I just watched the Dove Real Beauty Sketches. If you haven’t seen it yet, go back and click on the link. Take 6 minutes and allow your mind to be blown. The description before the video states that only 4% of women around the world believe that they are beautiful. 4%. That is a depressingly low number. 4%. I still can’t wrap my mind around it.
That means that 96% of women believe that they aren’t beautiful. That means that 96% of us see only our flaws when we look in the mirror. We focus on things that others overlook. We can’t see past the imperfections to see anything beautiful. We can’t possibly be beautiful because of this reason, or that reason. We are just a compilation of one flaw after another.
Like many women, I could list many things I would change about myself if I could. I believe that I am a great person; a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, good at my job, honest, caring, funny, and so on. I know that who I am is not directly connected to the way I look. I know that I am more than that. But, when I look in a mirror, I always dislike what I see. If I had to list the beautiful things about myself, I could find 2 or 3; and that would be on a good day. My question is, how does this effect who I am? Does this make me generally unhappier? Does this make me less than I could be? Does this take away from what I could become?
I have a very interesting story. I got married a year ago. That means that about 18 months ago, I was wedding dress shopping. Before this moment, I had lost about 75 pounds. I had worked very hard to better myself. Now, wedding dresses are not the exact size that you wear in everyday clothes. So, the sales lady asked me what size dresses I thought I would be trying on. I gave her a number, based on what size pants I wore. She laughed and looked at me like I had no idea what I was talking about. She estimated another size and suggested that I start there. I thought she was crazy, but I went with it. She was right! And, I wasn’t just a little off. I was off by 3-4 sizes. In reflecting on that moment, I realized that my perception of what I looked like was so unbelievably wrong.
I would love to say that that moment changed my life. That I was able to begin working on my self-image and made huge strides. I didn’t. I tried to be more realistic about what size I wear and threw away several bags of clothes that I had been wearing that were much too big for me. But, I am far from looking in the mirror and seeing beauty.
The Dove Real Beauty Sketches video is touching and eye-opening and shocking. But, it got me thinking. I wonder how a stranger would describe the way I look. More, I wonder how my husband, my children, and my best friend see me. The people who love me and believe that I’m beautiful. How I would love to see myself through their eyes.
I have such a passion to see the world changed. I have such a desire to see the way women see themselves changed. I have dreams that my children will grow up in a society that promotes real beauty and encourages people to embrace their individuality and uniqueness. I want to believe I’m beautiful, and I want you to believe that you’re beautiful. So, go look in the mirror. Look only for the beauty. Don’t focus on the imperfections or things you would change. Look at how beautiful you are.
After all, Dove is right…… “You are more beautiful that you think.”