Women, Stop Hating Yourselves!

Photo by Carlos Lorenzo
Photo by Carlos Lorenzo

Ladies, I’m not going to tell you you’re (physically) beautiful.  It’ll be true in some cases, and heartbreaking bull in others.  I’m going to tell you something that I hope will be more useful: whether you are beautiful or not isn’t very important, and is certainly not the cornerstone on which your sense of self worth should stand.

Sure, try to take care of yourself.  Please practice good hygiene.  But don’t see yourself in a photo weighing a little more than you used to and take from it only “ugh, I look so fat,” rather than, “Oh, that was a fun time!”  Your life will not be summarized by how good looking you were on a certain day, but by the actions you took, the relationships you built, and the thoughts you expressed.

You will not find the meaning of life by walking down the street turning heads.  You will more likely find annoyance and harassment.

If you are beautiful, congratulations, enjoy it while it lasts, and good luck dodging all the scumbags.  If you aren’t, see what you can do about it.  And if there’s nothing to be done, for the love of God don’t wallow.  Humans are complex, and if you are making your appearance the main point of your existence, you are missing out on a lot no matter how ugly or beautiful you may be.

I weighed 303 pounds at my highest, and I have a (very) minor facial deformity.  But guess what?  I know what I look like.  I don’t become horrified every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I certainly don’t need a recovery period after I see a photo of myself.  There are times when I look in the mirror and love what I see, and far fewer, fleeting times when I dislike what I see.  But what I see in the mirror is a small part of who I am, and dissatisfaction with my appearance does not translate to dissatisfaction with myself.  When I leave my home I am clean and well-put-together, and I’m generally of the opinion that if someone is bothered by my appearance beyond that, the problem is theirs, not mine.  In fact, being below average in appearance is a handy a-hole screening device.

And the reason my confidence and self worth hasn’t been shattered is not that I compare myself to other women and knock them down, either in my own mind or with catty gossip.  Jenny’s poor fashion choices and Gina’s overly made-up face do not make you more attractive.  And this type of thinking is reflective of the same problem.  They are also worth more than their appearances.

You have value as a human being, not only, not even mainly, as an object of desire. Please value yourself for all the things you are, and all the things you can be. Your appearance is just an arrangement of body tissues in a particular order.  Some of it can be rearranged, and some of it can’t.  Do what you can with it, but don’t confuse your appearance with you.

Are you trying to lose weight?  Great!  I am too.  But please don’t wait until you are “thin,” or “thinner,” or “thin enough” to start liking yourself.  You have value as a human being, right now, whatever the number on the scale says.  We are more than lumps of flesh!  Stop judging yourself as though the size and shape of that lump were all that mattered!

It is wrong for the culture at large to judge a woman’s worth by how attractive she is, and it is wrong for an individual woman to judge herself by the same standard.  And it is heartbreaking.

I wrote this because of the amazing women I know who have dropped statements of staggering self-hate as casually as they would mention a chocolate craving.  If this has become the norm, we are doing something wrong.  Just stop!  Stop judging so harshly.  There’s more to life than your waist size and the pimple on your chin.

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