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How Do You See Yourself?

This morning I watched a commercial put together for Dove, a brand of soap. I had heard about this commercial from several people, and I read a blurb about it on one of my favorite online magazines, Relevant. But I had no idea just how powerful it would be.

You can watch the video here:

When I finished watching, I was wiping tears from eyes. I could so easily put myself in any of these women’s places.

While I don’t necessarily go around thinking that I’m hideous, I am sharply critical of certain parts of me. For instance, I’ve always hated my nose, and every time someone takes a photo of me in profile, I cringe. To me, my nose is too long and pointy. I feel like it looks like a bird’s beak.

But my biggest complaint about my face is my skin. I have struggled with oily skin and acne since I was 10 years old. Today, at age 38, my skin is only marginally better than it was as an adolescent. I don’t break out quite as much as I used to, but my face is never completely clear of breakouts. To make matters worse, 28 years of acne has taken its toll on my complexion. I have many acne scars that are still an angry, blotchy pink.

I’m convinced that without makeup, I frighten small children. I’m constantly frustrated during the day because my skin continues to be so oily that it resembles an oil slick even an hour after I’ve washed my face. And I’m always convinced that the lasting impression I leave on anyone is my greasy skin.

(Yes, I continue to believe this even though I walk around with a glowing mop of turquoise on my head. How crazy is that?)

I try not to think about my own appearance too much. I have a tendency toward extreme vanity, and I know that full well. So I try hard to think about other things. My daily tasks, the people I need to pray for, how I can help people. But whenever I leave my house, I do that thing that nearly every woman does — the once-over in a mirror. And unless I’ve taken special pains with my appearance, I always wonder if people are going to cringe when they see me.

Truly, though: how ridiculous is this? It’s a lot of wasted energy. I don’t know the answer to this, if I need to make a more conscious decision to think about what I like about my face (I like my eyes and my smile), or if I need to remember that I am always much harder on myself than other people are.¬†

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