Thursday, March 6, 2014

Stop Killing Yourself To Be Pretty


Before I get started, I want you to know that I know some people won’t like this piece. I know some people will consider it “unfair” and “unkind”. I know some people will say the topic is sensitive and no one can really afford to say anything about the matter. I know all of this and I am still going ahead with it. Why? 

The excuses we young women use as crutches to deter us from living up to our potential and having grateful/generous lives are TOO MANY. (Not to mention that Lupita Nyong’o and her confession about not feeling beautiful growing up got the topic back on the social radar.)

Not being “pretty enough” is just another one on the list of socially-approved insecurities. The “pretty” versus “ugly” girl and the “light-skinned” versus “dark-skinned” girl tussle serves as an effective distraction from living in our God-given purposes and creating great vision(s) of impact in our lives and those of others. Truth: Not every woman is considered pretty & not every woman will be.  

Stop killing yourself to be pretty.

There, I said it. I addressed the elephant in the room. Now, what? Has the earth shattered? Have you fallen over and lost your ability to move? Has the world made a proclamation that no one will love you anymore? Huh? Of course not. Not being considered pretty is NOT a death sentence. FYI, you couldn’t have told me that in the past. 

I grew up trying to be pretty. My goodness, it was important to me. In all “fairness”, I will attribute it’s onset to the fact that when I was about 5 or 6 a group of girls(that were my “friends”) taunted me at school attacking my physical features with the most unsavory names in an attempt to make me feel less about myself – it worked. I went into high school just praying to be pretty enough to be part of the popular crowd – yes, I was one of those girls. I didn’t make the group. To be fully honest again, I’d have to attribute that more to the fact that I was painfully shy and barely uttered 75 words between the 10th and 12th grade. Then I moved on to college and I got really confused. I mean, I was getting the “pretty” label from girls and guys like nobody’s business. I reveled in it. Finally! This is what I wanted. I was a pretty girl! Ha. Ha. When I look back on those years now, I have to laugh. I have to laugh at how foolish I was and how much time I wasted holding “pretty” as my trophy. Why? “Pretty” has no appreciating value. 

Pretty fades. Yes, it does. With each passing day, we age. With each passing day, new lines and new wrinkles form. Why are we fighting tooth and nail to acquire something that depreciates anyways? It’s senseless. Pretty didn’t encourage me to pursue a worthy relationship with God. Pretty didn’t make me feel secure in the least bit; I was always worried that I wasn’t pretty enough - imagine. Pretty didn’t help me figure out my God-given purpose. Pretty didn’t help me create/manifest great vision(s) for my life. Pretty didn’t make me a better person to people – and how could it? If I’m so worried about being pretty (it can be a full-time job of its own), what time do I have to dedicate to develop ideas and ways to be of great love and service to people? Pretty got me the affection of some guys and the praise of some women, but what does that do for my life and the life of others I am called to serve? Not a damn thing. 

Stop killing yourself to be pretty.

Pretty is not the gatekeeper of happiness. Pretty is not the gatekeeper of fulfillment. Pretty is not what gives you permission to live greatly and to be of great positive impact in your world.  Pretty is not a requirement for a great life, attractive is. (Look out for my eBook on this in the near future.) Attractive women have undeniable presence. Attractive women are confident as God’s children and they carry themselves accordingly. Attractive women take pride in their appearance but do not eagerly await the applause of others – if they get it, they receive it graciously and move on. Attractive women exercise their minds and spirits by developing skills in their craft and creating value for themselves and others in their life - I recommend reading as part of that. Attractive women live in their God-given purpose. Attractive women smile at others, are kind, compassionate, and generous. Attractive women exude loving energy and grow in love for themselves and others consistently.

Stop killing yourself to be pretty. 

Stop wasting precious energy dueling it out with other women on Facebook or Twitter for the most “you’re so pretty!” comments on your photos. Stop saving money for that plastic surgery you plan to have in two years to reconstruct your nose or augment your breasts. Stop using bleaching cream to lighten your skin in a wasted attempt to look “finer”. Stop begging for the praise and affection of men. (It is embarrassing and we've indulged that one for too long.) Stop making your looks everything. It is as if you don’t realize that God created you in His own image and likeness. It is as if you don’t realize that being His child makes beauty your birthright. Let your ego go. Do not allow anyone’s physical label of you to inhibit YOU from deserving your great life and being filled up with the love, peace, and joy of God. Your significance lies in what you create of value and contribute as a person to your life, the people around you, and the world as a whole. Your significance does not lie in pretty

Stop killing yourself to be pretty. 

Go and be attractive instead. That lasts a lifetime/:

Disclaimer: I’m not saying not to take care of your appearance. Please, shower and comb your hair. Please, feel free to fix your hair (weaves included) and use makeup – I do. I see no problem in being clean and feeling put together. What I am saying is don’t make pretty a live or die affair. Don’t put being pretty above your God-given purpose. Don’t put being pretty above living greatly. Don’t allow pretty to determine how you live your life or how you interact with people. If you receive compliments on your looks, accept it – I do. Just be careful not to base your life on it because not only will it distract you from your God-given purpose, but you will also meet sore disappointment down the road – there is always another pretty girl around the corner. Like my aunt once told me, “All this fight for beauty you girls of this generation involve yourselves in is nonsense. The pretty ones haven’t even been born yet.” Ha. Ha. I love that Nigerian woman/:


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9 comments:

  1. This is just perfect. I love this.

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    1. Thank you notyetcrazy! I'm happy it was useful to you. Are there any specific moments in your life when you have felt controlled by your looks?

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  2. I totally agree with you, to me the most attractive thing a woman can be is confident and this applies to men. Plus as you stated the about of women still looking for validation from a man to show them they beauty and self worth is disturbing.
    I wish women would stop poking at themselves in the mirror and instead focus on WHO they are not what they look like.
    In high school I have the same situation as you, I didn't think I was very pretty but I did get it in college. But I didn't feel pretty...I was not till I started focusing on myself and my needs as a human being emotionally and mentally that I got confidence and then began to feel pretty. It had little to do with the outside and much to do with the inside.

    www.theloveyltwentysomethings.com

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    1. Thank you Nicola. I agree that awaiting the approval of men to accept self-beauty/self-worth is disturbing and is a GROWING epidemic.

      And like you said, true confidence is an "inside job". Focusing on your mental, emotional, and spiritual needs/strengths is the way to grow in self-confidence and understand your true beauty as a person - as a woman.

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  3. I love the distinction between pretty and attractive! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue. It's something many people struggle with and must be addressed!

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    1. You're welcome, Saya! And thank you for your post on converge. Young girls and women need to know that being attractive is a far worthier goal than being pretty. I believe it's an individual responsibility to get the word out because we can't rely on social media or the entertainment industry to do it.

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  4. I totally agree! As a male, I don't care how pretty a girl is, nor do I care about my own physical appearance beyond staying healthy. In my eyes, I see the only reason why we are pretty is for the attraction of mates so we may be happy and continue our species. It is much more important and efficient to believe in God to find your soul mate rather than having good physical appearance, and attract lustful men and women who cannot see past physical appearance. That seems more of a curse to me! Amen to this post :)

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