Building a Stronger ME
Beautiful. You’re beautiful. You. Are. Beautiful. For many of us, reading those previous sentences might have felt uncomfortable. But why? This compliment doesn’t come with a want or hope for a date. Nor does it come with a hope for a compliment in return - or a hope of ANYTHING in return, for that matter. Someone simply finds you to be a beautiful being and wants to share that with you, and for no other reason or motive but to say that they appreciate you and they would like you to know they find you to be a beautiful.
Shouldn’t we be happy and say, “thank you”? What if we don’t feel like we are beautiful? What if we do agree, but feel like saying “thank you” will make us seem conceited or self-centered? Knowing how to acknowledge, accept, or even appreciate a compliment can feel like a battle in our own minds.
One high school student took it upon themselves to create a short where they recorded and took photos of other classmates, as well as a few teachers, telling them they were beautiful. The reactions were very interesting.
While most folks smiled in appreciation, other people became shy and somewhat awkward in their body language. Another student actually did not believe what they were hearing and felt there was another motive behind the project. After watching the video and seeing the varied responses, I too asked myself, what or how would I feel if I was told the same? “You are beautiful.”
I know now as an adult, I would happily accept the compliment and say “thank you,” but as a teenager, I feel like I would be a little at a lost, but definitely flattered, maybe a bit in disbelief, and also embarrassed by the compliment. That made me think, what has changed within myself that I would happily accept a compliment today, and be surprised and embarrassed by a compliment when I was a teen?
First, I realized I have a self-esteem today that is based on my own self-worth. Something that was hard to come by as a young, brown, and round young person often not fitting into the mold I saw in magazines, movies, and TV shows, for what was considered beautiful. I also realized more than anything that believing in myself, and believing good things about myself, was not conceited or self-centered.
Thinking positive things about myself was never taking away from someone else, and never did I think of someone else as less; I simply appreciated myself without feeling guilty. Much easier to see now and accept now, as opposed to when I was younger, but I also didn’t have someone that told me otherwise. So let me tell you, it is good to think positive and good things about yourself both inside and out. You are not taking away from other people, or saying you are better or less than anyone, you are simply appreciating you, and YOU are pretty amazing.
Here’s to an inspiring teen trying to let her peers and teachers know they are appreciated, and that through their eyes, their peers and teachers are all beautiful. Here’s hoping every person featured in the video will know that about themselves and feel proud to acknowledge it, as well.