Permission to be Pretty
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Look closer. What do you see? Look again. Did you see all of your awesomeness? I hope so, but I doubt it.
I just did it. What did I see? My dirty hair that always does its own thing and needs to be colored, eyebrows that need waxed (and the left one is perpetually higher than the right), raccoon eyes from allergies, an oversized nose thanks Mosher genetics), a squishy tummy, a giant zit on my chin.....the list goes on. These are the things that plague me. Run through my head during the day when I interact with people. Make me not be able to accept compliments because I think "oh that person is being nice because they feel bad for me and my giant zit/wonky eyebrow/big nose".
Chances are you made a similar list. If you didn't, please teach me your secrets and go on about your day. Your reading is done here. If you did, hang out a minute and let's chat.
Why is it that when we look at ourselves we tend toward the negative? Now don't get me wrong. There is something to be said for self awareness and being able to see when you need to pick the green stuff out of your teeth or wear a larger size of pants, but there are many of us who take this self awareness too far. We look at ourselves, but don't really SEE ourselves.
We make a list of the flaws and allow them to define who we are. We assume that these flaws, perceived or real, are the only things that others see about us. We tell ourselves that we are not allowed to feel good or look good because we aren't model thin, our skin tone is not ideal (pale skinned girls who will never be tan unite!), we are too old, too tall, too short, too blessed in the booty, not blessed enough in other areas, etc. We think that if we try to look/feel pretty that we will be judged by others. That they will deem us unworthy of those sparkly red shoes or bright pink handbag.
So we hide. We wear all black. We were baggy clothes to hide our tummy pooch. We play it safe and just try to blend in.
Do you do that? I know I do! Several years back, I was on medication that made me gain weight. I refused to have my picture taken or hid in the back if I had to be in the picture. I wore neutral, bland clothes because I didn't want attention drawn to me at all. And I felt like garbage. Not just because I was unhealthy, but because I was judging myself constantly. One day, I couldn't take it anymore and decided to start losing the weight. Along that journey (that I'll share about another day), I learned to appreciate things about myself that I hadn't before. I started seeing myself as strong and motivated. I started encouraging myself rather than tearing myself down. I renewed my love for colors in my wardrobe, amazing shoes and purses, started coloring my hair and taking care of it, and generally being myself again.
I have a friend with a similar story. She has had a rough road lately with her health and she is coming on the other side of it. Part of her process to becoming healthy is taking a Brene Brown e-course. One of the assignments was to write yourself permission slips. Give yourself permission to.....then fill in the blank. My dear friend told me that she wrote herself this: I give myself permission to be pretty. By writing that simple phrase, she began taking back her self esteem. Rather than hiding in all black clothes (nothing wrong with them if you are just looking to be chic), not wearing skirts or dresses, not playing up the beauty that she has been given, she is beginning to feel a sense of peace and joy that she hasn't before. She accepts my compliments now (with some hesitation still) rather than shrugging them off or telling me why she doesn't look great. She is finding the beauty I've always seen.
Look in the mirror again. Do it. I just did.
This time? I saw that I have a haircut that I love. I have long eyelashes that don't need falsies. I'm tall and never have to hem my pants and can rock maxi dresses. I'm pale so I can pull off some great red lipstick. I have big feet, but wow do they look great in hot pink heels.
I gave myself permission to be pretty.
Yep, I still have things I want to work on. Who wants to take the plank challenge with me? I'm going to color my roots and put concealer on my raccoon eyes. But these things do not own me or define me. They are my unique pieces that make me who I am and I won't apologize for them.
So go ahead. Give yourself permission to be pretty/tall/short/round/thin/pale/dark/whatever. But once you do, then own it.
Take the compliments. Give the compliments. And look for the beauty in everyone....ESPECIALLY yourself.
peace, love, and red lipstick!