Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Wow. Just wow. There is a topic on the message board I am a part of entitled "Do You Think You Are Beautiful?" I expected a mix of yeses and nos but never did I dream some of the explanations would just make me want to cry. Some answered "yes" and I smiled at the stories of their moms and dads and husbands who told them how beautiful they were and built the self image that was accurate and deserved. We discussed the meaning of the word "beautiful" and recognized we weren't talking supermodel, but we were talking about physical beauty. It was acknowledged that beauty is more than skin deep and it takes the whole package to make one truly beautiful, but this discussion was pertaining to body image more than inner beauty. It may sound shallow, but it really wasn't. I avoided the topic altogether for awhile, because I just didn't know how to answer. Yes seemed extreme, I think I look fine. I'd like to lose some more weight, but I think my self image is pretty good. But beautiful? Maybe a little extreme. I didn't want to answer no though and there were no choices in the middle. I had to get involved in the discussion when several of the ladies were answering no and remembering people who "teased" them about their looks and told them mean spirited things that I won't repeat here because I just don't feel comfortable telling "their" stories even if no one would ever know who they are. People who are supposed to love them and whose job it is/was to build them up and not tear them down. Who has the right to tell somebody they are not beautiful? How does one get to the place at which they feel it is their place to tell somebody they care about things that only serve a purpose of destruction? I have been one of the fortunate ones. My parents told me I was beautiful and they meant it. My husband tells me that too, on a regular basis. I haven't always believed them, especially not after gaining some weight over the years. I am proud to say that I am gaining some confidence back in this area. I just feel so sad for the mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters who have had this confidence stripped away from them by the words of others. How dare they?

I don't have any daughters, so I have to think about what I can do to help the problem of what women see when they look in the mirror. The only thing I can think of is to teach my sons to use words to help and not harm. Not just in this case, but always. I was made painfully aware during this discussion that words do major damage and it is long lasting, still hurting years after they were said.

I feel the need to say one more time that I know that physical beauty is not the most important thing. I know that inner beauty is much more enduring and it's what matters. But I also believe that there is beauty in everyone, and I do mean physical beauty. No, we aren't all Cindy Crawford. But I want every woman in the world to be able to look in the mirror and smile at what she sees, to feel comfortable in her own skin, and to have that taken away is just tragic. I am sad for these girls and angry for them at the people who made them feel this way. For what it's worth, I think they are beautiful, and I wish they could see that in themselves.


Anonymous said...

Great post! I feel so behind from the last few days- hopefully I can re-enter life.

Rebecca said...

Is today the twins Birthday? Happy Birthday to Jack & Aidan If it is!!

Crisa said...

Becca I'm so glad you jumped in on the conversation and I loved everything you had to say. I think as a mother of a boy/future man, we will have to approach it differently, but deal with the same issues. What if our boys are small or short? Does that make them less handsome or manly or beautiful?

Rebecca said...

Thanks Crisa! I couldn't get it off my mind, so I brought it here. I seriously was teary reading what some of the girls had been through, and the result to their self image. So sad.

I don't know how to approach the image thing with boys. I know Kevin was quite small up until 16 or 17 and then finally shot up and it really did bother him a lot. But beyond that, I percieve men/boys get their self image from other sources, success, knowledge, etc. I don't see many men looking in the mirror and picking themselves apart like a lot of women do. I could be wrong though.

Sue said...

Dude. You are SOO BEAUTIFUL! Really! (And wow, what an interesting topic!)

Becky said...

I had NO idea you posted this in your blog until I read your comment to me. Thanks for the thoughts. It truly is an interesting topic, and I'm doing my best to have that buck stop with me. Ryan will always be my handsome little man.

I agree with Sue, too. You ARE beautiful

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