More Body Image & Eating Disorders Blogs
- Who's Looking Back at YOU in the Mirror?
- Speak out on Gratitude
- Body Image - Speak Out On the MEDIA
- Speak Out on Body Image
- Secret Dieting - What if your period stops?
- When Joking Isn't Funny
- My Legs Are TOO SHORT
- Junk Food Makes Me Feel GUILTY!
- Winning Against an Eating Disorder - true story
- We hate being JUDGED, ...but do WE do it too?
- HELP! My Friend thinks she is FAT!
- Just Tired and Sad? Or is it Depression?
- Do I look FAT today?
- Body Image + Eating Disorders - It hurts the whole family...
- Dealing with Being Teased
- Is losing weight the answer?
- I Want to Be Pretty Too
February 2009 Blogs
I Want to Be Pretty Too
BODY IMAGE & EATING DISORDERS, February 2009, by Jen Charbonneau
I want to be 'pretty' too.
This question isn't really about eating disorders, but it is about body image. I'm not fat or overweight, IF you look at me by myself. But when you put me beside my sister, who is just about perfect in every way, then I don't feel so great anymore. I always hear "well, you are so nice and funny and you have a great personality". Fine, but to me that means you're not pretty so we have to focus on other things. I want to hear that I'm pretty too, and not just from my Mom! My sister is just sooo pretty that we get compared. It's like, you know Darlene, the pretty one. And I'm just Shauna.
~ signed, 'just Shauna', 14, Beamsville
Dear Shauna, I hear what you’re saying loud and clear. Every girl wants to be herself. Thank you for bringing this comparison issue to everyone’s attention!
Comparing is so common in our society. We compare makes and models of cars, students compare teachers and subjects or one hot guy with another…:o)
We compare prices at one store to prices at another. When we compare, ultimately we are looking for faults in one and bonuses in the other. Comparison shopping is one thing but you are right, comparing people can be very upsetting.
When we were babies, it was natural for parents / grandparents / family / friends to look for similarities between the brand-new infant and our siblings so that everyone felt like we were a part of the family. However, as we grow up, comparison with others does nothing to boost our self esteem and is far more hazardous than helpful.
Did you know that within 3 minutes of flipping through the pages of a fashion magazine, 70% of females feel inadequate? That’s because we are comparing our complexion, our hair, our teeth, our bodies, and the list goes on... with the flawlessness before us.
When we compare ourselves to others, we find what we perceive to be our flaws, no matter how perfect others think we are. I agree, it’s really nice to hear something like “you are really pretty” from someone else. It seems to make us feel good about ourselves. But Shauna, no matter what positive things others say to us, if we don’t believe it ourselves, then that warm and fuzzy feeling will ALWAYS be temporary. In the end, it’s what you feel about yourself that has that lasting effect.
I encourage you to have a chat with your sister about this. In my work, I’ve learned that sometimes women and girls who are sooooo pretty feel like others are only interested in them for their looks. Like most of us, they want to be appreciated for their personality and feelings. Sometimes they feel when people are overly focused on the way they look, it makes it hard for them to value themselves based on more than just their appearance. You might be surprised by how your sister is feeling too.
When we live in a world where comparison is as normal as brushing your teeth, it’s extremely difficult for people not to get caught up in it. I encourage you to be original and creative and unique. I bet you are a complete package Shauna, with personality, charm and beauty. Sometimes we look too hard to see what’s staring us right in the eyes. Like I said before, when we can look in the mirror and think we are pretty, then compliments (or lack of compliments) from others won’t make or break the way we feel about ourselves. You are not “just Shauna” and will never be “just Shauna” as long as YOU see yourself as much, much more!