Most moms struggle to feel confident and beautiful. Oh, they may catch a glimpse of those feelings every now and then. But they spend a lot of time feeling inadequate and unattractive – as if they don’t quite measure up.
And the current election cycle has done nothing to help.
Thanks to never-ending media coverage, every woman in the country now knows leading politicians in both parties view women with a high level of disdain – attaching more value to their youth and perceived physical beauty than to their intelligence, competence, confidence and inner beauty.
Add the toxic political environment to the endless media messages that value only young, thin and “perfect” women, and it’s enough to crush the confidence of any woman who isn’t an airbrushed size 2 model under the age of 25!
So if you’re a mom who believes she isn’t attractive enough, thin enough or good enough, and if the current political climate has made you feel worse about yourself as a woman, I want to share a story with you. It’s the story of a real woman, told by my friend Carrie, author of A Mother’s Shadow. It’s a story of true beauty, the kind of beauty that’s within the reach of every woman. And it’s a story about the power of our actions – not just the fact that our actions can be beautiful (and they can), but also a reminder that beautiful actions and the way we treat others actually change the way people see us.
Here is Carrie’s story:
“Some years back, the company my husband was working for took a group of us on a trip. I was sitting on a lounge chair by the side of the pool in my swim suit and a cover up, and with a towel over my very white legs, all the while feeling incredibly conscious of this and that, and mentally comparing myself with all the other women there; naturally I only saw their positives and all of my flaws.
About that time a woman and her husband came to the pool. I could not help but watch her, because immediately she gave the impression of self-confidence, and her demeanor was amazing… She was so incredibly comfortable in her skin, that she was indescribably beautiful. Physically, she was very average looking and not a small or even shapely woman, but without one word, you just knew that she was profoundly grateful to even have a body and to be at that pool with her husband.
I watched the couple for a few hours. I was mesmerized by this woman who visited with other women and men at the pool in complete comfortableness; she exuded that spirit of loving yourself for what you are. She radiated a belief in her value and what she had to offer. It was easy to tell as I watched and listened that she was a kind and generous woman by her comments and the way she talked. It was never with airs and not even one word of comparing herself when she talked to the women who were, should I say, more stylish than she; she was just simply genuine and good.” (Read the complete story here.)
I really love that story. It reminds me I’m more than just the image I see in a mirror. It encourages me to change the way I see myself. And it helps me remember I’m not just a two-dimensional image or some number on a politician’s scale (definitely not a “10!”).
Most of us do what Carrie did – focus on our “flaws” and feelings of inadequacy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful and powerful instead to operate from a position of strength and beauty, to know that we are more than just a two-dimensional image, to know that our beauty is a reflection of everything we are, not just our physical beauty?
I encourage you to begin seeing yourself this way. Play up your best physical attributes for sure, but focus primarily on the beauty of who you are by treating people (including yourself) as important, valuable and worthy of love. In other words, ignore the media and the politicians and choose to be your own kind of beautiful.