I saw this video the other day, and I’m pretty sure it rings true for everyone. Not just women.
As humans, we all see ourselves differently from the way others see us. Part of that is interpretation, part of it is just that when we look at ourselves we are looking for different things.
Interpretation of physical looks is influenced by so many things – varying cultural standards for beauty, each person’s own individual hang-ups, the personality that flows out of a person, the expression they wear and the acts they perform. Beauty goes far beyond symmetry and clear skin. That radiant smile, those gorgeous lines that appear when you laugh, the way you automatically drop your change in the donation box – these are aspects of beauty that mean far more than the commonly held beauty ideals we measure ourselves up against. And as this video shows, the teeny little flaws we often obsesses about often go unnoticed by others. No one notices that mole (which so many people draw on their faces anyhow), or the creases of experience and joy that flicker out from the corners of your eyes. They just see the happiness in your expression and the light beaming out from your eyes.
We can see all this in others, but when we look in the mirror, we go hunting for our flaws. It’s a sick little game we play, a twisted version of hide and seek. “Where is that horrible wrinkle? Those unsightly freckles? The disgusting pimple?” we ask ourselves, as we run our hands over our faces like pirates looking for the X on a map. And then once we find it, we try to disguise it with make-up, but of course we can never be satisfied. You can’t unsee what you just saw, and even if it’s hidden, the knowledge of it’s existence traces it’s outline for our eyes anyway.
What I found most interesting about the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video, is how far the distortions of our faces went, and how incorrect they were. The ‘pretty’ versions that other people saw were much closer to reality than the nit-picky flawed faces the people claimed to see in the mirror each day.
I am just like all these women. I don’t like what I see, probably because what I see is not attractive. Even if that is not what I actually look like.
So I am going to take a vow. I vow to recognise that the image I see in the mirror is not me, and to truly believe than I am more beautiful than I think.
Join me, if you will.