The face changes, the body changes—but real, enduring beauty lives in our hearts.
Beauty is relative; it’s the perspective that matters. There are times when we hide from the world due to our appearance, failing to understand that it shouldn’t even matter.
I am not a good-looking individual to the world, but in my eyes, I am nothing less than a Greek God.
It is wrong to expect people to share our perspectives, but it’s definitely right to love ourselves.
I have seen people shying away from the public glare by turning down invitations or avoiding social meet-ups. However, it is never the face that matters. What matters most is the confidence to carry off anything that’s naturally endowed to us.
Trust me, there are individuals who gaze into mirrors and question their very existence. There are times when our own reflection feels like a deafening physical abomination. It becomes an integral part of life. It turns obsessive and consumes.
The result: We start getting cranky and indifferent toward individuals.
Our social circle condenses into something small, and all of our other strengths seem to lessen because of one perceived inadequacy. Blaming and self-loathing starts to engulf us. Lastly, we take pride in harassing others who are facing similar issues with their appearance—just to satiate the wounded ego.
It was the skin for me—pigmented, discolored, and different. So different that people would start laughing every time I entered the room. Nobody tried to understand the extent of my chronic illness, and I was often welcomed with looks of complete revulsion and even unkind words.
I thought of myself as a misfit when I wasn’t.
I learnt to avoid cameras and mirrors. I always carried a scarf to hide my face. I avoided eye contact. I shied away from comments, and felt as though I ceased to exist.
It wouldn’t have been a surprise if I had started to feel that my self-esteem was shattered beyond repair. The feeling of being considered a second-class entity was hard to live with.
Ours is certainly an appearance-saturated society, where likability, in many cases, is directly proportional to being attractive. Regardless of the situation, we all are made to believe that beauty is synonymous with perfection. Social media is flooded with perfect pictures of people leading seemingly perfect lives.
Despite being bullied and insulted, I realized I could come out victorious. I learnt that my appearance is only the tip of the iceberg, and I am way deeper than what my chronic skin disease portrays. This is the moment when I started learning about the magic of self-acceptance.
Here are five things which guided me through this journey. I hope they help others as well:
1. Making peace with inadequacies.
Many of us hate something about our body, and it’s okay. We must understand that everyone has imperfections. Nothing needs to be criticized, it needs to be accepted. If we have something we feel is imperfect, try regarding it as something special instead.
Forgoing pleasure, just because we think we don’t deserve it, isn’t a good idea. More often than not, life offers us unobtainable gifts which can only be unlocked with acceptance. Our desire to be “perfect” (getting our bodies into a certain shape or getting a nose job) shows our growing intolerance. Instead of working to fix the not-so-perfect areas, let’s make peace with them. We only have one body for the rest of our lives.
2. Feeling unattractive is fine.
My wife wakes up before me every morning so she can freshen up before I see her. No matter how many times I tell her she is beautiful when she wakes up, she still does not feel confident in herself. It’s not just her, most of us have moments of weakness and low self esteem.
There are times we can feel unattractive or downright ugly. If that is the case, do something you love, something that makes you happy—get some good sleep, fresh air, or spend time with a loved one. When you feel happy you look happy. Trust me when I say, looking good is a choice. It’s inside all of us. We just need to discover the accessories that resonate.
3. Never fall for media-defined norms.
For most of us, the images we see in the media are unattainable and superficial. So, it is a good idea to stop following magazines, TV shows, or Facebook pages unless you can see them for what they are. They showcase flawless skin, perfect hair, and toned bodies—something that’s not real for anyone and can cause depression.
4. Grow beyond reflections.
How a person looks should not determine how a person truly is. A person is comprised of hopes, dreams, character, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and appearance. Therefore, it would be wrong to judge anyone—including oneself, on the basis of physical perfection only. Physical attributes, on the other hand, can be photoshopped or attained, surgically.
5. Believe in perceptions.
A lack of self-love shows up in our appearance and in our actions. If we feel beautiful on the inside that glow is bound to show up on our faces and in our interactions with others. This is where our perceptions can make us stand out. We need to create constructive images in our minds so our belief system will endow us with positivity.
In simpler words, we need to take hold of our pens and write down the story that we want to read.
There will be critics all around us, but we just need to calm our worst critic—the inner one. When we stand naked in front of our soul, we feel the lightest.
We need to focus on our own story, it’s the only one we need to know when it comes to our appearance to let our inner beauty shine.
Author: Ananda Banerjee
Image: Nishanth Jois/ Flickr
Editor: Deb Jarrett