I know sooooo many girls who suffer from poor body image and/or low self-esteem who engage in a multitude of self-deprecating behaviors. Some of these are obvious statements- 'this dress makes me look so fat!'... 'Nobody wants to listen to me, anyway!' and others are observed- girls who stay in physically or emotionally abusive relationships because they don't think they'll find anyone better or worse, that that's what they deserve. Girls who wear tons of makeup or dress provocatively so that someone will notice them. Girls who act wild and crazy so they'll be fun to be around.
There's a fantastic book I just discovered called "How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: the Art of Living With Style, Class and Grace" by Jordan Christy. The title pretty much says it all- and it's filled with tips on how to present yourself in a tasteful manner, with traditional standards and elegance, in a modern setting. However, sometimes becoming poised takes something more than values and rules- confidence.
As soon as we are out of the womb we are inundated with expectations from society, from our peers, from our parents. There is a definite way to succeed- and it's hardly ever attainable. There's always someone cooler, prettier, smarter, neater, healthier, nicer than you, and even if you excelled in every area, you'd be plagued with doubts about whether it's good enough. Whether you're good enough. Good enough for what? Good enough for who?
I can only speak from experience, and mine is limited. Relationships have brought for me the first taste of unconditional love. Having someone fall for you, see who you are- blemishes, faults, bad habits and all- and still care so deeply for you that it doesn't matter. It's an amazingly freeing thing- you get to be yourself completely... or do you?
I've been realizing lately that all that time I was in a relationship where I thought I was finally accepted, I still hadn't accepted myself. I wondered, 'how can he really love me? I'm not very cool/pretty/smart/neat/healthy/nice'.
Okay, breakup happened. I felt terrible about what had happened, and everything about myself that must have caused him to leave, to get tired of me. And I don't know exactly what transpired, but you know what? It didn't really matter. I had been left to my own devices, and though frightened by what I might see, I began to scrutinize myself more closely, by my own standards and no one else's.
And what I see is definitely salvageable. There's a lot of things I like about myself, and quite a few things I detest- but those are all changeable. I'd like to lose weight? Exercise more, eat less. Feel lonely? Call a friend! Wish I were smarter? Pick something I'd like to learn about and do self-directed research! Wish I looked nicer? Try a different clothing or hairstyle, just for fun.
Developing oneself is a great way to pass time... and also a way to regain confidence and improve self-image. What concerns me, however, are the number of girls who still feel necessary to play the dependent 'damsel in distress'... thinking that if they are too self-sufficient no guy will be interested because he isn't 'needed'? Ew...
I am a firm believer that the one you love should not be your 'better half' or 'complete you' or 'make you whole'. I think it is important to BE whole (or have a good idea of who you are!) and then that special someone should enhance it, add to it. And hopefully being the best you YOU can be, you will attract someone who is doing the same, being themselves to the best of their ability, living to their potential!