An Open Letter to Anyone Who’s Ever Felt That They’re Not Enough.
Dear anyone who’s ever felt that they’re not pretty enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough, not muscular enough, not successful enough, not outgoing enough, or just not enough:
You are Beautiful.
You do not need a mechanized scrubby brush to clean the pores on your face. Modern-day humans have been around for approximately 200,000 years. Our ancestors have been around for 6,000,000. Just like Darwin’s finches evolved to suit their food sources and habitat, humans have evolved too. It would be naive to say that our species has become or will ever be perfected; that’s just not what evolution is. But 6,000,000 years is a long time. And we’ve had pores since the beginning.
Your skin is one of the most amazing and certainly the most beautiful organ of your body. So why do so many people hate it? Because you have too much acne. Because you have too many freckles. Because it makes you look too different. But without skin, you’d be a heaping blob of mush, and nobody, no matter what you have too much or too little of, wants that. It keeps the rest of your organs safe. It filters out toxins and dirt and gross things. It lets you feel.
Pores are really pretty spectacular too. You have actually evolved, from whatever we came from, to have pores that clean themselves. You heard that right. Sebaceous glands inside your hair follicles release something called sebum that travels up your follicle and out your pore, carrying out all the dead skin cells and moisturizing your skin while it’s at it. Oily skin? You would be a hot, dry, cracked mess without this stuff. It just wouldn’t work. You wouldn’t have evolved after all this time with pores and follicles and sebum if you didn’t need it.
Now as I said earlier, we are not a perfect system. Wouldn’t it be boring if that were the case, anyway? We may have needed our skin to produce more oil thousands of years ago to protect us against the conditions we lived in, and our body just hasn’t caught up yet. Maybe. Regardless, there is nothing wrong with wanting to have clean, healthy skin and you should feel beautiful no matter what your skin is like or how you take care of it. Because it is your skin. And you are beautiful. But next time a company tries to sell you something by saying that YOU need it to feel beautiful, clean, healthy, fit, successful, or confident, just realize that it is the company that needs YOU to buy its products. You are the boss-lady or boss-man of your own body, and you were physically made and evolved to do this thing called life. You were born for it.
You are Enough.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” It’s hard to believe sometimes. Because people can be just plain mean. And you being affected by that viciousness just makes you human. It makes you beautiful because it means you rate the opinions of others highly. Even when they don’t deserve it. You value others, sometimes more than yourself. You may be more humble. You may be empathetic. Thoughtful. Passionate.
None of us were born hating our bodies. Our skin color. Our sexual orientation. Our personality. None of us were born hating ourselves. You may be be predisposed to depression or anxiety and I know that has other factors at hand. But by and large we were not born into hate. We were taught it. A parent might gasp at this, or feel offended. You might think, I would never teach my child to hate him/herself. It’s not that simple. And no one, no one, no one does it on purpose.
A child is told she must have her hair done and wear a new, uncomfortable outfit so that she’ll look pretty for her school pictures. Do you mean, then, to say that the child is not naturally pretty? What makes perfect sense to you means nothing to a child. A teenager starts to learn more about politics in school. He comes home to a father that goes on and on about how he hates those hippie, big government liberals that want everything for free and don’t want to work for it. Or those stuck up, religious, close-minded conservatives who support big money because they are big money. He feels that he can’t express himself because who he is isn’t right.
Let’s get a little tougher here. That homeless man with the sign at the intersection. You look away and your child asks why. Despite what the sign says, he’s probably addicted to drugs. He probably drinks. He’s lazy. He did this to himself. And you might be right. But you might not. If you knew of a friend or even an acquaintance that got laid off due to budget cuts, couldn’t pay rent and was forced out of his apartment and onto the streets where he couldn’t get hired because by the time he heard back from anywhere, because he had sold his car to pay for food and couldn’t clean himself to look presentable for an interview… would you spare a few dollars? Would you do more? What makes perfect sense to you means nothing to a child. Children are inherently trustful. And you’d better believe that cardboard sign has an impact on them. Are some people, even those lost, even those struggling with an addiction, not worth anything? What about criminals? Your child learns that some people are worthless. That some people could be him.
You Were Made for This.
Hatred has cousins and they probably live in the back of your brain. Envy. Greed. They are masters of disguise and they’re ugly. They make you human but they don’t make you you. The worst thing you can can do is deny them, pretend you never have envy, or greed, or hatred. Because you’ll be blind to it and thus breed envy, greed, and hatred. It’s hard and you don’t have to be perfect. I just hope you’ll try. Because when you see them, you get better at being you and not your emotions. And you is beautiful.
So next time someone tries to sell you something because you don’t have something or another that you need. The next time you’re told directly or indirectly that you’re not enough. The next time you envy someone for being what you’re not, hate someone who is different, or have greed because you want something that you can’t or don’t have. Remember: You are enough. You are a perfectly imperfect specimen and you were born to do this. You were made to get through this, to overcome, to endure. And nobody can tell you otherwise.