During my final semester of my senior year in college I took a group psychology class. The first night of class we had to introduce ourselves to the person sitting next to us. We were supposed to describe ourselves.

I really didn’t know who I was. How was I supposed to describe myself? So I used the words I’d heard from my recent ex-boyfriend. “My eyes are cat shit gray. My teeth look like horses teeth.”

The man across from me looked surprised and informed me that my eyes were actually a beautiful blue. Hmmm… Really?

Over the years I’ve learned two things: My eyes are blue and I’m not the only woman who doesn’t always see her beauty. I once had a call from a potential massage client. Her main concern was that “she was fat and therefore embarrassed to have someone touch her.” I was shocked when she arrived, as she was a very normal weight.

How Do You See Yourself?

Dove, as part of their “real beauty campaign,” recently hired a criminal sketch artist. He drew woman based on their self-description and then a second time based on a description from a stranger.

The results were stunning. Women definitely see themselves differently than strangers do. If you haven’t watched the video I highly recommend it. Kudos to Dove and the brilliance of the Ogilvy ad agency for graphically showing how distorted our view of ourselves is.


The Cost of Self-loathing

All this self-loathing (or even mild self dislike) comes with a price. I think it’s one of the main reasons women don’t always honor their need for self-care. Seeing your own beauty IS self-love. And self-love = self-care. When you love yourself you’re more likely to nurture yourself regularly.

The “I’m flawed” thing also effects women’s willingness to live their purpose. After all if you’re “butt ugly” shouldn’t you just stay inside and not afflict the world. Maybe you’re pretty sure that if you were to show up in a big way people would spend more time talking about your saggy breasts or too big tummy or slightly crooked nose than listening to your message.

If you’re not that beautiful (read valuable) then doesn’t it make sense that you’re less likely to believe in your purpose, your ability, and worthiness? That’s how it worked for me anyway.

I’ve done a lot of self-healing since that college class. While I’d still probably end up with a less attractive self-portrait than one by a stranger I see my beauty and that allows me to show up in the world to do my work.

How about you? Have you struggled with the same issues?

And now for a laugh… watch this parody. Funny stuff.