Throughout this week several people have posted a link to a Dove commercial that sparked the discussion of how women tend to view themselves differently (often being more critical) than others view them. If you haven't seen it yet, you should watch it.
It got me thinking about the first time I saw a photo of myself and thought, "I'm pretty." Not in a big-headed-prideful way, more like a stunned "Wow, I can't believe that's me in this picture! It's not ugly!" sort of way.
I was thirteen and had just gotten contacts. It was the day our school pictures were handed out and everyone wanted to see everyone else's. We were excited to pass them around and trade, as had become the tradition. We wanted our lockers filled with photos of our friends (forget that we looked at each other all day long, everyday!).
One of the more popular girls in my class came over to my desk and asked to see my photo. When I showed her, she commented that it was a really great photo. I remember saying something like, "I don't think it looks like me though." And she said, "Yes, it does."
Yes, it does. That was me. That was what I looked like to my peers. I stared at that photo for days. And for the life of me, I couldn't see that girl when I looked in the mirror.
I hear the same thing from my husband. I'm beautiful, I'm pretty, and he goes on and on. But for all the time I spend looking in the mirror all I can see are acne scars and blemishes, fuzzy eyebrows and fading freckles.
I know I'm not the only one who thinks about themselves this way. My sister used to tell me shut-up when I commented on how pretty/gorgeous/beautiful she was (and still is). So in response I would say "You're so ugly" and she said "Thank you!" How messed up is that?!? I regret ever saying those awful words.
Growing up, I remember wanting nothing more than to be blonde and skinny like my couins. I had dark brown hair and was a little more round and was covered in freckles. Even before kindergarten I had an idea of what was pretty and what was not. Where does that come from?
Why is it so much easier to hear, see and believe the negative about ourselves than the positive? Why are we so critical? Why are differences bad? Why do we long to look like everyone else?
I need to stop negative self-talk. I need to start appreciating who I am -- and who God made me. I need to be thankful instead of critical. I need to like myself. I need to look for the beauty in my eyes and believe that it's there.
I'm curious what you thought of Dove's video. Please leave a comment below!