Do We Have To Be Perfect To Accept Ourselves?
Ed. Note: This essay is part of the series, Accepting the Self: Latinas on Body Image. To enjoy the full series, please read the introduction.
Sadly, I think they would.
There is something about the idea of being physically perfect that makes us think it would bring us happiness. If we were our ideal weight, toned, perfectly breasted and perfectly legged, then our troubles would be over
In my culture, a womanly figure: round, curvaceous and bursting at the seams, is what is prized. I have always been the opposite: boyish in my appearance. Though my mother meant it as only teasing, my tender adolescent ego was bruised often by her comment of “larga, flaca, y amarilla,” when I’d walk by.
We, as women, think that if we were to be our ideal of beauty, that we’d have it all. The reality is that even in states, like California – which has the highest percentage of cosmetic surgeries per year- the rate at which cosmetic procedures are performed there, keeps increasing. The more perfection we can buy, the more we want to keep buying. Seeking beauty can become a bottomless cup that is never filled.
What is it that we want to be able to have, that we think we can buy? It’s happiness with who we are.
We imagine how happy we would be if all we ever wanted to look like, we had. Perfectly beautiful, perfectly happy, right?
Imagine how happy we could be if we appreciated and respected what we looked like now? If what we had now, we saw as perfectly beautiful.
With just a flip in our self perception, we can begin toward having satisfying, contented acceptance.
Even if we were the type to have annual surgeries to tweak this and that, there would always be the want of something more. Something else to work on, be unhappy about, to wish for. Is there a way to ever be fully satisfied?
What if we were to start thinking that we are meant to be, just the way we are? I think about filling out a sheet, where we write down all that is right with us. We have spent so much time noting all the things that are not right with us, I wonder how often we think, “This is what I like about me.”
I know I am guilty of mentally documenting what I see as physical shortcomings. I truly don’t remember the last time I thought to myself, “I really like how curly my hair is.”
There is an instant, inexpensive, safe, and readily available way to like what we see in the mirror: smile at ourselves and and think, “I am who I was made to be.”
Alexandra is a first-generation American raising three boys full time, while she caters part time. She lives with her husband and children in a small Wisconsin town and writes of the sweet and the funny at her humor site, Good Day, Regular People. She is a regular contributor to the Tiki Tiki.