Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Real, Real Beauty. No, really.

I've watched this video a couple of times now, and seen it posted by about 13 million of my closest Facebook friends.  And it's sweet.  Or it's sad.  I'm not sure.  But the basic point is simply this: "You're not as ugly as you think you are".

The video is part of Dove's Real Beauty campaign, and shows us (through the work of crack forensic sketch artist) that we describe ourselves as distorted horrifying monsters, and others see us as... you know.  Humanish.

It's interesting, it's thought provoking, and it probably holds some truth.  Yeah, I'm sure it holds some truth, and that's why it resonates.  We know we are hard on ourselves.  And we hope, we pray, other people are less harsh.  We really want to believe deep down that we are hotter than we think we are.

Some people certainly are, we've all met them.  But we've also met people who could never ever actually live up to their high opinions of themselves.  It simply HAS to be true that some of us are not as sexy as we think we are.  Bummer, yo.

If we're going to be honest with ourselves, most of us probably vacillate somewhere between the two.  I know personally (sad confession, NOT A JOKE) my opinion of myself has risen pretty dang dramatically with the weight loss over the past few years.  In 2009, I was probably a 4 or 5 who thought I was a 2.  And now, I'm a solid 6 who sees a smokin' hot 8 or 9 in the mirror.  (Well, not RIGHT now because RIGHT now I'm bloated and chubby and sleepy and developing that terrifyingly zitty, hairy face that they mockingly call the "glow of motherhood".  Hot dang, I'm a 12 year old boy.  That is what I am.  I am a 12 year old boy with a pizza face and an almost-mustache.  Oye.  Here's hoping my voice doesn't start to crack.)

Towards the end of the video, one of the real-beauty ladies spoke about how your opinion of your own appearance affects your life.  She says it "couldn't be more critical to your happiness".

And my brain let out a scream.

Come on people.  Come on women.  Come on America.  Come on come on come on.  My opinion on my own hotness or notness is the most critical thing to my own happiness?!?  Listen to the words, which are really the crux of this whole campaign, and listen to the problems they bring.

Because according to those women's words, if I thought I was a 2, and now I realize I'm a 5, wouldn't I be happier still with a boob job? Face lift?  Lip... bigger-maker? Wouldn't I be happier if I could make myself an 8? A straight up 10??

The problem with this campaign is that they are trying to fix all of our lady-sadness by having us look into the mirror, past the rolls and the zits and the wrinkles and the just plain weirdnesses we all have, and to call ourselves beautiful.  Which feels sweet and wonderful, and maybe is a lie.  Because honestly, maybe we're not all that and a bag of chips.  Some of us are pretty, some terrifyingly gorgeous, some terrifyingly un-gorgeous, and most of us are so-so.  Some of us are creepy intelligent.  Some of us are dumb as bricks.  Some people are the most interesting man in the world.  Some people are extremely dull.  Those people are called accountants*.  Some people are so nice that pretty little birdies help get them dressed in the morning.  Some people eat those other people.

The point is, I am not perfect.  You aren't either.  None of us is all of the good things and none of the bad things.  If my happiness is based solely on my perception of own personal quality, then I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be getting out of bed any time soon.

The real problem with thinking too highly of myself and thinking too little of myself is the same:  I'm thinking too much about myself.

Who CARES if my ears are too big and my feet are too long and my head is too giant-basketball shaped?!  This story isn't about me.  And big ears give you character.

So here's my advice for the day, that I give to you and to me: Get over yourself.  When you start to worry that maybe you aren't perfect, realize you're right.  And focus your attention a little bit more on the ONE who is.  I heard somewhere once that He's a more reliable source of happiness than good hair days.

*Side note, I apologize directly to my mother-in-law, who is an accountant AND a wonderfully interesting woman.  Except, of course, when she gets to talking about accounting.

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