Has this ever happened to you? You show someone a picture of yourself from when you were younger (or thinner ), or both - and instead of commenting about how cute or pretty you were, the person says things like "I can't believe that's you!" or "I would have NEVER recognized you!!!"
What does one say in response? Thank you?
I know I look different now as the middle aged version of myself; I get that. But the thing is - despite having hair that needs Clairol's root touch up once every three weeks and a new found understanding of why a person would get Botox - underneath it all, remains a 16 year old girl who still wants to be seen as pretty.
I hope I'm not letting any cats out of the bag by revealing this. That despite our age, most women want to be viewed as desirable; but at this stage in the game, we long for this desirability to be on our own terms. In much the same way men are seen as distinguished with a little grey hair, I believe women would like to be seen as attractive based on an entire package: our confidence, our accomplishments, our hearts, our humour - attributes that might not reveal themselves at first glance, but that inform every aspect of what it is to be beautiful once you get to know a person.
I think this is something we must remind ourselves of daily: the reality of beauty coming from the inside out. Just because some women's magazine is selling you the latest diet, wrinkle cream, or age defying potion doesn't mean you can't fight back and feel better about yourself in the process. Although there exists a universal standard of beauty in our youth obsessed culture, let's take the time to remind ourselves that very few people actually ever meet that standard - further to that, it is not something anyone is going to be able to hold onto. Eventually time is going to catch up with the Botox and when that day happens my wish is that every woman is able to see herself as worthy.
When I look back at pictures of myself now and see that pretty girl with the wanna be Farah flipped back hair, I can see that so much is missing. The girl in the pictures had not yet driven across Canada on her own, danced on top of a bar in New Orleans, raised a son, maintained a marriage, ran a half marathon, appeared on a TV show or won $20,000.00 for making the best damned pork tenderloin in Canada! That girl, though pretty, was not half the woman I eventually became. Which tells me that in 20 years when someone sees a picture of me now, it shouldn't come as a surprise when they say "I can't believe that's you!"
Because it won't be.
The me of 20 years from now will be more confident, and more assured. She will have overcome obstacles and survived losses. She will have experienced challenges, and adventures, and through it all if I play my cards right, she will have done so with an unwavering belief in herself and the steadfast knowledge that desirability and beauty are less about wrinkles, and more about the experiences that have put them there.
Do you relate to this? Are there things you do to combat inner negativity? What things make you beautiful from the inside out?
Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer
with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe
developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay
believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and
ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of
all levels can accomplish.
Visit her on her blogs, The Kitchen Witch, and Just. That. Fabulous. or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.