I Feel (Un)-Pretty
October 9, 2019
Claire Miles

For most of my life, I felt ugly, not comfortable in my own skin. My insecurity and low self-esteem followed me my entire life. I don’t know what I would have done as a teen in today’s atmosphere. Social media would have been a serious trigger for me. Seeing all those pretty, attractive people having the best time, can push an already insecure person even further. For me, back then, it was Andrea.

Andrea was my best friend since kindergarten. I loved her but never understood what she saw in me that made her like me. See, Andrea was the most beautiful person I ever met and I was crazy jealous of her.

Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, Andrea was also one of the kindest and most brilliant people I knew. She genuinely loved and cared for me, which I never saw. I was too busy being jealous of her. Spending every second of my day wishing I was her. I admired everything she did and everything she was.

Slowly, I started resenting her. I pushed her away from me. I was hateful and mean. She, on her part, tried understanding what went wrong. She didn’t let go easily, but I carried on, losing my one true friend.

It wasn’t until years later that I became more comfortable with my body. It was a long process that required a lot of self-work. Self-love and acceptance come from within, it comes from us. I know it sounds obvious, but it wasn’t an easy task. I used to be very dependent and constantly searched for validation from others. While self-love and feeling of worth need to be a constant state of mind, getting it from outside sources is a fleeting thing. This can break you or lift you, all in a matter of seconds. You need to be comfortable with yourself and know just how much you are valuable.

I admit, I still find myself struggling with it. It is not some chip you can put in your body and will work forever and always. It doesn’t only take hard and continuous work to get to that state of mind, but also to preserve it.

I want to circle back to the beginning of my story. As I wrote, I spent a lot of years wishing I was Andrea. There is this quote by Oscar Wilde that I remind myself from time to time when I’m feeling down: “Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Already Taken.” I feel like all of us need to remember this lesson. We all have our purpose, we are all different. Our unique features are the ones that make us beautiful. It is easier said than done, I know, but we cannot spend our time on self-hate and doubt.

Not too long ago, I met Andrea at a class reunion. To my surprise, she couldn’t have been happier to see me. When I met her, I repeatedly apologized for my behavior and explained to her where it all came from. She seemed very surprised to hear what I said. What was so shocking to me was her reaction. She told me that all these years she was actually jealous of me. She said that she always thought I was smarter than her and got along with people better. She told me that she also had a bad time coming into her own and gaining confidence. We got back in touch and we now talk once in a while.

So, in conclusion, if you find yourself struggling with this matter, take my advice. Practice self-love and learn just how much you are valuable. To me, you are all beautiful.

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