The Ugly Duckling has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. To refresh your memory, a young bird is ostracized by his fellow birds and taunted as being ugly. However, this “ugly duckling” turns out to be, not a duck, but rather a beautiful swan.
I think what has always drawn me to this fable is the need to find your place in the world where your beauty can truly be seen. A beautiful swan will always be an ugly duck when viewed with the wrong lens; it was only when the swan found those who could appreciate his beauty that he was seen for who/what he really was. In this regard, we all need to find our place – where do we fit in and who will appreciate our beauty?
Of course, it is equally important to appreciate your own beauty! While I grew up thinking I was pretty, I never felt like the prettiest girl in class, nor did I have the boys flocking to my yard. In truth, I only had a handful of dates in high school – despite umpteen crushes and unrequited love – and one of those dates was the result of me asking him out (that date was a disaster by the way). I find it very telling that I unconsciously chose to use dating popularity as a gauge of beauty — clearly valuing male interest as a measure of my beauty without being directly aware of it.
But anyway, it wasn’t until sometime in my junior year of college that I looked in the mirror and truly saw myself as not just pretty, but beautiful; genuinely beautiful. It surprised me. Yet, even with that discovery, I still continued to compare myself unfavorably with other women (who, in my mind) were more attractive than me. It was only after I began taking classes at S Factor that I began to see beauty in all women and stopped comparing myself to others.
Of course, it never hurts to be appreciated and told that you are beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, etc. So, not surprisingly, this recent spate of attention and compliments is music to my ears and ego. It feeds me, really feeds me, in a way that I didn’t realize I needed. Yes, Viktor has always showered me with praise, but I think it loses some of its power with the passage of time. Am I really beautiful to him or does he think I am beautiful because he loves me?
But, even more surprising, I feel that my beauty has intensified with age. Yes, I have some outward signs of getting older, but when I look in the mirror now, I see strength, power and confidence coupled with a gorgeous face. While I never was an ugly ducking, I am truly a beautiful swan and, equally important, I have found those who can appreciate me in all my splendor.