Ohhh you knew – you knew as soon as you read the title, didn’t you – that I’d be back. Your ol’ mean-ole bastardface Sub-Conscious, BACK IN TOWN and ready with his hooks out for another go. As though you could read anything where the title included the words “your fear is boring” without making it about you. Well…without me making it about you, because let’s face it. It is. Kind of.
So, the premise that when too tired to speak with the filters of compassion, tenderness, and the desire to mollify, the TRUTH comes tumbling out, is as good as any for a blog post where tough love is the order of the day. Which this is, or it will be – tough. But loving. Because on a day where you found no less than seven positive things about yourself when challenged to look for good, this all bears saying:
‘Prettiness’ is a genetic lottery and you just didn’t draw a good ticket. Chasing it will only hurt and hurt and keep hurting, because without surgery (and don’t you dare!) there’s only so much you can do. You’re not *actually* ugly, but I’m afraid your mother’s constant reassurance of ‘striking’ is the best you’re going to get, most of the time.
You have a nasty tendency to get stuck, where ‘prettiness’ is concerned. You know it when you see it, and you see it often, because you’ve managed to surround yourself with some very beautiful friends. Good for you. Good for them. But stop comparing, because the constant beating yourself up for being ‘less than’, and the obsession with trying to change how you look so that you can judge your appearance (by those shallow standards you use for yourself) acceptable, is boring. And if you’re boring me, you’re almost certainly boring other people. Not good.
Look for those silver linings, dear one – you got to use your nose as a benchmark to keep looking and find a man who’d love you in spite of it (success!) and even if sometimes your friends aren’t ‘fond of you in pictures’, they ARE fond of you. Very.
And you KNOW that ‘prettiness’ doesn’t matter. Not really. Not when you’re thinking with your brain switched on to override the social conditioning and the comparison traps you pitch yourself into. I promise. Because everyone changes; everyone ages, and looks really DON’T last. There’s a reason they say ‘beauty is only skin-deep’, and once that skin begins to sag…well, let’s just say it’s not worth the anguish of being that invested in your looks, because they will fall. It might even be easier this way, given you can’t lose what you never had.
‘Prettiness’ is almost irrelevant, anyway, isn’t it? What is it for but to attract a mate (to take the anthropological line, for a second)? HEL-LO – who’s that guy sitting across the room from you? Yeah – the one you call Husby; who’s promised to be Little Old Uglies with you, if he possibly can be; who wants to share the rest of his life with you; who stood up in front of a packed church of people and promised you he WILL be your man forever. Box CHECKED. What more do you want?
Not to mention that if people only enter your world because of your looks, they’re probably the wrong kind of people. So again, my dear, you can be rather thankful for a self-limiting factor, and know that shallow people who only value ‘prettiness’ or place it above things like ‘integrity’, ‘honour’ and ‘love’, are not going to be ones you’ll have to deal with. In so many ways, ‘pretty’ needn’t bother you.
Attractiveness, though, is another matter entirely.
It’s not predicated on the shape of your body or the arrangement of your face. ‘Attractive’ doesn’t mind if you have wobbly edges or crooked teeth. It ignores your nose and the fact that you photograph badly. It doesn’t require you to be plucked and groomed and pimple-free. It cares not about the shape of your legs or whether you think your forehead is too high or your head too peanut-like.
‘Attractive’ is how the people who MATTER see you.
Attractive is the tone of your voice and the nice things you say. It’s the way your smile lights up your face and shines out of your eyes, all full of mischief and *twinklysparklygoodness*. It’s the kindness you exhibit and the outlook you have, and your intention to find Silver Linings, wherever you possibly can, even in the darkest situations. It’s the energy you put into letting people know you care about them. It’s the way you actively look for wonderful things to appreciate in the world around you. It’s your compassion for people you don’t even know, and the way the plight of special needs orphans in Europe can make you cry. It’s your conviction that we all belong to each other, and that you have a responsibility to HELP. It’s your desire to make the world magical for others, whether through writing or poetry or fairy stones or glitterbombs or gifts. It’s your willingness to encourage and cheer on and SUPPORT your people. It’s the way you try so hard to let people know they matter to you.
It’s the way you are absolutely, completely determined to love (and love and love and love) others.
And you SUCCEED, so much…but you seem to wilfully disregard the feedback on those counts, or a fair proportion of it anyway, and WHY?! Because ‘attractive’ isn’t ‘pretty’? NO! It’s better. Good GRIEF, girl, it’s AMAZING. It’s MAGNETIC! And if you could only be confident about it and let your character really shine through, you’d realise you have it in spadefuls.
And it LASTS. It will be there when you’re old. It won’t sag. It won’t wrinkle. It won’t get grey and tired. It will be with you for the rest of your life, if you let it. You know that – you’ve seen old-old people who are immensely attractive because of who they are and how they act and respond to things, and their outlook and their spirit, regardless of the fact they’re living in an old body with a wrinkly face. Their smiles are still genuine, and their eyes are still kindly and filled with light.
‘Attractive’ stays fresh and delightful and joyful and wonderful and lovely and…yes…beautiful.
So, just have a think about re-framing the way you look at yourself, wouldja? I know it’ll take work, but I think it’s worth it, and you’d feel SO much better if you could learn to see yourself as attractive.
P.S. I’m not going to say ‘I told you so’ when it happens, but be prepared for at least a few of your nearest and dearest to utter something along the lines of “I’ve been trying to tell you this for [insert ridiculously long time here]”.