Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Couple of Thoughts on Being Special

If you haven't seen this Dove ad, you should watch it, because if you don't, nothing else I say will make sense.

  I hope, really hope that they never ask me to do this. You know why? It's because I think much much too highly of myself. When I look in the mirror I think, "Wow, I am really really something special, go get 'em gorgeous." I'm not kidding, I totally think that. But I'm always sort of surprised that I don't really turn heads when I walk down the street. I rationalize that they either don't see me, or are so shocked by my beauty that they have to look away. And when I see myself in pictures, I think, "huh, that's weird, that looks nothing like me." A few years ago, when someone told me that I was average looking, I was totally floored. Not because-who would say that?- But because, I never believed myself to be average.
  If someone held up two sketches of me side by side; the one on the left, the one that I narrated would be a stunning beauty. A willowy brunette with mysterious big eyes and a perfect complexion. The sketch on the right, the one that was described by someone else who had just met me, would be very different. "Frumpy hair, vacant stare, scarred lips, looks exhausted, and totally forgettable. Oh, and she wasn't nice. Kind of an elitist. And weird, like if Andy Kaufman was an average looking woman with self-imagined beauty." Nailed it! That's me!
  Which leads me to my next point. Where did I get this false sense of self-esteem? Not from my childhood, I don't remember my parents ever really building me up. I always thought they were tryna bring me down. Now I  realize that they were just trying to give me a healthy dose of reality. Oh sage mother and father, I should have listened. Instead, I've floated through life thinking I could get by on my looks, which, shockingly, haven't gotten me anywhere.
  I am going to try to protect my kids from this false sense of superiority. I have an idea. You know those plates that say, "You are special?"
  I swear every family has one and they usually save it for a child's birthday. Well I think instead of one 'you are special' plate, I think I'll buy a bunch of plates that say, "You Are Average!" And then when it's your birthday, you get a blank plate with nothing on it, just cake. That way, you can think whatever you want about yourself cause hey, it's your birthday!

p.s. I'm still tracking my 2013 media diet here. Anyone else doing the same?


Destiny said...

What about that one guy that one time in the gym? He didn't think you were average...

Reynolds Rundown said...

I'm sort of with you on this one, though I have often thought that you are so beautiful and stylish--so I think your self-image is pretty accurate. But, I do believe that the compulsive trophy giving nature of our society builds up this false sense of security, and really only fans the flames of insecurity because we think that if not everyone is telling us how special we are, then somehow we aren't special at all. I remember in Pres. Hinckley's bio, his kids saying that he didn't gush praise for them, but he thought them all capable of doing what they wanted if they were willing to put in the work. Believing in our kids doesn't mean praising and labeling and fawning every time they successfully navigate a fork to their mouth. It is appropriate in potty-training, but it should probably stop there. Maybe instead of a "you are special" plate or even a blank plate, we should get plates that just ask, "So what are you??" How's that for deep.