“She don’t understand she’s worth it or that beauty goes deeper than the surface; You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are”.
When I first heard these lyrics sung by Alessia Cara, I could instantly relate. Over the years, every commercial, song, tv-show, etc. that has an underlying message to men and women of what beauty really means gives me hope that we’ll grow together as a society. Nine times out of ten, my guess would be that our insecurities did not come from one bad relationship, one bad year at school, or one bad hair day. I believe these insecurities are developed over a life span, stemming from so many different aspects of our life. If you add up all of the negative comments you’ve heard over time voiced by the men and women we look up to, the awful criticisms we hear on reality TV and read in the tabloids, the judgement of all of those around us talking about people they dislike, it’s no wonder we have so many insecurities.
As a photographer, I look for beauty in my photos. What kind of beauty? My eyes tend to lead me to smiles that are genuine, warm colors that speak to trust and feelings of security, and cool colors that resemble the pure bliss in life. Odds are, what you consider as beauty in a photograph is different from what I consider beauty to be, and that’s because we’re human and share different perspectives.
However, no matter what you may define beauty as, I would make a bet that if you were to look at a handful of photos recently taken of yourself, you would not be looking for those same attributes. Instantly, I’d say your eyes would be drawn to your insecurities. But if I, or the person sitting next to you, were looking at that same picture, I would bet that they are interpreting that photo entirely different.
Now where am I getting at with this?
In the last 48 hours, I have heard the following comments: “My face looks swollen”, “I’m self conscious”, “Not a lover of my chin”, and “I hate myself”. These were each from different people. The worst part is that I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do this. A lot. And that’s just not acceptable. We as humans need to be better than that. We need to be better than that for our friends, we need to be better than that for our family, we need to be better than that for ourselves, and most importantly, we need to be better than that for God.
As we go into the new week, I want you to keep this in mind: You are beautiful. The way you snort when you laugh brings joy to those around you. The way you run around the house in a frantic as you’re getting ready to leave in the morning speaks to your determination. The high pitch voice you speak to your dog in makes he/she feel so loved every single day. The way you ask 1,000 questions let’s us know that you care. The way you cry when you feel sadness reminds others that it’s OK to be vulnerable. The way you say hello when you walk into the office brings positivity and light to your coworkers’ day. You are beautiful, for so many different reasons. This week, I encourage you to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to for awhile. Let them know how amazing they are, why you’re happy to have them in your life, and what makes them such a beautiful human being. Odds are, they needed to hear it.
To the beauty underneath the makeup,