We can’t let a mirror or a scale be the measure of our self-worth.
by Celeste DeCamps
I have spent many years criticizing and judging the way I look, always comparing myself to others and wishing I were prettier. Do I want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model? Yes, yes I do.
Do I really believe that would make my life perfect? No, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to be beautiful. And I’m not alone. For centuries, women have tried all kinds of beauty treatments to enhance what they have or fake what they don’t. Modern women are the targets of an overwhelming media induced push to be physically perfect. That’s why we see so many 20-year-old models selling wrinkle cream, and talk shows promoting the latest weight-loss plan. It’s a feeding frenzy on our insecurities in hopes of selling us a cure. The question I have is this: How can I stop this cycle of mental put-downs?
How can I change a rock-solid foundation of insecurity into an anchor of self-assurance? No jar of cream will do that. I’ve decided to replace that abusive voice inside me with one that’s full of love and self-respect. Like everything else, it has taken practice. When a negative thought pushes its way in, I counter it with something positive. My wrinkles are multiplying overnight! No, those are laugh lines, because my life is full of joy. I’ve decided to feel grateful that I am healthy and strong. I’ve learned that when I need a boost in my self-esteem, I should check my posture.
When I stand tall, with my shoulders back and my head held up, I feel confident. I make myself smile, and instantly I feel happy. When I stopped focusing on myself and put my attention on the people around me, I realized that the people I love don’t care how I look—they care how I make them feel. They love me for me. I always do my best to encourage and support the people around me. To be really beautiful is to be compassionate and have empathy for others.
The people we gravitate to are the ones who genuinely listen to us, the ones who are happy for our successes and help us to be better. That’s the kind of beauty I strive for. I now realize that worrying about the way I look was a waste of time. Being more mindful of how I make others feel is far more important.
Don’t misunderstand me: There’s a part of me that wants to age gracefully and another part of me that wants to go kicking and screaming into my golden years. I will always enjoy putting on makeup and looking and feeling my best. I just refuse to put myself under a microscope and pick myself apart.
We all have insecurities that lead us to self-doubt, but we can’t let that keep us from pursuing our goals. We can’t let a mirror or a scale be the measure of our self-worth. If we believe in the beauty within all of us, we will find our success.
Celeste DeCamps is co-founder of Authentic Voices. Along with Michele Marshall, she presents lectures and workshops to help people tell their story. For more information, visit MeetUp.com/Authentic-Voices.