I decided to make this post because I often see some of my friends saying things that imply that they are ugly. At first, I found it quite upsetting because, in all honesty, I think that these people who say they are ugly are actually beautiful. Sweet and cute. More beautiful than me. Cuter and sweeter than me. Their saying that they are ugly makes me feel uglier about myself. I don’t like it. But then I stopped and stepped back. I am here not to judge them. I’m trying to understand because I realize that that’s how I feel about myself: Even though some people now tell me that I’m pretty, deep inside I believe, and I do feel, ugly – more often than I do feel pretty. Seeing how upsetting it can be to hear pretty people saying they’re ugly, I can imagine that it might be annoying too for some to hear I say I feel/am ugly.
Well, I know it’s easier to judge and say, “You’re so ungrateful. You’re so pretty but you still say that you’re ugly. What about others?” But guilt-tripping like this is (sometimes) not nice. It can even make people feel worse about themselves. Disclaimer: I’m one that loves to guilt-trip people at times, when I think they are lucky but ungrateful. I also believe that sometimes some people need it. Some might need softer approach, but I think sometimes some need a hard slap on their face so they can wake up. Hence, I’m not that good either, I’m sorry. But again, I’m not to guilt-trip people here; I’m trying to understand.
I myself don’t think that I’m pretty. Sure, every now and then I feel pretty about myself. For example, I feel beautiful when I dress and smile a certain way, but in general I feel ugly. For example, I don’t like to be recorded in videos because when I speak or when I open my mouth, I feel ugly even though I actually love my voice. I don’t hate myself, though. I’ve learned to accept myself – and entertain myself: “Yes, I’m ugly, but I have other things I can offer. I can earn my own money for a living. Not much but at least I’m independent. Some people say I’m smart, too. And people say smart is the new beautiful. Etc.” I’m ugly, and I’m okay with it, but still, sometimes I want to feel – and be – beautiful all the time too.
I try to understand why I feel ugly even though some people now tell me I’m pretty. I guess it’s experience. What I’ve been through shapes how I feel about myself. And I’ve got a very beautiful sister, too. People – including those who call themselves my friends – always praise how beautiful she is. Some even plainly and nonchalantly say that she is more beautiful than me. I know it’s a fact. It’s not my sister’s fault either. I have my own strengths, too. So, no, I’m not jealous of her. But to be honest, sometimes I’m not okay with that. It makes me feel really really really ugly. It’s not only my sister, though. My colleagues, my classmates, my friends, etc. If we’re together, I know I’m not someone that will be praised as beautiful. Look is something people see at first, right? Like, if you see something or someone, you can immediately tell if they are beautiful or not. And when you say it, it really shapes one’s view about themselves. Also, sometimes people tell me to wear make-up or certain dresses so I can look beautiful. While I understand and appreciate their good intention, doesn’t that mean that I’m actually ugly? Well, some of you might say people like me are just being oversensitive, too sensitive; however, if that’s the case, is it also possible to call the otherwise insensitive-or even ignorant?
I might sound to complicate or dramatize things. One might say, “Just because we don’t tell you that you’re pretty, it doesn’t mean we think you’re ugly.” I know. But when you’re so used to hearing people praise X for how beautiful s/he is, eventually you’ll believe that while you might be beautiful, you don’t deserve such praises – or else, you’d come to believe that you’re just ugly. All because you don’t and have never received the same kind of praises. Am I exaggerating things?
And by the way, talking about how beautiful my sister is, I hate it when people compare us. It’s not only about my sister’s being more beautiful than me. People also tend to compare how I’ve got great academic achievements, e.g. graduating on time, getting scholarships abroad, etc., while my sister is still struggling with her study, implying that I’m smarter. I don’t think so, I’m just lucky. Hence, it must be hard on her to be compared like that, and I don’t want her to think that she is stupid, because I believe and do think that she is smart. Thus, if you’re someone who knows us and have somehow compared us in terms of beauty or intelligence or anything else, I don’t need your apologies for the way you guys have made us feel, I just want you to stop doing that. It’s not good for both of us.
But let’s get back to the main topic: being pretty or ugly. Just recently a friend of mine (let’s call her A) told me that she felt insecure/not confident to hang out with B. A thought she wasn’t as beautiful and classy as B. I had never expected that because, truthfully, I do think that A is really really beautiful. Even more beautiful than me! (Now if people say “everyone is battling their own struggle”, that’s true!) Well, B is beautiful, and she is rich too, so yes, she wears branded products. However, I think A, with all her modesty, is not in any way less beautiful than B. I feel bad comparing them like this, but that’s the truth: they both are beautiful. And when I told A this, she thanked me saying nobody said she’s beautiful, and not even her husband. Dear hubbies out there, please don’t ever say that your wife is ugly. Even though you might be just joking, they might seriously believe it! And what’s more, A said that even her mother said that A’s sister was more beautiful than her. It’s so heart-breaking! Parents, you’re not supposed to compare your kids like that! (Well, I’m not trying to act holy; I admit sometimes my parents do that, too. I’m still “educating” them little by little).
Furthermore (just why do I use this word? LoL), another friend shares her perspectives with me. She says that we’ve been raised in such cultures that make us feel ugly. We’re used to being told we’re ugly by people around us: family, neighbors, friends, etc., not only when people are mad, but also when people are joking, and we’re forced to believe it as a form of endearment. And we’re also given this stereotype about what makes one beautiful such as pointed nose, lighter complexion, neat teeth, slim body, etc. so when we don’t have one of those we’ll instantly feel ugly. We’re taught to focus on our “weaknesses” (which are not actually weaknesses at the very first place), and rarely highlight our strengths. And what’s worse is, this being pretty or ugly is, I think, linked to sexual harassment such as catcalling. We women are made or, rather, forced to believe that when someone is catcalling us, it means we’re pretty, it means we’re attractive. And when we’re ugly, we’re told to be thankful bec
ause nobody will harass us since nobody will find us attractive. And we know this is not true!
Recently I made a poll on my Instagram asking my friends if they feel pretty or ugly about themselves. Not everybody responded, but I’m happy that almost half of my respondents feel pretty more often. I’m truly happy for them. It’s important to have such confidence and believe that we’re pretty. And yes, I can say they are pretty too! However, I feel sad to know that more than half of my respondents feel ugly about themselves, more often than they feel pretty. What’s appalling for me is that I seriously think that NONE of them are ugly. In fact, I think some of them are so beautiful I wish I could be as pretty as them. I feel like hugging and telling each of them how beautiful I think they are. And no, I’m not sugarcoating this. I’m not the type who’ll tell you you’re beautiful (when I don’t think you are) just to make you happy. I seriously think that these people are pretty. “So, what do you do when you think someone is ugly?” 1. I’ve never really thought that someone is ugly – except me myself, obviously. 2. Sometimes I think that someone is not that pretty but not ugly either, you know, like ordinary or on average. And when I am faced with this situation, I prefer to keep silent. Why? Because I know it’s just a matter of personal preference. Like, you know, people can swoon over Shane Filan from Westlife and say that he’s the hottest and most handsome, but for me, it’s Mark. It might be not the best analogy but, well, when I say these people who say they feel ugly are actually pretty, I’m just being honest. I don’t mean to compliment, ass-kiss, or such. I’m merely stating a fact – what I truly think about them. Nevertheless, I know if I tell them this, they might not believe me, just like when people tell me I’m pretty, I’m thankful but I find it hard to believe. But if they read this, I hope they can see themselves differently and feel pretty about themselves.
Well, it’s “funny” how people easily believe the negative things people say about them and practically doubt the positive things people say about them. Tell someone ugly and s/he’ll instantly be convinced that s/he is indeed ugly. Tell someone smart and s/he’ll be insecure doubting if s/he’s indeed smart. Their being ‘ugly‘ will be buried and carried with them for the rest of their life. I mean, even when people eventually tell them they’ve become pretty they’ll still believe that they’re actually ugly. On the contrary, their belief in their being ‘smart’ will only surface once in a while and relatively fade over time because they know that every now and then they still do stupid things and as they learn more they realize there are many more things that they don’t know than the things they do know. It’s “funny” – and sad. But, well, I dunno bout others. At least that’s how people have made me believe. It hurts in the beginning. It still hurts every now and then. But I’ve come to terms with it. Beauty is not my forte. And I’m ok with that. I have many other things I can be proud of and confident about. Acceptance is key. Gratitude is another. All is well.
But I really hope people can feel prettier about themselves. If we really have been shaped to think that we are ugly, I think we need to break the chain. Maybe the key is not to compare and accept that people simply have personal preference. Tell your kids, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. that they’re beautiful in their own way. And don’t compare. We’re all pretty and beautiful ‘till we’re compared to somebody else, which often makes us feel ugly or less pretty. And I don’t know who or how you are, and I know it would sound like a lie if I tell you I think you’re pretty since I might not know you in person, but if you read this, please believe that there must be someone who thinks you’re beautiful. “But nobody tells me I’m beautiful,” you might think this way. Then you should start telling yourself that you’re beautiful. And, ugh, I did this, I still do. It might sound narcissistic, well, I might be narcissistic, but somehow it works. I used to feel completely ugly, but now there are times when I feel pretty – and of course it’s also because some people finally tell me that I’m pretty. THANK YOU, YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE! So, maybe we can start telling people how beautiful they are? People need to build their confidence, and personally, I think that’s what makes someone pretty: confidence. But oh, this post has been too long, but please take a look at yourself, change the way you see yourself till you feel pretty and prettier about yourself. And focus on your strengths, I don’t know, maybe your kindness, maybe your hard work, maybe your smile, maybe your deciding to hang on despite the awful life you’ve had. There are many things that can make us feel pretty. And, I might not know you in person, but I believe you’re pretty, and I hope you believe it too.