Find Your Beauty

Posted 12 November, 2014 by Trish in Life / 59 Comments

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The other morning I was shaving my legs and having all of the bad thoughts. About my spider veins around my knees and calves. My less than muscular legs. My baby tummy. My post nursing breasts. And then out of the shower, the dark spots around my eyes. My graying hairline. As I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see anything that I liked.

And this made me sad.

On top of the sad I’ve already been feeling for an array of things. For letting my high school friendships slide. For some of the mistakes I’ve made over the years and not knowing how to turn back the clock after so much time passed. For being the awkward one not knowing how to converse at a fun mom’s night out. For snapping at my children too quickly. For nagging my husband about the household chores. All of those ugly things that build up inside and just fester. All the things that others can’t see.

Years ago my cousin wrote a great post about What You Don’t See in response to seeing everyone’s perfect lives online. I think about this post all the time and about coming clean about some of the things that you don’t see. I could go on all day–basically beating myself up over all the little nothings. But that’s not what I need today–or that morning when I looked in the mirror and couldn’t find anything good.

What I need today is to find something beautiful and good within me. I need to do this every day. Because hopefully if I can see it in myself, I can see it in others and others will also see it in me. Hopefully if I can find the good and the beauty, I can continue to strive to let go of the negativity. Hopefully I can allow myself to accept some of the less pleasant aspects about myself because they are not the whole. Hopefully I can look back in the mirror and not see the individual imperfections–hopefully I can look in the mirror and smile back.

We are all a work in progress. At least I know I am.

So, I took a hard look in the mirror again. And though I wanted to quantify or disqualify every single good thing I found (my eyes look better with make-up, my teeth aren’t white enough), below is a list of some things I love about myself.

I have a happy and bright smile.

My eyes are a lovely stormy gray that change color based on many factors.

My shape is beautifully feminine and has supported the life of two.

I give my children the best affection and comforting in the world.

My voices for the characters from storybooks are rocking. As are my Disney melodies.

I take great care and pride in feeding my family home cooked and nourishing meals.

I am hand-freaking-sewing a quilt and it will be stunning.

I can make the hair stand on the back of my husband’s neck after eight years of marriage.

I do NOT make this list in vain–and honestly, I wish my list was longer. But dear, sweet reader–I want you to go look in the mirror. Or look into yourself. And I want you to share something beautiful about yourself. If you don’t want to leave your name, make one up in the comment form below.

But I implore you. I dare  you. I urge you. 

Share something that makes YOU happy about YOU.

 

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59 Responses to “Find Your Beauty”

  1. I think this is something a lot of people, especially women, struggle with. It’s taken me a while but I’ve finally come to realize that life is so much better if you see the positive in things. It’s not easy to change your thinking but, once you do, it comes naturally.

    I rarely look in the mirror because, although I try to look my best, it really doesn’t matter how I look. I am a loving wife, mother, and daughter. I am loyal to my friends and family. I am organized and hard working. I love to laugh.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your good, Kathy. I only know you through this realm, but I do know you to be such a wonderful and kind and thoughtful friend. And yes–the natural positivism is something I’m always striving for.

  2. I think everything you said in paragraph 3 is NORMAL and people that don’t admit to stuff like that or pretend their lives are perfect aren’t being quite honest :) Congrats on your honesty! And, I do all those things too! I’ll add one more item to your “good” list – you write an awesome blog! How many mothers make time to do that?!

    • Thanks for your sweet words Sarah. And I hope that you’ll tell yourself something good about YOU today! (and every day)

  3. Oh gosh, it’s so easy to beat yourself up, isn’t it? This is a great reminder to stop the running negative inner commentary and to find the positive–every single day. Here goes: I try to be kind and supportive (though I often fail), I’m proud that I’ve been 100% self-employed for 30 years, I’m a damn good cook, and I’m a skilled knitter and lacer. I have a sense of adventure and a good sense of humor.

    • Thanks for sharing your good Candace. I’ll also add creative photographer with an excellent eye. I love seeing your photographs and the world through your lens!

  4. Great post! We do focus on the negative too much.

    Let’s see. I am a good mother, which I know because I can see me through Evan’s eyes, even when I doubt it. I’ve stuck with ballet for nearly 30 years and that’s something no matter how good I am. I have fantastic legs. ;) I am funny. I am a good friend. And I try to be kind.

    • Isn’t it amazing what you can see through your child’s eyes? Even when I start feeling negative towards my appearance I stop and think about how my husband sees me. I think those things can show us so much about who we truly are. Thanks for sharing your good Michelle!

  5. Farin

    I love this post. So much. I think this is something we all struggle with, and it’s so much easier to latch on to the negative — I’ve definitely been giving in to self-doubt more and more lately. So, good things. I make people laugh. I’m trusted. I take care of myself and my dog. I have a healthy body that lets me walk for miles. I have a burning curiosity to see other places and cultures.

    • Love your good Farin and I’m so glad that you shared it. I love your hair and you look great in red lipstick. And being able to make people laugh is the best.

      • Farin

        Well, to pay it forward, you have one of the loveliest smiles, and you’ve passed it down to your girls!

  6. I was reading your post this morning while having my coffee, right before getting ready for work, when I usually spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking of what I can hide/cover, etc and even sometimes end up saying: well this is the best it will get so…
    But not today, today I started getting ready and noticed how shinny my hair was and I smiled; with this all the good thoughts came, just with a smile, isn’t it funny? I am smart, I am a good planner, I am loved and I have people that I can count on. I have a bf that thinks I am the most amazing woman in the world, and you know what? today I feel pretty amazing. Thank you Trish for making me start my day this way :D

    • Oh Caro. I read your comment while I was sitting in my car after I dropped off my girls and I started crying and crying. In a good way. And now I’m misty again. LOL! I hope you have such a beautiful day.

  7. Trish, I know the feeling. There are days when I look in the mirror and see the start of wrinkles, acne I can’t get rid of, and flab everywhere. Then there are the non-physical things I’m not happy about: finances, relationships, the feeling that I’m not using my potential. . . Ack! You’re right, it’s so easy to get lost in the things we’re not happy about. Instead of thinking about those things, I’m going to tell you one thing I love about myself: the fact that I decided to do something really hard like homeschooling even though I knew financially it would break me. I keep doing it because it’s important to me that my kids get the chance to use all of their potential.

    • Oh Natasha–thank you for sharing. Sacrifice is definitely something that can be beautiful and good, even if it’s hard and tough in the time being. Your children are blessed with your love. xo

  8. You do have such a wonderful smile. I love seeing your pics because of it. :) And yeah you’re hand freaking sewing a quilt!

    Thanks for this post. My brother is getting married in New York in a week and a half (!), and my goal was to lose at least 20 pounds. I don’t think I lost one – even after 6 days a week of P90x, cutting out sugar and soda for 30 days, etc., etc. And in the last two weeks I’ve been bad because of it and have felt awful about myself. So here goes…

    I don’t have a great smile, but I do love my lips. And even though it’s large…I do have a great ass. *smiles* (BUT SEE! I even had to qualify those. I’ll practice, I promise.

    • Sweet girl. Let’s try this again. You have great lips. You have a great ass. Repeat it 10 times and then laugh at yourself because those things are true.

  9. I am my own worst critic even on a good day. Some of that is normal, of course, but for some of us it can take us too a very dark place. It’s especially easy when you start noticing the bad to keep on noticing the bad. It’s one of the biggest struggles I had with my depression. I’d do one wrong thing and suddenly everything I ever did wrong and everything I don’t like about myself would follow. It’s hard to get out of that once the cycle is set in motion.

    I attended a lecture this past summer that got mostly bad reviews from those who attended, but I came away with an exercise that I’ve found quite useful in helping me deal with negative thoughts about myself. I was kind of doing it before, a coping mechanism that helped me avoid going down that spiral into hating myself completely, but this new technique added a physical component that, at least for me, has helped me be stronger in letting go of the negative and allowing in the positive. It’s probably silly to most others, but it has worked for me.

    I’m in a much better place than I was–and my grievances are much more on a normal scale now–some days I look in the mirror and I hate what I see (look at those dark circles under my eyes or is that a frown line I see on my forehead?), but other days I let myself gaze upon my reflection a little longer–what beautiful eyes I have, I think, or wow, my skin looks good. I think it’s important we cut ourselves some slack now and then and we take time to compliment ourselves. Life is hard enough as it is. We need to be kind to ourselves, and take care of ourselves.

    • Oh Wendy. I know about that dark spiral and it’s the worst. So hard to come back up and see the light. I would be interested in knowing more about the exercise if you don’t mind sharing. It is important to be kind to ourselves–especially with little ones around. I don’t want Elle to see me beating myself up and while I don’t have to be perfect, I want her to know that she’s beautiful without wearing makeup or wearing jewelry–just being who she is. We are constantly teaching our little ones, even when we don’t realize it. You are a wonderful mother to a beautiful and curious and smart daughter.

  10. Oh Trish. I love this post, I really appreciate your honesty, and your bravery in talking about something I’m sure everyone struggles with. I’m really good at being negative, so I often try to remind myself to focus on the positive and to find the good in everything (including myself, which is the hardest). I find that some days are worse than others.
    Today, I’m happy with my skin, which I think is in good condition and makes me look younger. I like that my body is flexible so that I can really go for it in yoga. I like that I take great pleasure in eating (and cooking) delicious food. And one of my favourite things about myself is that I can entertain myself and others by making up some pretty awesome stories about people, stuffed animals, or the ducks on the Oxford canal.
    Oh and if you are looking to add one more thing to your list, one thing I like about you is the enthusiasm with which you take on new projects.

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Maria! I’ll also add your photography of Oxford–there have been many times when you’ve taken my breath away by your beautiful shots. I’m glad that you were able to share your good things–and you’re right that it goes being our selves to find the good in everything!

  11. I love this, Trish!! Hmm … what makes me happy about me? I love that I will say I love you to my little boy about a thousand times a day … I love that I care about what my family eats and will lovingly create homemade meals every night … I love that my body made a child and carried it for nine months … Sure, things might not look perfect, but this is a vessel that was created just for me and it’s amazing that something like that exists!

    • So many great things Kristilyn–and the love that you have for your little boy is so apparent and it’s so fun to watch. I’m so glad to have connected with you over the past years!

  12. Such a great post. I have been dealing with depression lately so it can be hard to see the good. I actually looked in the mirror last night and was sad at what I saw. An unhappy person. So I have really been trying to work on getting back to being positive. I don’t have kids and have never wanted kids. So sometimes that bothers me too. I agree with social media making everyone’s lives seem perfect. Prior to this bought of anxiety/depression I would post stuff on facebook… “look at me, I have a fabulous life.” Then when things went down I just didn’t post anymore. Now I look around and think “are their lives perfect”? Now I just skim really fast through facebook. Even when I get over this bought I’m not going to go on facebook anymore and post about every little thing I’m doing.

    Sooo… what can I say about myself today? I try to be a good friend. I am working hard against depression and anxiety daily. I am a good mama to my cats.

  13. An amazing post and how great that you were able take a negative moment and turn it into something so positive. I think we all do that post shower mirror look and it’s never fun. While I’ve never met you in person I will you tell you that in blog form you come off as smart, funny and kind. Someone who’d be good company.

    I definitely need to think of a list so I can remind myself next time I’m beating myself up for those extra 10 pounds!

  14. Ti

    I love that I can laugh at myself. If I didn’t have a sense of humor, I’d be in the mental ward.

    I think women in general are too hard on themselves. It’s an age thing too, I think. As I get older, there is more stuff going wrong but I tend to care less about it so it all works out! Plus, my eyesight isn’t as good so that helps.

    In grade school they have you write compliments about each person in class and then on their birthday, they get a jar full of compliments. I love that idea. My daughter still laughs at the stuff they said about her.

  15. Sometimes it seems easier to find the bad then the good huh? Once in high school, the most popular girl in school told me she was jealous of me. Me, the lonely geek in the corner! I asked her why and she told me that I was tall, some she wasn’t. Here I was envying her and she envied me. I’ve never forgotten that. I try to remember it anytime I envy someone else. Sadly most people aren’t happy.

  16. What a great post! A lot of the positives you listed are things I was thinking of as I read the first part of your post, by the way. :)

    I like my hair even though I wear it the same way every.single.day. I’m cool with that. ;) I like that I smile and laugh very easily. And I like that, as a parent, I give C a lot of freedom to be herself even when she does things differently than I would.

  17. This was a beautiful post Trish. I admire you. Women, in general are much too hard on themselves (me included) and there is so much focus on image and staying youthful for women.

    I’m old enough to be your mom:), but have a pretty smile and a youthful face, yet I focus on my face & neck creases often. My daughter is my biggest fan and always tell me how much older her friends mom’s who are my age look:0

    Thank you for making us women refocus on the good.

  18. I just want to give you the biggest squeeze after reading this! Thanks for the reminder to be honest about things that MATTER. Do my wrinkles and wobbly bits bother me? Yes. Do they matter in the long run? NOPE. What matters is that I’m curious, I’m eager to learn, I’m open minded, I love my husband, I’m fiercely proud of my three children, I’m a good sister and daughter and wife and mother and PERSON. My saddle bags could house a small nation but it doesn’t matter one damn bit :D

    Thank you so much for this post!

  19. One day I turned on my Kindle and saw the most beautiful blue eyes looking at me. I mean they were gorgeous. Then I realized I had the Kindle on camera mode and was looking at my own eyes – yup the big nose, large pores, crooked teeth, the start of fine lines they were all there too. You get the idea, but every now and then when I’m feeling bad about myself I think of those eyes.

    Next year after I rebrand my blog I want to spend some time writing about self acceptance.

  20. Oh goodness, this post! Way to hit it out of the park, girl! We all have those days, I can tell you that. I was having the graying hair complex all last week. I feel much better today, as I saw my stylist last night. I’m really quite grateful for hair dye, but more grateful that I noticed just how much I resembled George Washington with my head in foils and a little ponytail last night. A goofy sense of humor never needs a touch-up.

  21. Once again, your amazing willingness to share so personally has opened up a great conversation and made a lot of people feel better about themselves!

    Okay, so my turn. I’ve created a tremendously tight family and helped my kids become great friends. I know this doesn’t happen in a lot of families so I worked hard to make it happen in mine. I make people laugh (once I get to know them well enough to be comfortable with them). I’m smart and I have a lot of common sense.

  22. I read this post earlier today….and the first thing I thought was how sad I am that you first only saw the negatives in your mirror. I admire you so much, as a friend, and mom, and the list goes on.

    Looking for the positives can be hard. I’ve had a poor body image most of my adult life. Overweight and feel unable to control it I control the things I can, and I look for other good things I have.

    I have great hair, wavy or straightened, it’s good hair. I have pretty eyes and a nice smile. I use make up well. I’m a good mom and wife, and I take care of my family. My kids know they can tell me the truth, sometimes it hurts to know their secrets and faults, but I know they share things with me I’d have never told my mom at 16 or 21.

    Thanks for this post…we all have beauty.

  23. You are an incredible person for writing this post. Reading through the comments made me a little misty. I have had so many negative thoughts lately, mostly about my lack of accomplishments in life. Your list helped me think of some of my own good qualities. I am learning to be more selfless everyday. I am also learning to be more patient everyday. I have a great laugh and I love to use it. I have been married seven years and I still like the guy (quite an accomplishment in compromise). Thank you for making me look more closely.

    Also, I kind of want to hear some of your awesome character voices at story time.

  24. Thanks for the chance to try!
    I’m enthusiastic and intensely loyal. I try to be a good writer and a good friend (inspired by E.B. White).

  25. Oh Trish. This post.

    When I read those first couple paragraphs, I just started crying. I just wanted to jump through this screen and hug you and shake you and somehow make you understand that these things are *not* what other people see. I’m not saying that your feelings are not real, mind you. But how we see ourselves can be soooo far from the how others see us. When I think of you, I think smart, I think loving Mama, I think slightly sassy, I think enthusiastic, I think talented quilter, I think silly in the most wonderful way, I think fiercely devoted to her family, and yes, I think beautiful on the outside (though I think that’s the least important of them all). It made me so happy that you looked in that mirror again, with a determination to see the good. ‘Cause good heavens, Trish, there is sooooooooo much good to see!!!

    I don’t like to look in the mirror. It used to be because I hated what I saw, but it’s grown over the past few years to more of a feeling that I don’t care what I see. In a good way, in a way that means I know that’s not at all what matters. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to having my feelings hurt on a daily basis because so many find fat-bashing good fun…but I’m continuing to grow an inner strength that reminds me of how unimportant others’ opinions on my body are.) But what do I like when I look? I actually love the ever-growing collection of gray in my hair; I think it’s kind of pretty and I sure as heck have earned it. I love the lopsided-ness of my face when I smile, because I have a big dimple in my left cheek but none in my right. Outside the mirror, I love that people feel my shoulders are big enough to cry on for even the hardest things. I love that Annie feels she can come to me with *anything* (for this I am so immensely grateful because she’s going through a really rough time right now). I love that I was able to scrounge up the courage to homeschool Annie and Gray because it’s what they needed (and believe me, the idea terrified me!), and that I’ve been able to continually scrounge up the strength to continue. I love my creativity. I love that I strive to do as little damage to this planet and its inhabitants as I can. I love that I’m able to encourage Annie and Gray and Max each to be who they are. I love that I’m still a wonderful partner to Rich after over 27 years of living together, that we’re still best friends, that we’ve still got an awesome sex life, that we make each other better as parents and citizens. I love that I strive for kindness always, even when it’s hard. And I love that after 50 years on this planet, I’m finally learning that perfection is the absolute stupidest thing in the world to strive for.

    *HUGE HUGE HUGS*

  26. We are so hard on ourselves and mostly it is unwarranted! I am so glad that you want to be stop this destructive behavior (especially if we say it out loud). I saw it perpetuated from mother to daughter and was determined not to engage in negative self talk especially in front of my daughter. It was hard, but I did it and now have a 30 year old confident, secure daughter no matter how she looks or feels. It is worth it girlfriend, for the sake of your daughters as well as yourself!
    I have great hair that grows like crazy. After 34 years, I still rock my hubby’s world (and vice versa). I am the best woman, wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, friend and employee that I can be!!

  27. I have a mummy tummy that gives me the blues at times, but it’s covered most of the time. What I love most about myself is the way I take care of my family. It gives me a tremendous amount of joy to cook breakfast every morning for my 16 year old even though he cooks as well as I do. I sing to my granddaughter every single night before bed, and I love it when she asks for one more song. Those may be little things to some, but they’re my big things. They make me smile.

  28. I read this post so early yesterday morning before there were more than a couple of comments, and I tried to think of something to comment on to compliment myself but couldn’t (maybe because I have a cold and was feeling so tired)! I opened my computer again this morning and here are all these affirmative comments to read through! I can see a lot of laugh lines when I look in the mirror and am coming up on 30 years of marriage to someone who thinks I’m beautiful. I have a lot to be happy about! Thanks for the reminder to focus on the good and beautiful without having to pretend that everything is always perfect!

  29. Rae

    It made my day to read that you remember a post I wrote so long ago, that I’d forgotten myself. I even had to wonder if I was the cousin you were talking about. :)
    xoxox
    Love you.

  30. Oh, Trish, your honesty is always inspiring. I’ve been there (so many days I still am there!). It’s a struggle for sure. I took a look in the mirror last week and hardly recognized myself so I started a diet this week. And I’ve lost 5 pounds. I am proud of how hard I’ve worked and the reason I’m trying to lose weight is that I’ve let myself go comepletely and I’m at an unhealthy place and as a mom to a son who needs me I need to take care of myself. And this week I decided to start doing that :) My eyes have always been my favorite feature!

  31. Such a wonderful post and great insight into the minds of women.

    I love my lips and my smile! I am still in awe when I look at my children. They are beautiful!

  32. This post made me tear up! I admire you so much Trish and I love how you’re choosing to turn those bad thoughts into good ones. I am my harshest critic and don’t take time almost EVER to reflect on what’s great about me but this post is so inspiring so here goes. :)

    I am a great leader. I truly care about my employees and show that by helping them succeed and being honest with them when they need to work on something. I treat them with kindness and respect and I know that they love working for me. I love that I am a hard worker and very dedicated to my career. I love that my husband and I have a great marriage after 7 years married and almost 10 years together. I love the color of my eyes. I love that I look younger than I am – I’m 30 and people consistently think I’m 20-25. I am a good friend. I am sarcastic in a funny way and can make people laugh. I love that I’m a fast reader!

  33. I don’t have anything to add here really but did want to chime in that I think this is a great post and that I linked to it today in my Sunday Salon. I’ll be honest that you’ve had a lot of good posts recently so it’s been hard to single out one, but this one…well…was singular. :)

    Something that makes me happy about me? Hmmmm. My smile. It’s hard sometimes, but I try to keep smiling, no matter what.

  34. Great post! Love how you shared your insecurities and then found the positives.

    If I had to rely on the mirror these days (I am very much older than I was when the mirror gave me pleasure…LOL), but what I see from within is that I am, finally, doing what I love and it gives me pleasure. Writing, blogging, reading…and just relaxing.

  35. Wow what an amazing post! Makes me happy and sad at the same time. Its sad that us women look at ourselves that way so frequently. Looking back I feel like it’s so much more so during childrearing years. Now that I’m done with that phase of life, I really feel like I do a lot less self-destroying thoughts. The older I get the more I positive talk myself. It also helps that the 20somethings that I work with at most restaurants consistently think I’m under 30 (I’m 45). Oh youth. I would never want to do my 20s again. I love being a 40something woman.

  36. What a lovely post. I couldn’t agree more. It’s too easy to compare ourselves and not focus on the things we appreciate about ourselves.

    I’m learning to love my laugh lines. They mean I laugh a lot.
    I’m so proud of my body these days too. It’s got lots of lines and marks but it’s carried and cared for two babies. That’s pretty flipping awesome I think.