If you’ve ever seen the movie “Pursuit of Happyness” (and yes, the title is spelled like that), you may remember a line where Will Smith says, “They all looked so damn happy to me. Why couldn’t I look like that?”
Now, on that note…
Due to my social anxiety and Body Dysmorphia, going out shopping and whatnot can be incredibly overwhelming and intimidating for me. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you may know that I feel ugly literally every day. So being out in public, particularly when there are a lot of people (at a mall for example) is very, very difficult for me. I tend to feel that anyone who even looks at me is thinking I look fat, ugly, have a big nose, a big head, etc. All my insecurities become even more intense when I’m around people.
Several months ago, I went to a store in the mall to ask a question about a product I had seen online. I was having one of my days where I felt even more hideous that usual and was super shy, but I went up to a worker at the store and asked my question. We chatted for a bit as I asked some follow-up questions. I felt so shy and awkward, but I was trying to smile a lot and be super friendly.
At some point in our conversation, I glanced up for just a split-second and saw a woman. She had a huge smile on her face; she looked beautiful, kind, and happy. I thought to myself, “Wow, I wish I was that happy.” As I did a double take, I realized… that woman was me! In that split-second of time, I had seen my own reflection in a big mirror that was across the store.
I felt speechless; it was if time froze. The worker and I soon finished up our conversation and I browsed the store a bit, thinking about what had just happened, then journeyed home.
Since then, I’ve thought about that moment from time to time.
To think that I had seen myself and thought, “wow, she is beautiful,” is like…the rarest moment of my entire life.
I wanted to share this and then follow it up with the definition of Body Dysmorphia on the Mayo Clinic website…
According to the Mayo Clinic website, “Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not observable. But you may feel so ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.
When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. Your perceived flaw and the repetitive behaviors cause you significant distress, and impact your ability to function in your daily life”.
Interesting, yes? In that split-second, I saw a happy, beautiful woman…
It was incredibly eye-opening. It made it all the more clear to me that, in order for me to truly feel and believe I am beautiful – inside and out – it needs to start with me. Start with retraining my thoughts, start being kind to myself.
When I realized I was “the woman” I had seen, I realized… this is what everyone tries to tell me about myself all the time, this is it. I am that woman.
I am that woman.
Now, I just need to believe it.