It's so true that, as women, we perceive ourselves differently than others do. We're often our harshest critic - the little things that others hardly notice are seen to us as screaming flaws that we criticize.
Some of the most beautiful women I know suffer from this. I don't think that any of us are immune to feelings of, "If only I lost X pounds", "I hate the way my body looks", "My nose is too big" or "I wish I had her hair". What's worse, as a society we subtly applaud women being insecure about their appearance. It's considered too forward, arrogant or conceded for women to express that they like the way they look and are happy with their bodies.
Why is this? Why is it that more women don't express contentment with themselves? Beyond expression, why is it that more women truly don't perceive themselves as the amazing people they are?
We shouldn't be afraid to love ourselves. We shouldn't be afraid of confidence.
While there are many factors that play into this, I do believe that sometimes we're our own worst enemies. We play into competitive comparisons as opposed to celebrating both ourselves and each other.
Another factor? The beauty industry. We continually are shown picture-perfect models and spokeswomen who don't seem to have a flaw to their name. Perfect skin, hair, body, face... the perfection is never ending and exhausting to keep up with.
And if I'm really being honest, sometimes bloggers can be a culprit too. Hear me out.
I had someone text me the other day saying, "I can't read your Charming posts any more. They're so cute that it is depressing. I'm wearing grey jeans that are too big, running shoes, and an old black tee shirt. Kuddos to you for being able to pull it all together". The funny thing about getting that text was that it was from someone who I consider one of the most stylish woman that I know.
Wow - are my posts becoming unrelatable? That's something I never want to have happen, and something I'd never want to make a reader feel. I looked at my blog through the lens of someone else and thought, I guess I am showing my life as much more picture-perfect than it is. And while I won't be changing my writing style or topics (Honestly, I'm a positive person by nature and have always had a happy disposition), I don't want you to think that I perceive myself as something I'm not, or worse, that I in some way am making you feel bad by only showing the good as opposed to the everyday, behind-the-scenes reality.
Here's the thing about blogging: It's not an accurate depiction of real life. These posts are carefully picked and created for public viewing.
What's not surfaced are the outfit posts gone wrong (There've been many), photos with awkward faces (True story: one time I had a big piece of lettuce on my tooth), pimples that are photoshopped out (Yes, in the name of being honest, it happens), DIY's gone bad (Read my interview on The Chicago Life for a little more context) or the nights in which creativity feels like a chore.
There's plenty of no-makeup-and-sweatpants days that you'll probably never see, and plenty of posts-turned-blah in which I won't hit "publish".
But even with off days and behind-the-scenes "real beauty" truths, I do consider myself beautiful. I am generally happy with my appearance, and while I'm scared that you'll judge me for saying that, I'm saying it anyways in hopes that voicing this will encourage you to do the same.
I think every one of us should strive to be better at celebrating ourselves, despite our inevitable insecurities and flaws. Isn't it true, after all, that what we see as flaws are what other people see as beauty?
The Dove campaign is a perfect reflection of that.
Care to dance? Follow my lead.