I’ve wasted far too much time crying in front of the mirror. I wonder if I will ever love myself, wishing that I were anyone else. I’ve meticulously inspected every inch of my body, relentlessly criticizing myself for my perceived flaws. But I’m slowly learning that beauty has always belonged to me, recognizing that I am a wellspring of radiance and joy — inherently beautiful despite my deepest doubts.
I am slowly discovering the beauty that others see in me.
I’ve begun to embrace my bright smile, my delicate legs, the warmth in my eyes, the way my hair flows spontaneously, wildly — the very way I aspire to be. I listen as loved ones reassure me in my darkest moments — I am strong and graceful and relentlessly warm, beautiful from the inside out. I’m learning to believe — to truly believe — that the image the world sees is not a lie, an act of schadenfreude friends and strangers alike perpetuate. My beauty is my truth.
I am slowly realizing that my beauty radiates from within.
I’ve found that true beauty lies in the way I smile freely, the moments my eyes shine in the light as I grow passionate, the way I seem to dance through life, uninhibited and joyous. I recognize that my deep empathy, my ability to draw people into me and be their refuge, my unwavering belief in others makes me far more beautiful than any physical attribute ever will. I’m learning to see that beauty is not contained in a number, a measurement, a superfluous metric for which to strive. My beauty is internal.
I am slowly accepting that beauty is my birthright.
I’ve discovered that my beauty began with life itself and followed me through every stage, though I berated myself for feeling like I would never be beautiful enough. I rejoice in the innate beauty of others. And I heed their reminders that I am no exception to the laws of nature, that I too have been beautiful since birth. I’m beginning to recognize that despite my pervasive doubts, I have always been and will forever remain beautiful. My beauty is innate.
I still spend hours in front of the mirror. I scrutinize every inch of my body, wondering if I will ever love myself. But now, the fog of my perception fades away, and I see myself clearly — my bright eyes, my soft hair, my radiant smile, my pure heart — because I am slowly learning that beauty has always belonged to me.
Previously published on Thought Catalog.