I have always been fascinated by the human form...skin, muscles, eyes, everything. It's this perfect little machine that works tirelessly to keep us alive. When we are injured, it does its best to fix itself. When things don't form correctly, it figures out a way to make it work. It adapts to piercing, stretching and environments.
I find it beautiful in all its forms. Whether you're fat, skinny, black, white, tattooed, had amputations, or whatever, it's amazing. So why are we so obsessed with looking at these things negatively?
As a makeup artist, I wish I had a nickle for every time someone sat in my chair and apologized for their blemish or scar or oily skin. These things are normal and everyone has them. Stupid "beauty" magazines have told us that we are supposed to look like we've been Photoshopped in real life. These days, so few people recognize how beautiful they truly are because they're comparing themselves to something that is totally fake.
I can recall when I was around seven years old, I noticed a classmate of mine and how pretty she was. She had these sparkling brown eyes with long lashes and freckles that balanced perfectly with her warm mauve lips and copper hair. I've always been a people-pleaser and I thought it would make her feel good to know how attractive she was. I walked right up to her with a friendly smile on my face and said, "You're cute." You'd have thought I just told her I pooped my pants from the look of disgust she gave me. It wasn't until years later that my innocence wore away and I figured she thought I was hitting on her.
For years, I shied away from complimenting strangers for fear of getting that look again.
I find beauty in things that are unique. I've seen a man with an abnormally large head, a woman with two fingers that were fused together, people with tons of piercings, the list goes on and on. I want to look at these people because I find joy in their uniqueness, but I'm afraid of how they will react. I don't want them to think I'm staring or that I think negatively about them.
It's this horrible cycle...we don't compliment someone for fear they will not like it...so they never get complimented and think ill of themselves...so they don't compliment people because they don't feel like their compliment is worthy.......
I must admit, I'm guilty of it, too. I once had a guy tell me I was pretty and my immediate response was, "I have a boyfriend." He called me a snob and told me he wasn't hitting on me. Ouch. I felt like such a jerk.
Why did I react this way? Why did I immediately cut him off instead of graciously accepting the compliment? Did I think I was better than him? I really don't know, but I didn't ever want to do it again.
I made a decision that day to just take the compliments. When someone compliments my hair, my looks, my clothes...anything...I just smile and respond with a sincere "Thank You". It leaves us both feeling good.
So why is it so hard to believe that we are beautiful? Either we're so full of ourselves that we think people are constantly hitting on us (and so what if they are?) or our self esteem is so low that we don't believe them or we think they're trying to manipulate us in some way.
When we do this, we project those same feelings on other people. Or we cut them down to make ourselves feel better. I have such admiration for people who have accepted themselves completely. I've heard people talking negatively about larger women in bikinis and it really irks me. I love that they are proud of the miracle machine that is their body, because it is beautiful.
We could learn a lot from strippers. Yes, you read that right. I've done body painting on strippers, so I get to see them up close and personal. And you know what? They look just like the rest of us. They have stretch marks and floppy boobs and cellulite. And they know they look good. They're not afraid to bare it all because their clients don't care about all that stuff. It's the confidence that sells it.
Weird segue after talking about strippers in 3......2......
I'm really proud of my son. He works at a fast food restaurant and tells me about how he likes to make people's day. This is often through compliments. It makes him feel good to do it and it makes the people glad to hear it. Maybe this next generation is moving in the right direction. I sure hope so.
I challenge you to give someone a compliment today. And when someone compliments you, believe them. Everyone wins.
And by the way, you're beautiful! ;)