Every now and then a stranger tells me I’m pretty. Once it was the woman selling apples at the farmers market. Usually its a homeless person I pass on the street. Sometimes it’s a person I make small talk with on my way somewhere.
But even though I may say Thank You, I never accepted the words for myself. Usually I think they are just saying it because they want something from me – money or for me to stay longer and talk to them. I don’t remember when I became this jaded, thinking that compliments had selfish ulterior motives. But mainly I don’t accept these compliments because I don’t think they are true.
Growing up with glasses and an a typically flat body didn’t help. High school was better when I got my first boyfriend and got asked out to school dances. Since then my perspective has ebbed and flowed. As I grew into an athlete my body image improved. As I became an independent adult my self esteem grew. But I don’t remember a time when I was able to honestly truly believe that the compliments were true.
I hate to say it but maybe I’m still holding on to the expectation that I should look like a super model in order to be called pretty or beautiful or gorgeous. Or maybe I put a lot of value on what my boyfriends or friends or family think of how I beautiful I am. If they don’t think I’m beautiful then how can total strangers think I’m beautiful? Or maybe my intuition is right sometimes and some people are just complimenting me because they want something.
Whatever the reason for my perspective, it’s time to leave it behind. My life isn’t better as a cynic. My life isn’t better when I think I’m not beautiful. My life isn’t better when I don’t let myself feel happy.
Luckily I met someone who tells I’m beautiful all the time. Now I just need to work on accepting that it’s true.
How am I going to do that? First I’ll start by telling myself everyday, “You are beautiful.”