why I don’t believe in “you are beautiful” : cynosure : love + inspiration by sui solitaire

Yesterday, I told you that you are already enough. You are beautiful, already, right now.

The thing is, I don’t actually believe that telling people they’re beautiful really helps them. In fact, I believe it’s kind of useless. I wrote about this once, two years ago, in a post that has long since expired, in response to a Facebook event I saw called “Tell Her She’s Beautiful.” Let me reiterate it now:

Telling someone they’re beautiful when they don’t believe it doesn’t really do anything for them.

In fact, it borders on useless.

In fact, it could very well make them feel worse.

I do tell people that they’re beautiful. But I usually end it with a disclaimer: but that doesn’t mean anything unless you believe it yourself.

The thing is, if you don’t believe you are something, then you already aren’t that something– because what you perceive to be reality reflects your beliefs, and the thoughts you choose set a limitation on yourself that you cannot be [insert ephemerally-defining word here].

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I am beautiful, not because people tell me I am, but because I know it. I believe in my own beauty, and I recognize it. I see it every day in just the mere fact that I am alive and I have the ridiculous blessing of a functional body.

I see it in you, too. You reveal it to me effortlessly, just by being here.

But that doesn’t mean anything.

A thousand handwritten letters in special envelopes writing that you’re beautiful won’t make you believe it. Five hundred strangers affirming your worth is not what you need to realize that you are worth the world. Your favorite musicians proclaiming that you are already good enough with a song specially created for you might not even budge your mind.

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Your best friend could tell you, over and over again, for a hundred years that you aren’t worthless, that you aren’t ugly or not good enough, but that might not even change a thing.

Nobody else can do the work of letting go of the lies you tell yourself.

Only you can.

Reviews for The Thing About Thin:

“Sui says this book is her question, but it’s also an answer to a number of other questions, including, and most interestingly to me– what does our obsession with altering our bodies mean for our lives, and why is it essential that we reject the pursuit of the better body? She recounts her own history and progression of thought around body image and food, and asks us to push our own thinking on those topics beyond the cliches and well-meaning but static conversations of the mainstream media.

There is a refreshing and powerful clarity at the core of this book, at the core of Sui’s narration and convictions.

It is good and much-needed medicine.”

Holly Orr, Tangerine-Eater.com

Get some of that medicine + learn why it’s so crucial– not just for yourself, but the world– that you realize and live the fact that you are already enough.

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