A few months ago I had the pleasure of being sent a link to a new campaign by Dove; "Dove Beauty Sketches". The premise of the campaign is that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves to be beautiful. And no, that 4% is not the combination of the entire world's super models. Women were asked to describe themselves to a forensic sketch artist, Gil Zamora, who was trained by the FBI. The women could not see Gil and Gil could not see the women. They were asked to describe themselves to the artist and then after to describe another one of the women in the study that they had gotten a chance to know that day. The conclusion of the video is astounding. And it doesn't just pertain to women and the sad fact that we are our own worst beauty critics. We are all our own worst critics.
A quote I parrot to my husband on a weekly basis is, "Self doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will." This has been especially hard for me. I doubt all the time and I doubt everything. The hardest for me are my calling as a mother and my sense of self. Daily I wonder if I am the right person to parent the adorable little girl running around my home. And when I look in the mirror a vast majority of the time I do not like what I see. I only see what needs to be changed, what could be better, and what I wish didn't exist in the first place. I try to make myself better, to become that perfect image of myself that exists only in my head.
I think we all have that perfect image. What we think our body should look like, the perfect parenting style, the perfect career...the list could go on. Yesterday I asked my husband how in the world I was supposed to stop beating myself up all the time and how I was ever going to get to that point where I looked in the mirror and I could just be happy. Because the journeys of the mind are the hardest of all. What he said to me was truly the only thing that could work.
"Stop looking at yourself through your eyes and start looking at yourself through my eyes, because I LOVE what I see."
Doesn't it make more sense to look at ourselves through the eyes of those who love us? Who don't dwell on a couple inches of fat or a mark here and there? Perhaps it's because they see the whole picture and for them our good qualities vastly override whatever negatives there might be. My husband isn't perfect but he has the purest heart I have ever known. And my daughter isn't perfect either but she loves me and she seizes happiness at every chance.
My last post was about the "thigh gap." And I had an overwhelming response from women who simply said that because you are a woman you are beautiful. There is beauty in each of us. There is also strength. So if you fail, fail with dignity and the belief that some day you'll get it right and that there are people cheering you on. People who love you. And most importantly, keep trying.