Thursday, June 18, 2009


Is there a problem with knowing you are beautiful? We often speak of the idea of a healthy self-image, but just as often we hear the caution to avoid vanity. My question has to do with the virtue, the mean between two extremes. I honestly think of myself as an attractive young woman, ranging from pretty to beautiful depending on the day. Though I don't always like what I see in the mirror, I think my own appearance must be such that it is generally pleasant and the opposite of ugly. Now, part of this notion may be conceit and part of it may be the result of over-flattery; nevertheless, I wonder about the practical implications of this view of myself.

By practical implications, of course I mean romantic implications. So many women are empowered to believe in their own beauty by a man who loves them and whom they love. In my case, I'm fairly certain this process began relatively early with my dad. As far as other men, however, I don't think my past boyfriends really helped. I know of my own beauty, and power, more from being on my own and "recovering" from these relationships. What is the problem, then? Well, frankly I feel I may have recovered too fully! Do not most women depend at least partially on a man for the blossoming of their self-esteem? If I already have an idea of myself as good-looking, won't that make it more difficult for a man have something to offer me? Just think: I could be walking with him and he looks deeply and soulfully into my eyes and says, "You are so beautiful"--and I smile back and say, "I know!" Is this romantic?

I jest, but perhaps the example of physical appearance is just one of a number of facets of my own self-confidence which occasionally trouble me. I know very well it is difficult for guys to develop that confidence; therefore, the fact that I have it in spades is a bit . . . well, limiting, to say the least. I also wonder whether the overarching thought in my mind connects to the perennial problem of feminine sacrifice: in what does it consist and how far must it go? The only answer that makes sense is that a woman must be the very strongest and very best that she can be, regardless of any circumstances or emotional attachments; and that any romantic or relational tie that leads her to diminish herself, on purpose or subconsciously, ought to be avoided like the plague.