Growing up, I never felt beautiful. I was too skinny with a large forehead, oversize glasses, and crooked teeth. Acne and I were BFF’s through high school, but the part of puberty I wanted to show up decided to take its time, much to the amusement of some cruel boys on the bus. Sure, my parents told me I was the prettiest girl in the world (parents are biased like that), but I never felt beautiful.
I’d look in the mirror and see my imperfections staring back at me. I tried to make myself feel better with contacts and makeup and clothes, and sometimes I’d feel pretty, but I never felt beautiful.
Eventually, I started fighting back against those feelings. I realized I was making bad choices because I thought they’d make people like me more. And if people liked me more, then I’d finally feel worthwhile; I’d finally feel beautiful. The older I got, the more I stopped caring about what other people thought about me and focused on finding things I did love about myself. I married a man who makes me feel beautiful every day, I’ve surrounded myself with friends who look beyond the outside to the beauty of a person inside, I started running, and I found I loved myself more when I nourished my body and treated it with care.
But the person who made me truly realize my beauty is my daughter.
When I first found out I was having a girl, I worried she’d look like me. How crazy is that? I was worried that my own daughter would look like me. It’s hard typing that out because I know how bizarre that sounds. I didn’t want her having the same insecurities as I did. When she was born she looked exactly like her dad and I was relieved. But, as she got older, her features started changing. Now people say we look alike, her and me. They say she’s my little mini-me.
And when I look at her, I am proud to know she looks like me. She does have the same crooked smile, the same forehead, the same lanky arms and legs. But now I don’t see those things as imperfections. I see them as the things that make her unique, the things that make her beautiful. And if they make her beautiful, they must make me beautiful, too.
If you ask her what makes someone beautiful, a princess for example, she’ll tell you they’re kind and smart and brave before she tells you they’re pretty. At almost seven she already has more wisdom about the world than I do. I continually hope and pray she keeps seeing the world, and herself, as beautiful.
But, if she ever doubts herself, I hope she’ll read this post and know I think she’s the most beautiful girl in the world because she’s smart, loving, brave, and kind. I hope she knows whenever I’m having a bad day or feeling down on myself, I can look at her and all of that worry and self-doubt fades away. An almost seven year old has taught me more about beauty than any magazine, tutorial, ad campaign, or advice column ever could. She’s taught me to embrace my imperfections and to see myself as a reflection of something bigger than myself. She taught me that I’m beautiful because she’s beautiful. And for that, I will be forever thankful.
I am attending the Mom 2.0 Summit in Scottsdale, AZ later this month. Dove is a presenting sponsor of Mom 2.0 and they’ve asked us to share our #BeautyStory. I have not been compensated for this post and I have no affiliation with Dove, save for the piles of Dove products I’ve purchased and use every day.