Will I Ever Be Beautiful?

I know I posses attractive qualities. I’m fairly smart, well-spoken and nice. And while I’m not funny when I try to be, I’m cute and giggle a lot. I have a sweet smile and disposition, and I wear my feelings on my sleeve. That being said, why is it so hard to believe I’m lovable?

My dating life has been good for the most part. Even in my relationships that have ended poorly, I recognize good things that occured during those periods. In one relationship I fell in love with Pearl Jam. As a result of another I began to appreciate and understand golf (even though I didn’t acquire skills to play well. Ha…) And in another relationship I learned how to make spanakopita and that who I am today is as important as who I want to someday be. I’ve grown…I’ve changed, and I’ve loved with my whole heart – even in times in which that love was not fully returned.

So why is it so difficult to believe that someone awesome could be attracted to me now? Why am I so emotionally needy? How hard can it possibly be to accept that someone likes me just as I am today – flaws included?

I liked a guy…and he liked me too. And a few days ago a dear friend asked me what I disliked about him, and I immediately said “he tells me I’m beautiful all the time.” My lovely friend, who looked at me like I was insane, asked how that could possibly be a problem. And I didn’t know how to answer her. After a few minutes I jokingly came to the conclusion that something must be wrong with him. I mean, how could such a catch meet me, get to know me, see me after a sweaty workout at the gym and still think I’m beautiful?

It’s sad, isn’t it? Obviously, his attraction to me is a good thing. And it’s certainly fun to hear that he thinks I’m pretty and desirable. He’s very tall and possesses All-American features. He’s strong and lean and well-educated, and he’s nice to me. He knows that I struggle with my body image, and he is working to help me undo damage that was caused long before he entered the picture.

We have eaten great sushi together, worked out together, watched football and enjoyed karaoke together. We’ve had fun. But I wish I knew how to let go of the ridiculous insecurities I face. I wish I didn’t feel the need to speak to him every night before bed or worry that if he doesn’t call it’s because he’s with someone he likes better. I mean, give me a break Self! If he thought I was overweight and unattractive he just wouldn’t have asked me out. And he certainly wouldn’t do the things he does. (Another note to self: come on kid… use a little common sense.)

My body is changing. It’s much smaller than it was at this time last year, but will there ever be a day in which it’s easy to believe I’m pretty? Will I ever look in the mirror and say “damn girl…you’re looking good” and mean it? Will there ever be a day in which this cool, confident man compliments me without my brain arguing with him silently? I would imagine that those feelings of total self-love and acceptance won’t come from a number on the scale or a size small shirt…nor will they come from the man who tells me I’m beautiful even as I fight it.

Instead, I’m willing to bet that this is one of those things that will come from within. That feeling will exist when I recognize that I’m worthy and desirable. So how do I get to that mental place and stay there? I feel it once in a while, but not often enough. If you know, please enlighten me because I would love to adopt a healthier body image. In the last year or so, I’ve gone from feeling like the biggest, ugliest troll in existence to feeling cute sometimes, but how can total self-love become my new norm? When will confidence on the inside and the outside become my new default setting?

In my heart, I know I’m lovable. I give it freely, but my brain fights to accept it. My mind struggles with insecurities. But as I move forward on weight-loss journey, I’ll continue to tell myself that I’m beautiful…that I’m attractive and desirable. And perhaps one day this truth will click. Perhaps one day my brain will accept the rest of me. In the mean time, I’ll continue shaping my relationship with food and stealing glances of my smaller frame in the gym’s giant mirrors. I like looking at myself as I workout, and that’s weird, I know…but maybe it’s a start…

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36 Comments

  • Reply
    Nikke Brown
    October 29, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I have the same feelings.
    I was MUCH heavier than I am now and still struggling with my weight.
    My problem is, my husband tells me I'm beautiful all the time, but my brain tells me he is lying.
    I just can't accept someone calling me beautiful.

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  • Reply
    Shane G.
    October 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Us guys, we have a gene that makes us believe we are hot even when we aren't, so I am not going to be a lot of help!! But seriously, I can tell you this. If this guy tells you that you are beautiful like all the time, then you are worrying for no reason whatsoever. And the truth is, I have seen your pictures and you are beautiful! That being said I get you. I have trouble even when my wife, who I know finds me attractive, tells me that I am cute or hot or whatever. I just don't think I am. It is just years of you knowing that you were too fat and beating yourself up for not doing the things to fix it sticking around. It is residual. I mean I have seen girls that were hot in high school still think they are hot, when in reality, yeah, you don't have that card sister. It goes both ways. The key is exactly what you are doing , keep looking and realizing those changes are going on, keep reaffirming your new image, accepting it and loving it. I look in the mirror everytime I pass it in the dining room and and my loss is starting to sink in sometimes. More than before I am accepting that my belly is flattening out, I am getting definition in my arms, my double chin is gone…. I just keep on looking and reaffirming these changes are real, and accepting that I am more attractive to me, and that is what counts.

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  • Reply
    MizFit
    October 29, 2010 at 9:39 am

    for me this is key.

    In my heart, I know I'm lovable.

    because when you really know it and own it…when *I* finally knew it and OWNED IT FROM MY CORE slowly all else fell into place.

    yes slowly 🙂 but it fell.

    xo xo

    MizFit

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  • Reply
    The Monkey and Me
    October 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

    please watch this Kenz – you are beautiful – and so much more than just that.

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  • Reply
    zedramaqueen
    October 29, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I believe that this is a struggle for most of us. You're not alone! We are programmed to see our flaws. I take pictures of myself and immediately see the smile that's been crooked since I fell off my bike. I despair because my body is fruit shaped – not a lovely pear but a corpulent honeydew! And I've spent more time worrying that someday my husband will view me and realize just how repulsed he is by me. I said something about this a while back…or for the thousandth time…and he said, "You don't see yourself the way I see you." And he's right. I see all of the wrong things, while he sees the whole package. In fact, he was worried when I lost weight because he thought I was seeing someone else! Our mindsets take a long time to change. The fact that you're looking in the mirror in the gym is a great start. Remember that God made you in His image, and you are working to make that image the healthiest it can be so you can do His work more efficiently. The rest is fat-free gravy! 🙂

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  • Reply
    Stacy
    October 29, 2010 at 11:01 am

    My husband did that while we were dating and he still does. I know what you mean. It used to get on my nerves. I would unconciously roll my eyes when he'd say it after awhile. We've been married for about a year and a half now. It doesn't get on my nerves anymore. It's nice. I'm starting to believe that even if I don't see myself as beautiful, if the whole world doesn't see me as beautiful, that he does 🙂

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  • Reply
    Tammy
    October 29, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I have the opposite problem — my husband rarely tells me I'm pretty. He's quick to compliment any of our female friends, though. So, I don't know if he just takes for granted that I'm going to be well-dressed, have my makeup on and do my hair, so he doesn't feel the need to mention it. I will say that he does tend to look at the world from the negative side (think Eeyore), so maybe saying nothing IS a compliment. Anyway, YOU are beautiful, and your brain will eventually recognize it!!!

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  • Reply
    Annaleah
    October 29, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Kenz, you are so not alone. I struggle with the same things, which probably contributes to my overeating most of the time. This is a really good topic; one that I will follow but, unfortunately, have no answers to. I know it relates to self esteem and self acceptance, but I haven't found a real way to do that either. Even after 15 years of marriage, if my husband calls me beautiful, it takes all I have not to roll my eyes or say something sarcastic.

    Step 1: Learn to smile and say Thank you. 🙂

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  • Reply
    Beth
    October 29, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I know how you feel too. My husband is the tall, thin, handsome type. I could never understand why he picked ME. An average height, overweight girl who is lazy about clothes and makeup (well, was, that's been changing lately as I lose weight).
    He is constantly telling me how beautiful I am and I makes me uncomfortable.
    One day we were chatting and he said 'no offense, but I didn't marry you for how you look'.
    Sounds strange out of context, but he is right. He married ME, not my looks.
    I hope I can start to feel the same way about myself though. I'd like to believe him when he tells me. We've been together for 10 years.

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  • Reply
    Reem
    October 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    wow, my feelings exactly, except that my ex used to tell me i am beautiful and then not feel attracted to me physically.. and I was much smaller than what I am now. It's hard to get compliment from guys now- if I will ever get one- in my country , so I will have to rely completely on myself to feel pretty with no compliments to prove it. It's hard to do that all the time, but I think feeling it even if once in a while is a good thing. I might not be making sense, sorry I blame it on the language lol.. But good luck in feeling better about yourself all the time, cuz u r pretty and deserve it. we all do.

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  • Reply
    Drazil
    October 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Rambo has always told me I was beautiful – from the moment I met him and I never believed him…and while that was MY problem…it soon became his. Imagine how the giver feels taking the risk of saying it – and the givee refuses to believe. It's sort of like calling the giver a liar right? And Rambo wasn't lying – he believed it. And though maybe my own eyes couldn't see it at first – I learned to see what HE was seeing. And he truly saw beauty from a place or love or he wouldn't have said it. And slowly – I started to see it too and believe. I hope you can too.

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  • Reply
    Kati
    October 29, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Perhaps you could start by telling yourself that you are beautiful, and then learn to accept that this lucky guy thinks so too! Because you ARE beautiful, strong, and brave and you deserve the happiness that comes from being told how beautiful and amazing you are. Oh, and btw…I have awarded you with a Versatile Blogger Award 🙂

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  • Reply
    Sarah R
    October 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I can echo everyone else here. I started dating my husband when I was a mere 14 years old, and weighed 150 lbs less than I do now. I see pictures of my self from our dating years and wish I could still be that small and carefree. Twenty years later, birthing three good sized babies, two car accidents, raising a special needs child…the years have not been too kind to me, physically. Pictures now tend to make me cringe. Yet he tells me all the time how beautiful I am, how hot I am…and I snort! Like…really? It's hard for me to accept that he still finds me attractive. I still think he's hot though. Funny how that works. I clearly need help in the self esteem department.
    Kenz, I think YOU are gorgeous. You have, seriously, the most brilliant happy smile I think I've ever seen. I can't even fake a smile that happy.

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  • Reply
    Granny2Em
    October 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Wow, I wrote about this very same thing today in my blog although I didn't express it as well as you have.

    I have been reading the comments as well and it just made me realize that my husband used to tell me that I am beautiful quite a bit and I always had a negative reply like, YEAH RIIIIGHT!! Well he doesn't say it as much now even though I'm even a little smaller. I think it's because he got tired of my negative replies and rolling eyes.

    Be careful not to let your negative thoughts interfere with the relationship. If he's telling you that, he means it. Receive it and enjoy it.

    You really are a beautiful girl and I'm not just saying that!

    Take Care!

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  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I know exactly what you are talking about. My husband tells me that I am beautiful all the time. I just cannot see what he sees. When I look in the mirror I see the woman who has gained 80 lbs. Why doesn’t he see the extra 80 lbs? I am always complaining about how I need to lose weight. He says “I love you for you not for how much you weigh” He also says “Don’t you see how other men look at you?” and I always say “Yeah, they are looking at me saying “Look at that fat lady look how bad she looks” and he says “Men don’t stare and watch ugly women” We have been married 19 yrs and in that 19 yrs I have tried to sabotage our marriage several times because I think he deserves someone better than me. He tells me every time that there is no one else for him so I am stuck with him. I am getting better at handling the compliments but it is hard. I need to learn to quit self sabotaging. Not sure if that will ever happen but I am working on it.
    You are beautiful!!! Inside and Out. You just need to believe that you are beautiful. (Yes it is easier to say than to believe) That man is one lucky man to have you in his life.

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  • Reply
    Neva4getme
    October 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I used to feel the way you did too, untill I fixed/trained my brain. It began by thinking about the world, and the enormity of it. There are BILLIONS of people. I'm ONE. But wait a minute…how can anyone NOT be beautiful if every single one of us is DIFFERENT.

    I think past generations made a "few" mistakes and built the human world up a little flawed. One of these flaws is our judgement of others. Where the heck do these standards we're judging against come from?

    Once I started asking myself these very complex and thought provoking questions, it began to click.

    Of course I'm beautiful – EVERYONE is!

    Do you know what changing that attitude has done for me? Do you know what it's like to stop judging others myself? To wake up and know that I only have myself to answer to, and what makes me happy is my perogative?

    It's so damn freeing.

    Another thing along the same lines as "everyone is different". Not everyone has the self insight you (we) do and move forward in life living based on past experiences/environment bla bla bla. They never grow.

    Part of growing for our generation is shedding these damn self esteem issues 🙂 Have you seen the positive messages the next generation of girls is receiving? It's empowering and so freakin' beautiful. That's how I'm training my brain – and it's working 🙂

    We are ALL beautiful, really and truely!

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  • Reply
    Jen
    October 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Oh my! I couldn't even believe it when I opened your post and saw the title! Believe me, I can totally understand those thoughts – but honestly, you are SO pretty! Your blog is one of about 5-6 that I read daily, and every day when I see your picture, I think how happy you look and that you really are a knock-out!

    I agree that it's hard to take compliments after all the years of self-loathing – now you've been through so many accomplishments – it's time to stop being so hard on yourself and think about the good things! You should believe everything that your man is telling you!

    Good luck!

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  • Reply
    erinmakesitwork
    October 29, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    You are beautiful Kenz. Really and truly. More importantly, you understand that you have insecurities and issues to work through. Everyone does, but many people aren't so willing to work through them. So keep telling yourself you're beautiful, it will help quiet those pesky little voices that try to make you doubt yourself.

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  • Reply
    Deb
    October 29, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I know where you are coming from as well. I have a bad habit of putting myself down or belittling myself and I have trouble believing it when somebody says something good about me.

    It takes time. Gradually, I'm forcing myself to accept those compliments with a smile. In time, that smile will become less forced and more natural.

    You are a beautiful person, inside and out. Remind yourself of it often, and it time, you'll start believing it.

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  • Reply
    Mind Over Fatter
    October 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I'll weigh in on the conversation… I know exactly how you feel but for different reasons. I was married for 23 years to a guy that I thought was going to be there forever. One thing he said though many years ago hurt a lot – he commented on how he did not like his mother overweight and he also "kindly" criticized my weight when I had my ups. Over time I just thought I wasn't good enough. I struggled with the weight, I felt self conscious, I wasn't as affectionate, then I felt worse and the spiral unravels. Now I have been on my own so to speak for over 5 years. It's taken most of that time to heal and finally reach a time when I want to date, I want to find a soul mate. In order to do this I want to get healthy and feel fantastic FOR ME. Over the past year when I was still over 200, I thought about dieting but instead decided to just enjoy myself – my homelife, work and play. You know what, I loved it and learned to love me. I like who I am now and the best is yet to come.

    You are a beautiful, smart lady – Develop some affirmations and tell yourself these positive thoughts all the time. This helps. Accept yourself as the great person you are!

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  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Everyone has already said this so well, Kenz, and I'd like to second all their posts with additional shout-outs to Draz and MizFit's statements.

    And your smile alone is knock-out gorgeous, girl.

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  • Reply
    Steelers6
    October 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I'm with Deb in regard to the compliments..we gotta fake it til we make it /believe it I guess. I still have to force myself to say "Thank you" sometimes.. just thank you PERIOD instead of with a negative comment tacked on behind the "thank you". (ex: if compliment is about clothing, I might be tempted to say "oh this old thing" or something like that.) Is that a learned weird humility thing?

    I guess I started to see that it can actually insult the person commenting, and if I am the one complimenting someone who can't receive it, it just isn't very nice.

    I do think as you continue along on this journey called life you will be able to see yourself as beautiful. You are on a good path; one of finding out things about yourself, becoming very aware of health, learning to make time to care for YOU, etc. I often feel like I must love & value me if I am taking better care of me, & taking soo much time to prepare that veggie omelet, salad, veggie wrap, pack nutritious food to take along for the day, exercising..and loving & valuing me must be part of beautiful, right?

    I admire that although you may struggle with how you view yourself, you truly seem to make every effort to put your best Kenz forward every day. I make an effort to look my best, I did even at my highest weight. You totally present yourself as beautiful even though you might not have convinced yourself yet. 🙂 [Staying so current with hair, makeup, fashion, etc.]

    I think you have such a beautiful HEART to go with the attractive & stylish you. C & everyone around you sees that too, fer sure! Even your blog buddies can see your gorgeous heart.
    Blessings, Chrissy

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  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 29, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    My gosh. I think you are SOOO beautiful so does that make me crazy You are half way there realizing that you ARE lovable. My husband is handsome. He was a high school/collegefootball player, he is athletic, girls throw themselves at him. He married me AFTER he saw me paralized by two strokes, he knew I could not get/stay pg, he saw my weight struggle, he meet my crazy family etc. I STILL fight the "why on earth does this guy love me. what is wrong with him?" thing after 15 years of being together. I can't say it gets easier, but you have to let go in order to enjoy what is happeneing in your life.

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  • Reply
    I Said So...
    October 29, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Just found your blog…love it!
    I just began my journey. I've lost a little over 10 pounds. I can totally relate to this. If I receive a compliment, in my head I go through the negative thoughts about why it isn't true.
    I'll be back to check on you.

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  • Reply
    SeattleRunnerGirl
    October 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Gosh, I don't know if there's anything I can add. But I will reiterate that until YOU know you are beautiful and loveable and enough JUST AS YOU ARE, it won't matter how much your man or your friends or your blogging friends tell you those things. You MUST believe it in your own heart in order to hear it and accept it and appreciate it from others. Keep doing the work you are doing to love yourself. Replace every negative thought about yourself CONSCIOUSLY with a positive one. Speak words of love and acceptance to yourself OUT LOUD (I know, it sounds dorky, but it's powerful!). Over time, you will begin to know and FEEL your beauty and worth and accepting those compliments will feel lovely and right instead of awkward and weird.

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  • Reply
    Beth @ Kitchen Minions
    October 30, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I know how you feel. I have felt the same way, I'm even married to a wonderful man who thinks I'm beautiful but I still don't believe it. If you come up with the answer, please let us know! p.s. can't wait until you can share more about this guy, he sounds awesome!

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  • Reply
    KellyNY
    October 30, 2010 at 1:48 am

    I don't want to be repetitive, so I'll just say one thing. If you know you're lovable, then the struggle to accept it is practically over. And you're only "fairly smart"? I think you're very smart!

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  • Reply
    Karla
    October 30, 2010 at 3:29 am

    baby girl, speaking to you like your Mom….. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

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  • Reply
    Rhonda
    October 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Hey Kenz!

    I struggle with the same issues, but I will say my mom taught me long ago to drop the negative comments after the Thank you. Also to say the thank you with confidence when recieving compliments. Smile your beautiful smile when he tells you your beautiful and say a confident thank you even if you don't feel it.

    Men can stop complimenting as much if you always say, "Oh you don't mean that" type comments back. Even if you don't say it aloud, body language can say it too.

    BTW, *Clark* is tall and handsome! I think you two are adorable together. Enjoy it and move forward my friend in confidence.

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  • Reply
    Maggie
    October 31, 2010 at 2:21 am

    I never hear that I am beautiful from my significant other. Even though I hear it from others, it just doesn't mean enough. When it comes from a boyfriend or husband it hits your soul. Please savor it every single time you hear it.

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  • Reply
    Elizabeth.
    October 31, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Kenz! Long time, no talk, and I apologize! If there is anything I can add, it's this: think back to someone in your life that you've been attracted to – some guy who society wouldn't think is exactly runway model material. I bet you can think of a man who is funny, sweet, has a great smile and a big heart, who you were attracted to in some way. Who made you feel really good. Did his weight matter? Or if he was thin, did it matter if he wasn't cut like Brad Pit in the movie Troy? Of course not.

    There was this DJ in my hometown who always, ALWAYS had the ladies drooling and following him around. He HAD to have been at least 600 lbs. So why is it that they all wanted him? Because he was magnetic..his smile, humor, huge heart and HOW HE MADE THEM FEEL – all made him gorgeous. So there you go – you're beautiful, with a huge heart, cute and funny, with a GORGEOUS smile and pretty eyes. Who wouldn't fall cuckoo head-over-heels for you? Bet you make HIM feel terrific. Think about it.

    Ok – off to revive my dust-covered blog that I've neglected for QUITE some time.

    Love ya Kenz! You look, and more importantly ARE, phenomenal 🙂

    – elizabeth.

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  • Reply
    Shelley B
    October 31, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I just have to say that this post was beautifully written. I can see it in "O" magazine or "Glamour" or another similar publication. I'm sure it resonates with so many people, and not just with those who are on a weight loss journey…everyone feels insecure sometimes and wonders why their partner chose them out of everyone else in the world…

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  • Reply
    Brad G
    November 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Feeling beautiful will come in time. It has taken me years to learn how to love myself, and I still have a ways to go. It does happen, and it does get easier. I also have a beautiful wife that may never know it (no matter how many times I tell her). You are not alone with this challenge

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  • Reply
    Trudy
    November 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    First of all, you are beautiful on the inside and the outside! You are a wonderful person Kenlie! I know all of your questions were likely rhetorical but I do have an answer for you for all of them in one word…which I'll only give you if you want it!

    I struggled for a long time with those plaguing, debilitating, goal-crushing, self-defeating thoughts…and then I was rescued from them. It is my prayer that in time you will be also!

    Hang in there and keep doing the work!

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  • Reply
    Nina Patricia @ The Adventures of Nina Patricia
    November 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I was in the same boat. I dated Hubs back when I was a size 5 (different country/sizes) and when we reconected the first thing out of my mouth was "I don't look the same". He said to me that's not why people where attracted to me (say WHAT?!) and he explained that I was funny and smart and kind, and the fact that I was beautiful was just a bonus of a great package.
    Yeah, I married him 🙂
    You will find your beauty, one day you will look in the mirror and say "I look hot" and this will come from YOU.
    I think you are gorgeous, seriously and I wish I had your smile.

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  • Reply
    Mary H.
    November 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Not only is he telling you that you are beautiful, but he's spending time with you and enjoying spending time with you. That just tells me that this guy REALLY MEANS IT! He really likes you and he's investing time into a relationship with you. That means a lot! I hope you can work though those doubts and have fun and let the relationship blossom.

    I understand though… I've been there myself. I had to learn to let go of those thoughts. The next thing ya know I was marrying the guy. I weighed more than I ever did the day I married him and he loves me no matter what.

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