On Beauty, Confidence and One Direction

29 Jun

The other day, I found a video on my phone from about a year ago. It’s just my friend and I talking about insecure people. “Insecure people are the worst”, we agreed. They drain your energy, creativity and passion for the things you love. They make it almost impossible to like them, giving you constant reminders of why they don”t like themselves. They’re exhausting to be around, frustrating, boring- the list goes on.

Let’s back up. I’m an insecure person. We all are. There are upward of 50 billion things that I don’t like about myself. I’ve let my insecurities keep me from doing so many things I’ve wanted to do. The biggest problem I face (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this) is that I have the tendency to think that other people are better than me.

It doesn’t feel so wrong, sometimes, to think that someone is better than you. They can do things that you can’t, do better at things you can do, have more friends, read more books or just seem all-around more genuine. It seems almost fair that you should be the person who’s just… not as good. The problem with this (as I’ve learned from experience), is that you can’t really love someone who you think is better than you. This forces them to be a person who can’t feel comfortable being honest with you about their faults, impeding their growth. It also causes you to always be “the insecure one”. Are you good enough to talk to them? Is this joke funny enough to tell? Can I Facebook message this person twice in a row? So there, you’re finally communicating with this person, who’s just really fantastic, and you’re what? Miserable.

It’s becoming very clear to me that to love another person, you first have to love yourself. It’s a line that everyone likes to nod to, and yet one that most people don’t really spend much time considering. Loving yourself is so much more than loving your ideas or knowing that you’re good at something. Loving yourself is having an honest understanding of the fact that you are more than your specific accomplishments. Loving yourself has to do with accepting yourself while understanding your faults, and having faith in yourself to grow.

Take the song “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful”. This song always bothered me, because you’d think a musician of all people would understand the importance of self-confidence. But this is how our culture is. We are told that our self-worth comes from our physical appearance and our accomplishments. We believe that we’ll know when we’re good enough, because someone will tell us if we’re good enough. So we wait and wait, and beg every person we talk to to be our One Direction and tell us that we’re beautiful, and we just don’t know it. Only they don’t. They get fed up with our insecurities and they find us boring and self-obsessed, and we think that they hate us because our eyebrows are weird or our thighs are too big (or was that just me?).

Here’s the thing: the worth of human life is more than just your weird eyebrows or your I’m-a-female-and-past-puberty thighs. You deserve respect from every person, and if a person doesn’t give you that, that’s their problem. It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, but I’m a pretty cool person. I’m not “better” than anyone, but nobody is “better” than me. I’m good enough, cool enough, funny enough, smart enough and pretty enough to love the people I love. I know I’m beautiful, and that’s what makes me beautiful. So screw you, One Direction.

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