prettyndsweet12 asks: I’ve been having insecurity issues. I feel like I’m fat, but my mom says I’m not. Is she just saying that because she’s my mom or does she mean it? Also a lot of the kids call me ugly. I don’t think I am, but I am also wondering, if I’m pretty, why don’t boys like me?
Hi prettyndsweet12 –
The whole issue of when someone is “fat” or not is a really tough one. Although health experts have ideals they push, saying that a person who’s a certain height should weigh a certain amount, those numbers are never perfect. Some people have heavier density in their bodies – I don’t know what it is exactly; their bones weigh more than other people’s, or their organs do. Something like that.
Then, you get the issue that different people have different ideas of what a body should look like (especially female bodies). Probably no woman in the last century has been so idealized as Marilyn Monroe. But her figure would be considered “fat” by a lot of people today. And those people often idolize models who are unhealthily underweight (or who aren’t, but their photographs are altered to make them look that way!).
Now, to add to my confusion, you ask me if your mother is telling you the truth or not. My friend, I have absolutely no idea! Maybe your friends are being purposely mean and actually think you look fine. Maybe they have unrealistic ideas of what your body should look like. Maybe your mother loves you so much that she’ll always see you as perfect no matter what. Or maybe, yes, she’s lying to make you feel better. I have no way of knowing.
What I do know, however, is one thing: The better you feel about yourself, the more attractive you are. This is absolutely true, wherever you go. It was true when Marilyn Monroe was alive, and it will be true when your grandchildren are. It’s why people who don’t fit the classic definitions of good looks can become stars, from Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn to Zach Galifianakis and Adele.
But in the meantime, one good thing about today is that, for the most part, the qualities that people consider beautiful are actually healthy (as opposed to, for example, the days in China when women were judged as beautiful if they had painfully-altered feet).
So I’m going to give you a letter I wrote someone a while back, who asked for some natural beauty tips. I have nothing against you throwing on some makeup as well, but these are some really great ways to make yourself look better. And, more importantly, to feel great about yourself!
I’m so glad you asked me about natural beauty tips. Because I have to be honest with you – as a dog, I don’t know anything about the artificial ones. I know some dogs do – Poodles with their curls all coifed into fancy balls, Malteses with ribbons in their fancy-cut hair. That is not me! I mean, I can’t even stand it if the shampoo Handsome uses when he bathes me has any scent to it – this is NOT ME AT ALL!
Now of course there are things that I think make me beautiful, like rolling in certain substances that Handsome isn’t very happy with (Have you ever walked behind a horse? Just asking.). But the truth is that all my life, people have said I am beautiful, even though I’m not a pure breed, and have never had any special grooming at all. So even without my ideas of great “perfume,” I know a lot about natural beauty. So here are my tips.
1) Know your body. Everyone’s system is different. Some people have allergies, of course, and should try to avoid those substances (or get them treated if possible). But also there are other things you can learn about yourself that are great to know. Handsome had a friend in high school who figured out that his complexion did not like grape soda! He never knew what it was about the grape soda, but he knew he’d look a lot better if he didn’t have it. Handsome doesn’t eat lots of wheat or dairy, because they make him get a runny nose and a cough. Some people are better off without meat. And just about everyone can stand to cut down on sugar. Caffeine is another frequent culprit. And of course harmful drugs end up making you look terrible. Teenagers’ bodies and skin are going through tons of changes already, so the more you can do to keep those changes to a minimum, the better!
2) Exercise! Duh, you knew I’d say that, but it’s true. We look better when we’ve had some good activity. I don’t mean you have to be a super-athlete or body-builder. Those are fine, but even if you’re a bookish nerd (I’m not saying Handsome was this, but… remember he feeds me!), you will get a healthier glow, get rid of toxins, clear out your lymph system, and simply exude a more attractive energy, if you get out and do something that makes you pant. I recommend chasing squirrels, but you should find what you like to do.
3) Center yourself. Nothing makes a person more attractive than being centered. There are lots of terms for this, like “in your own body,” or “carrying an air of confidence.” This doesn’t mean you have to be fully confident (shyness and awkwardness can be really cute!), but be one with yourself. How to do that? Meditation is great, or quiet hobbies that involve lots of concentration, and yoga is amazing. The teenage years are a time when people are usually very undecided and confused. Whatever you can do to pull some of that energy in and calm it is great.
4) Love and Accept Yourself. This is actually the single greatest beauty tip there is. I know there’s such a thing as “classical beauty,” and there are body types and hair colors and cheekbone sizes that humans agree are “ideal.” But I PROMISE you, none of those is half as important as self-acceptance. You don’t have to be happy all the time, but feel good about yourself. In every generation, a model becomes world-famous who has something about her that wasn’t regarded as attractive before (Twiggy or Kate Moss with their skinny figures, or Lauren Hutton with the gap in her teeth). But each of those women felt she was beautiful, and carried herself with that belief, and so she was beautiful. And among men, it’s even more so – Jack Nicholson was never a classically handsome man, but through years of baldness, weight gain, and aging, he’s still playing romantic leads. None of the Harry Potter crew (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, even Robert Pattinson) fit the usual image of the athletic male ideal, and yet these are the princes of their generation. Because they accept themselves, and think they’re worthy. Hey, a lot of people say President Obama largely got where he is on his looks – and he’s super-skinny and has huge ears… just like me! Be proud of who you are, and you’ll suddenly be gorgeous.
5) Leave Your Lungs Clean! I said earlier to try to eat the things that are healthy for you, and of course that includes not taking harmful drugs. But I want to add, even more so, Don’t Smoke! I know it looks really cool in movies, but it is so unbelievably bad for you. It screws up your skin, makes you break out now and age earlier, dries out your system, makes you less able to be athletic, and makes you stink in your breath, in your skin, and don’t even ask me about the bathroom! And although it might feel like it centers you, it actually does the opposite, separating you from your body. You’ll hear some people say, “oh, well you shouldn’t smoke that, but this is okay.” Well, they’re more full of poop than the dog park garbage can! Your lungs are just about the most important organ you’ve got in terms of keeping healthy. Breathing ANY smoke into them is harmful. Now lots of us live in areas where there’s air pollution, and we can’t keep from breathing that. But why make a bad thing worse? Teenhood is full of so many difficult decisions, but here’s one easy one – save your money, avoid police problems, stay healthier, and yes, look better: Simply Don’t Smoke Anything.
6) Like Others. Oh I know we all see the stories about the super-hot teen who sneers all the time and is sooooo attractive. But you know what? That hardly ever works. In real life, when someone acts that way, people just see them as weird. Take “Twilight:” if a real-world Bella was sitting in a lunchroom and some odd Edward was staring at her across the room with hate in his red eyes, she’d report that creep to the principal, I don’t care how handsome he was! People find me attractive because they see how happy I am to see them! Now I don’t mean that you should feel that others are better than you. But just like others, as much as you can. Find something to like in them. Because if you’re truly happy to see someone, there’s a light in your eyes that is the most beautiful thing any face can ever hold!
So those are my tips for natural beauty. If you do these, am I guaranteeing that you’ll never get a zit, that your figure will be ideal, or that you’ll get a date with the person you have the biggest crush on? Sadly no, I’m not. And I’m also not saying that you can’t do some other things that aren’t so natural, to make yourself more attractive – a little makeup here, a little hair product there. But I can promise you that every one of these tips will make you more attractive than you’d be without them.
And always remember that the only real purpose of surface beauty is that it helps people see your true beauty – your heart – more easily.
All my best,