I Hate This Photo!

That’s what I think when I see it. Why? Because I see things in it that I consider flaws. But other people that have seen it always say “Oh that’s a nice photo.” Why do I see something totally different?

That’s what we do; women in particular. We are so hard on ourselves and rarely celebrate our unique beauty. I have worked in the beauty industry for decades, and I have never met a female client, co-worker, or friend for that matter that has not expressed to me something that they would like to change about themselves. We as women will even sit around and collectively talk about our “personal flaws.” Why do we do that?

At first, I was going to tell you everything that I think is totally hideous about me in this photo, but I’ve decided not to do that because it serves me no purpose. But that’s what we do, isn’t it? We say things like “my forehead is too big, my face is too fat, my stomach is not flat, the circles under my eyes are too dark, my teeth aren’t white enough, I have too many stretch marksā€¦” and the list goes on and on.

I think a big part of women being so hard on themselves in this day and age is the media. A large part of running a salon is having enough visuals for the clients to see examples of possible hairstyles and make-up. Having a variety of print magazines is very helpful. But magazines are very deceptive, and the pictures we see of models in articles and ads are illusions.

This gives us a false sense of what we could or should look like. I remember watching an old talk show hosted by supermodel Tyra Banks. She was very concerned about the visuals that women get today in magazines and on billboards. She put up the photo of one of her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Cover on a big screen. She looked absolutely stunning. Smooth cocoa brown skin, flat stomach, perfect Coca-Cola bottle shape, and perky breasts. Then she slowly faded in the actual photo. Her skin grew stretch marks, her flat stomach grew a pouch, her body shape became wider, and her perky breasts headed south. The flawless woman in the previous photo was all thanks to Photoshop.

I’ll never forget what she said, “See this picture right here, even I don’t look like that!” It bothered her that women are starving themselves, wanting plastic surgery, and paying endless amounts of money to look like the pictures of women that we see, when the models themselves don’t even look like that. We have to stop the madness.

I recently talked to a young man about what makes a woman beautiful to him, and what did he think about models that he sees in publications like Sports Illustrated? His answer was not what I expected. This is what he saidā€¦”There are many things about a woman I think are beautiful, but the main thing is that she is happy. You know, a happy person in generalā€¦about herself and her life. It makes me kinda uncomfortable when a woman talks about what she thinks is wrong with her. I mean, I went over to her and wanted to talk to her, so obviously I thought she was attractive and someone I’d like to know better, but when after a few dates she starts talking about how she needs to lose some weight, or her hair ain’t right, or whatever, it’s a real turn off. As far as models in magazines go, most men know that’s just fantasy. I ain’t never seen no real women look like that. They are all probably plastic or Photoshopped.”

Now I’m not saying that I’m trying to look like models in magazines, but when I look at myself in the mirror, my first thoughts are mostly negative. Instead of saying “hey beautiful,” I look at the image staring back at me and immediately find something that I think needs to be improved. Can I get a witness?

The Bible says “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man.” (Matt 15:18 KJV) Some may interpret this as foul language or criminal thoughts, but it’s more than that. When we think negatively about ourselves we speak on it, and when we speak it, others pick up on it and causes us to be less confident and powerful the way God truly created us to be.

There’s nothing wrong with being the best you can be, just don’t forget to love who you are in the process. We are always looking ahead to the “I’ll be happy whenā€¦,” instead of “look how beautiful my _____ is, wow I’m gorgeous!” Know that you are unique and a true work of art. King David of the Bible said, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Ps 139:14 NKJV)

King David was on to something here. Just think about it, he knew that what God has created is wonderfully made because His works are so marvelous. Even though in the natural, at first glace of David, that would not have been the first thing that comes to mind. You see David was short, a shepherd boy didn’t look like much of a threat. But he took on a giant that everyone was afraid of and won. He could have thought “I’m not that tall, and just a shepherd, I can’t possibly do this, I’ll get myself killed.” But just the fact of David knowing who he was and how fearfully and wonderfully he was made gave him the confidence and power to take on the giant that was in front of him. Even in his older years, he continued to hold on to that by saying “And that my soul knows very well.”

Let’s take a lesson from David and continue to meditate on how special we really are. Be the queens God created us to be on the earth. Love who you are no matter if you’re short or tall, curvy or straight, old or young. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Tell yourself that every day, because it’s true!

3 thoughts on “I Hate This Photo!”

  1. Amen sister, those are powerful words. More women need to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Make some ones day, pay them a compliment.

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