego? It demolishes it. And that is extremely difficult (sometimes impossible) to recover from.
We must accept that being beautiful is not something that someone else decides for us…it is something we decide for ourselves. And so when faced with walking through one door or another, I hope you always choose “beautiful.” Because you are.
We are not that different from one another. No matter what language you speak, we all question our beauty.
It is about time we didn’t question it and just believed in it.
Michelle A. Homme 2015 ©