I rarely wear my hair in its natural partly curly, partly wavy, state. I can never rely on how it will turn out. I don’t have the beautiful kind of curls and waves that my sisters have, but I know that when it’s straight, I have other people envy. But this morning, after a night of heavy rainfall, as I felt the texture of my hair, I just knew that 30 minutes with a flat iron would be a waste of time, so I went natural. My hair turned out beautifully, 45 minutes later, as I stood at the bus stop, I touched my hair, and realized that the curls had drooped. I looked like I’d just gotten out of the shower. “Oh well,” I thought, feeling a bit disappointed. It wasn’t surprising, though, as that’s the reason I rarely wear it natural. Add to that, the fact that I didn’t wear make up today, and I was feeling sort of like the day was shot, and all I needed to do was make it through the work hours, head home, and try again tomorrow.
A surprising thing happened. Every co-worker I encountered commented on the cuteness of my hair. They loved the slight waves, while I thought I looked like a stringy, wet mop. Every comment I heard made me think about the new Dove initiative on beauty, which a friend had just turned me onto just last night. I felt as if I was in a weird work version of that video, and though I promised myself that I would not write another post about physical beauty for a while, because I have more posts on that topic than I can count, I had to share.
It’s quite simple, really, the concept that while we pick out the worst (or what we think is the worst) thing about us when describing ourselves, what other people see in us is our beauty. While I only saw stringy hair, my co-workers saw waves. What else, on a day to day basis are other people seeing, while my mind is obsessed with the scars on my face? If I look in the mirror tomorrow morning and focus on the sparkle of life in my amber (yes, I like to call them amber) eyes, will the scars fade into the background? If I look in the mirror and focus on the shape and warmth of my smile, will the gap in my teeth fade too?
While we are constantly taught that self esteem should not be sought through the validation from others, are we dismissing others too quickly? Maybe, when our mirror becomes clouded with self doubt, looking at our reflection through someone else’s clearer eyes is just what we need.
Describe yourself and then have someone else describe you, in written word. Then compare. Is your reflection a little clouded?
I am rarely a brand advocate, but kudos to Dove for a thought-provoking and real beauty initiative. I know that I was changed a little by watching.