Dictionary.com defines “pretty” as being pleasing or attractive to the eye, as by delicacy or gracefulness. Such a small word, yet it carries so much weight in society. Whether it is between girls comparing looks or men complimenting women, the word pretty holds an ironic connotation as it should be uplifting but can often times be destructive.
Growing up, I was told I was pretty by relatives, friends of parents, parents of friends, and the list goes on. I mean I think we can all agree that being called pretty by our parents sometimes feel obligatory, even though I know it’s genuine. The more time went on, I started to wonder if being called pretty was out of common courtesy or sincere admiration.
Now that I’m in college, being called pretty is a whole other different ballgame than what it was as a child. Common courtesy is no longer in practice when it comes to complimenting a girl’s looks. If you aren’t pretty, you won’t be told that. Simple fact of life, right?
Well I personally don’t think it is just a simple fact of life. I can personally attest to the very real hardships of women when it comes to comparing physical appearances. “She has longer legs than me. She is so tiny – I wish I were as thin as her. Her hair is so pretty. She is so cute. Wow I wish I had her cheekbones. Look at her body; I want that body. She is just so beautiful, why can’t I look like her?”
While these things might not be shared aloud and nonetheless to the person they’re about, it is a legitimate reality in every girl’s mind. I am all for being confidently beautiful and loving yourself regardless of comparisons and standards, but I think this reality must be acknowledged.
We, as women, constantly seek validation that we are pretty through compliments for men or likes on Instagram or comments on Facebook. I feel this firsthand, and quite frankly, it sucks.
We persistently compare ourselves to those around us, and seek to be thinner or tanner or leaner or just overall prettier. It is no longer about working on ourselves, the central focus has now been shifted to unnecessarily unimaginable feats we want to achieve in terms of outer beauty.
Is it normal? Yes. Should it be? No. Nothing is worse in this world than comparison. No matter how hard you look at other people or strive for their looks or body or anything they have, you will never feel fulfilled because you cannot be them.
What you can be, on the other hand, is yourself. Your beautiful God-created self. Your imperfections are nothing shy of magnificent because they distinguish your uniqueness.
I could go on a spiel about how inner beauty is more important than outer beauty, and while I completely agree, I also agree that sometimes you just need to be confirmed that you are indeed, an outwardly gorgeous person.
While we spend our days talking about the beauties of others, we never realize that others could be, and probably are, talking about our own beauties. There’s two sides to everything, but what matters the most is how you control your side.
Remember that regardless of the number on the scale or the color of your skin, you are unmatchable and you are significant.
Write it on your mirror or set a reminder on your phone. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself that you are more than what you think, and the world cannot tell you differently.
Likes on a picture or compliments from men are nothing but mere materialistic and subjective things that should contribute nothing to your perception of yourself.
Keep your head held high, and keep smiling, beautiful.