“You are so beautiful,” I’ve said to my daughter so many times.
“Thanks, mom, but not really. At least I have a pretty good personality.”
Distorted Messages About Beauty
This response to my compliment bothers me. Not because she recognizes the value of having a good personality. Of course, I agree that who she is as a person is everything. We talk about character and values all the time. And we both know that our physical appearance is not the measure of our worth.
She knows that how a person behaves is far more important than how a person looks. She’s soaked in those values since she wore a tutu with lopsided pigtails, a crooked princess crown, and pink smeared lipstick. Her idea of beauty was always celebrating who she was–embracing her way of feeling pretty and loving it without comparing herself to a Disney Princess.
But her view on beauty has changed.
When did she decide she wasn’t beautiful?
She’s grown up in a culture that lavishes itself on the importance of beauty – but defined in specific ways. This perception has slowly soaked into her soul and found room to build new, distorted ideas.
As she grows older, her innocence hardens by the superficial standards of others, and it has taken over what was once pure, genuine, and true.
So, now she deems herself unworthy of thinking she is beautiful, and I can only assume this is why: The world told her so.
Every image her teenage eyes sees—in magazines, on social media, on TV and movie screens—tells her she isn’t beautiful.
The Truth About Beauty
So, I’ll go to battle every day to fight the media monster that displays the perfect figure, the remarkable hair, and the flawless skin. I’ll point to the people who reveal beauty by virtue and value, rather than fashion and fiction. I’ll change the focus from models wrapped in packages that cultivate unrealistic comparisons and create distortions of the truth. I’ll remind her that the beauty standard she believes she can’t reach is a fabrication, a falsehood, and a fallacy. I’ll unwrap the layers of this mystery piece by piece so she can see for herself that it is only smoke and mirrors.
I’ll make sure she knows the world is lying to her.
I’ll ask her who dictates what beauty is, and who decides which woman earns that word, that label, that privilege?
We’ll work to bury the need to seek approval. We’ll work to find her self-love. We’ll take apart each lie that this world tells her.
And I will help her understand that her eyes, her nose, her jawline, her skin, her lips, her cheekbone, her hair, her figure, her smile were all made for a purpose—and her design is perfectly beautiful.
And someday she’ll stop believing the lies the world keeps telling her, and she will hold tight to the truth that beauty has no bar, no barrier, no boundary.
She will look into the mirror and embrace every bit of her appearance as a masterpiece of parts created especially for her.
And she will celebrate this truth about her beauty—along with having a great personality too.