Finding the beauty in one’s self-image



I recently read some advice by a blog I frequent, Smart Pretty and Awkward.

The author, Molly Ford, offered some great words of wisdom.

“You may never know what issues others are facing, and many people struggle with body image distortions,”, says Ford. By keeping your own comments about your body positive, you are both reminding and reinforcing to yourself what a beautiful person you are and serving as a role model to those who may be silently struggling to see their own beauty.”

What struck me the most was the truth that rang so clearly with the words “silently struggling.” Because for most, the struggle to see their own beauty is not just a passing phase in adolescence.

The battle to feel good about one’s self and body is intertwined, and something that affects young and old and male or female.

That adolescent we once were is still part of who we are, but in a different form.

We learn to hide our insecurities, perfect our image through Facebook and fake confidence.

Meanwhile, we silently compare ourselves to others, often putting those that appear more successful, pretty or intelligent on a high pedestal.

From experience, this act pushed me to think self-degrading thoughts telling me that who I am was not good enough.

I found it’s easier to believe the negative messages I heard and harder to trust the positive ones.

This was my own “silent struggle.” When handed criticism I took it to heart as the truth; quickly deflecting compliments and unable to just say “thank you.”

But there came a time when I realized that I could start to choose what messages to hear and accept about myself. And those messages weren’t just ones that came from others, but the ones I told myself.

Instead of putting anyone on a pedestal, I tried to see everyone as standing on an even playing field.

Instead of focusing on my flaws, but only noticing other’s “perfections,” I started to see everyone and myself as is, the good and the bad.

This lens went beyond body image and became more about self-image, and I knew what I needed to do.

If I wanted to discover who I really was, I would have to face the uncomfortable reality of examining my imperfections along with my strengths.

Before I could accept them, I had to acknowledge that those strengths and imperfections existed. As I write this, a part of me hesitates to write about my own silent struggle down on paper.

My own journey to wholly accept myself is one that is on-going and shifts through the years, various friendships, and life experiences.

At times I have fallen into depending on others to build my self-worth, and I still stumble.

Smart Pretty and Awkward inspires me to notice the beauty that is already within as well as the beauty in the quiet struggle: we are not alone.