We all have very different standards when it comes to what we define as pretty and I never really knew how to define beauty. Of course I had plenty of time over the past twenty-something years of my existence to form my own opinions on what I believed to look nice and what I thought of as plain ugly. Yet, as years passed by, my what-is-pretty-or-not checklist kind of changed as I realized that looks can’t be limited to a few clothes put together in a way that society defines as ‘fashionable’.
I think it really hit me when I came across the #ChooseBeautiful ad campaign from Dove last year and how it kind of made me realize that despite our differences, we have at least one thing in common: insecurities. I know we all experience them in different ways and on different levels but as this world is full of a lot of very confident people, it is also filled with not-so-confident humans.
So then I started to wonder where confidence was coming from and so I began by looking for a definition. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, it is:
‘A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.’
So, who teaches us to appreciate the person we are and trust the idea that it is actually okay to just go out there and be totally ourselves without fearing judgment or potential harm?
Looking at someone who’s dressed nicely or simply matches all of our ‘pretty’ criteria is a pleasant thing to do. It’s not as if we were all granted with the closet of one of the Kardashians or gifted with the ability to shop all the right items needed to pull up a stylish look. Yet, it doesn’t mean that we too don’t want to be labeled as pretty.
I always find it surprising how some people can breathe of absolute confidence. You can easily tell how good and comfortable they feel. Perhaps it’s something about the way they walk or the way their body moves when they speak. There are times when I find it so complicated to simply try to connect all the dots of my body just so the way I feel on the inside wouldn’t interfere too much with how I look on the outside. Yet, for the looking-confident people out there, it seems so easy to just navigate through the staring crowd.
Perhaps is it because they master their appearance and will only let it show what they want it to. We all have our days when getting out of bed already seems like an insuperable challenge so we just figured that since we’ve been brave enough to ditch our blanket, we’ve deserved the right to put a minimum amount of effort in getting dressed.
The truth is that the idea that ‘we are what we wear’ is often a misconception. I’ve seen people looking impeccable from head to toe when I knew very well about how miserable they felt on the inside. Because at the end of the day, no matter how confident you feel about yourself, it always has something to do with the outside world. I know a lot of people happily like to brag about how they couldn’t care less about what other people have to say about them but still, I can’t help but think that to a certain extent, it always has something to do with society, social media or even friends and family.
If you think about it, it takes us years of trying out styles. We go from one to the other, trying to make it the best reflection of where we stand right now in our lives. It’s our best protection, like a shield made of cotton and at the same time our most vulnerable item. It remains the first thing we let the world see of us. So perhaps, instead of trying to cover it all up with piles of accessories and make-up, we should try to start from within so there wouldn’t be so many layers needed to disguise what we are on the outside.
Maybe the difference between looking good and actually feeling good lies in these tiny bits of thoughts and efforts we decide to bring together no to let the world see how great we are but to push ourselves a little higher. It’s about the way we decide to treat ourselves, our body and as they often rightly say, our temple.
As Precious movie star Gabourey Sidibe once said:
‘People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl … It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.’
If home is where the heart is then I think it’s time we love ourselves so much that we feel like our heart will always be in the right place.
Featured photo credit: luigi morante via imcreator.com