This one is for the girls. It’s not long and every single young woman needs to read this. Maybe even some not-so-young women need to read this.
Much of our lives, our worth is directly tied to our looks. Our body image feeds our self esteem. Our sweet, sensitive hearts are impacted daily by the razor sharp cuts of comparison. Our actions are informed by our thoughts and our thoughts (especially about self) are often influenced by false information.
Many of us think that we are unworthy, ugly, fat, misshapen, awkward, too much, not enough. I just wrote a blog post called “I hate me. Love, me.” Believe me, I get it.
And many of us think we are alone in this…
Here’s my word to women: That is a lie. You were not born with an inferiority complex; it was programmed into you. It was spoon fed to you. It was water boarded into you. It found a way to sneak in and when it couldn’t sneak, it charged in full-on. You were caressed with images of a life only reserved for the rich and beautiful. You were compared to others repeatedly until you learned to compare yourself to them without prompting. Now you do it by habit. Automatically. Unconsciously.
Choose to stop.
You are the one who decides if you are beautiful. You are the one who determines your value. You are the one who sets the standards for how others treat you. Your thinking informs every single one of your actions. You are in control of your thinking… it may not feel like it when you are bombarded with contradictory or defamatory messages billions of times a day, but you really are. You are the one who gets to say ‘yes’ to this thought or ‘no’ to that belief.
Let me tell you what prompted this. I’m in a hotel preparing for my day and I received a Snap Chat message from a friend. I have a small group of friends who like to send hilarious videos to me (and I to them) using the most ridiculous Snap Chat filters. It’s fun. Like, super fun. We laugh at ourselves and each other all the time.
So as I am sipping my delicious coffee, still in pj’s, hair in a slept in bun, I decided to send my friends a message. For vanity’s sake, I pulled my nasty hair out of the rubber band and shook it out. That was my big effort for the upcoming photo shoot. Then… I checked out the new filters and almost fainted when I saw my face through a filter I had never used before. This filter was like… OMG! I don’t even know what to say. The face that I woke up with was NOT the face I was looking at. I seriously could have stared at that girl all day. She was stunning. Hollywood ready. Magazine quality.
And it hit me.
She was me. I am her. I am totally 100% her…and yet I don’t look like that. I’m not kidding when I say I looked like roadkill when I woke up today. But Snap Chat made me Anna-Nicole-Smith-perfect.
And then it really hit me.
Our young women are living in THIS world. They’re living in a world full of filters. Everything is pretend. Everything is fake. Everything is made to look pretty and better and reality just pales in comparison. How could a young woman ever live up to the beauty standards of the day? I mean, I saw it all over my own face. I was transformed. I wanted to change every single profile on every single social media site to this new face, immediately. THAT was me!
I love Snap Chat and I often joke with my friends that I am going to invent Snap Chat contacts so people can see me as I really am…Snap Chat edited. Admit it, I am funny.
And yet, the sad truth is, we don’t need those dang contacts. We don’t need the filters, the adjusted lenses, the lighting. We just need to learn how to be real. I want every young woman to know this: you do not need the filter. You are beautiful, as you are. Roadkill in the morning, pre-coffee look… beautiful. Sweaty, post-gym red faced… beautiful. Unbrushed teeth, toast crumbs on your mouth… beautiful.
Stop. Look at yourself. See yourself as worthy, kind, authentic, beautiful. See yourself, the real you, and know that you do not need to compare yourself to what you see on TV, or in magazines, or on social media. We have photo editing at our fingertips and it can be great fun, but only if we understand that when those filters go away (and they will), we are still beautiful. We are still worthy.
We are real.
Choose to see yourself with kinder eyes. You don’t need a photo filter for that.