The “Pretty Quotient” – how do you fare on it?

Those who follow my blog, thank you. I don’t know who you are, aside from some names that are visible on your blogs, and others whom I know, you’d have noticed that I’ve changed the masthead of my blog. Earlier it had beautiful pictures that were earthy yet pretty and natural. Now, it has pictures of yours truly.

I have mentioned here in an earlier blog on self-worth, that I used to be teased and called names when I was young. I have said that I’ve always been conscious of the way I looked or the colour of my skin or how unhappy I used to be with my body, even though it is a gift and a miracle. So for me to actually put my pictures up in a public place where I am open to:

  • judgement
  • ridicule
  • harsh criticism
  • sarcasm
  • indifference

it’s a HUGE step. It really is. One of my dearest friends and soul sister wrote to me after reading my blog and commented:

“You are so pretty. Such light in your smiling face.”

Now of course that is thrilling to hear from a friend wouldn’t you agree? And even more so from a woman friend, because you know how women can be their own worst enemies. And a woman complimenting another woman on her looks, wow! the woman who is complimenting has to be someone who is very secure in her own skin, genuinely caring and warm. My friend is all of this and more. But, and here’s the big but – I am still so insecure (yes, I admit to it, even though I am getting more comfortable in my own skin), I had to ask her, “Really? You think so?”. Not only that, listen to this! I sent a pic of my ma and myself (it’s a series of pictures that we had got clicked, courtesy a good friend and these pictures up here are part of that) to a friend and said this:

“My ma is so beautiful. I wish I looked like her. I look a lot like my dad, but that’s ok too I guess.”

My friend being the wonderful human being he is, asked me why I thought so and I gave him the archetypal “scarred in childhood” kind of answer. “All my life I got vibes and subliminal messages that am kinda ugly cause am dark skinned right?” and his response to that was quite profound:

“It is what you believe not what others believe.”

That got me thinking. Because he’s so bloody right. It got me thinking about our “Reflection Perception” as I would like to call it, which is really about how you perceive yourself when you see your reflection staring back at you from the mirror. Do you, like me, ask yourself:

  1. Hmmm…today you’re not looking bad missy. However, a smoother, more glowing complexion wouldn’t go amiss now would it?
  2. Am having a bad hair day (I know many women would identify with that! 🙂 ). Why the hell can’t it stay down {or straight or wavy or XXXXX (fill in the blank as you deem fit)}?
  3. Why couldn’t I have been born taller, with leaner limbs?
  4. God look at those busy eyebrows?
  5. The oval face is deemed to be the perfect shape by experts (who are these experts I’d like to know). Why couldn’t I have one?
  6. Why don’t I have thick eyelashes that fringe my eyes where I don’t need to use mascara?
  7. My teeth? Eeeeeks!
  8. Throw in a stronger chin, higher cheekbones, tawny eyes and I’m done. For now.

Even as I key these in, I find it ludicrous and can’t believe that we (of course including me) can be so cruel by subjecting ourselves to the most intense scrutiny and harshest self-criticism. Considering we live in a world where the external is almost everything and we are so conditioned to believe that ‘fair is beautiful’ or a Grecian nose, or high cheekbones, or almond shaped eyes or thick Angelina lips are the epitome of beauty, that we give short shrift to our own bodies and facial features.

Many of us can and do grow up to like ourselves, maybe not completely 100% satisfied with what we have, but we groom, nip, thread, tuck, go under the knife, botox our bodies and features into submission of what we “think” is the definition of beauty. But me thinks that:

I guess each of us must be having a “Pretty / Handsome Quotient” against which we gauge ourselves right? A few questions that can help you assess where you stand:

  • Whose acknowledgement or approval is essential when you’re all dressed up and ready to go party/ office/ dinner/ family reunion/ girls’ night out/ boys’ night out/ date? And how much does it matter on a scale of 1 – 5? Is it enough to:
    • Ruin your day?
    • Make you want to go and change into something else?
    • See your confidence plummet?
    • Put you in a blue funk where you are snapping at everyone within a mile of you?
    • Have a downward spiral of thoughts starting from why you look the way you do to how you are just not good enough and how the world is a bad, sad place?
    • Blame your folks, your genes, God, Universe, your teeth, your washing machine, your shampoo, your hair stylist, just about anything, for the way you turned out?
    • Make you blow a fuse and punch the very person whose approval you were dying to get?
    • Get your bag and dash out of the door slamming it in the bargain?
    • Press hard on the accelerator of your car and curse and spew expletives at all and sundry on the road?
    • Gnash your teeth in a fake smile all the while simmering like a volcano waiting to actually show your middle finger?

If the scores are between 4-5 you know you need to heal. If your scores are between 3-4, you need some pep talk and some transformative coaching. If your scores are 1-2, you are very together and your self-worth is way up there. You could be a coach or healer :).

In the final analysis, I love what my beautiful soul sister wrote back in response to my question,“Really? You think so?”

“I think as we fall in love with ourselves as we grow and mature, we start to see ourselves in a whole new light. I do not see myself the way others see me, most of the time – I guarantee you! But I did start to learn this about 8 or 9 years ago, and started to look at myself with a different lens. I still see so many of my flaws, but, I’m also appreciating myself more and more. And choosing to focus on that.”

What is your focus on? With what lens do you see yourself? It’d be good to know. Because when you share, you help someone else heal. So let’s heal. And while you’re nibbling on your muffin and sipping hot cocoa, let’s hear this gorgeous track shall we?




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