It’s so subjective. And yet the World has formalised it somehow.
In order to be “beautiful” you need to have checked all these boxes – striking facial features, radiant skin, shiny hair, perfect make up, a subtle confidence to name just a few. And maybe it’s slightly different from person to person in that it’s not only blue eyes that are beautiful – black, brown, grey and green can hold their own too. But what I am saying, is that there are boxes that need to be filled. And I flipping hate boxes.
I have two absolutely gorgeous daughters. Yes, I am biased. But I would have still been biased even if they didn’t tick a number of those “beauty” boxes. Blue eyed and blonde haired with a natural tan (thanks to Seth). Is that not the definition of beauty that you have heard so many times over the years?
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“Oh my goodness, they are so beautiful!” “Are they twins?” “I mean, really, wow. You make beautiful children.” “All of them are just gorgeous.” “Wow. So pretty.” “Hey, look how adorbs those kids are!”
How am I even supposed to respond to those comments? Obviously I can answer the “Are they twins?” with the standard, “No, they are a year a 2 weeks apart”, but the rest? Am I supposed to say thank you? I had no control of how they were going to look (thank goodness – God gets all the praise here). So is “thank you” even the right words to say?
Now, you may think I am bragging with all those statements but it is honestly what we hear about our children every single time we go out. Without fail. But so far the people have been very diplomatic and made sure to include both girls, if not Knox as well. Obviously I am a proud Mommy of all of our kids and there was a time that I really loved hearing the comments about how gorgeous they are, because, well, they are.
Right now you’re probably thinking, “OK cool. That’s great but like, so what?” And I guess you’re right. So what? What is the real problem here? Well, let me tell you. I have secretly been dreading the day that one would be praised over the other.
You see, when I was growing up I was often told how pretty I was by other people. It took me forever to even consider believing them because despite (or because of) the praise, my self esteem was almost non existent. Yes, being told that you are attractive is supposed to be a good thing, but it almost makes you rely on it. A week or two goes by and no one remarks on what you look like and suddenly you start questioning things. Life happens and you end up with a face full of red, aching spots and now you KNOW you are no longer attractive, despite your husbands reassurance. But because that always sort of “defined” you, those questions persist. (Questions that would leave you considering which mental hospital contains the least mirrors before you shipped me off there with a stomach full of meds.) I guarantee that this is a lot of why I felt so depressed during this time.
Why is this even a thought process that happens? We all know that physical beauty is fleeting. We know it will end at some stage (plastic surgery can only do so much and often does worse). Why do we place so much value in this insignificant and fleeting area? I wish I could properly answer those questions. But I can’t. So I sit here and ponder instead.
So when this well meaning lady complimented one of my daughters on being so seriously beautiful, throwing around praise willy nilly, but not acknowledging the other, I just didn’t know what to do. Add to this situation the fact that the “unnoticed” daughter noticed this distinct lack of comment by saying something like, “She didn’t talk to me?” (which Seth swiftly followed up with something along the lines of, “She meant both of you. You are beautiful too, you know that”). Not having heard his quick action, it left me totally dumbfounded. Seth and I just sort of stared at each other with helpless looks on our faces. I was left fumbling over random words of affirmation.
Seriously dropping the ball.
But now that I have had some time to think about it, there is something that I want to tell you Kyla and Riya. So here goes.
It is true that you are both strikingly gorgeous. Judging by all the remarks that you often get, I don’t think that I am alone in thinking this. Does this define you? Ab-so-lute-ly NOT!
You are both beautiful on the inside too.
Being kind, smart, caring, loving, compassionate, understanding, supportive, knowledgeable, thoughtful, patient, humble and able to listen (and not just hear) is what being truly beautiful is. I hope that in the years ahead, you will learn to acknowledge your God given looks but that you will not feel like you are trapped in a box because of them. I hope to be there for you to encourage you to grow yourself into who you want to be because that’s what you’re good at.
I hope that you will know that true beauty radiates from within, it oozes out of you – irrelevant of what you look like on the outside.
I love you both (and Knox) so very, very much because of who you are and not what you look like.
8 thoughts on “That Time A Lady Told One Of My Daughters They Were Beautiful And The Other One Noticed”
Your kids are def gorgeous!
The thing is… beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Such a cliché and yet so very true. I always thought the ultimate beauty was blonde and blue eyed…. because… well because I grew up blonde and blue eyed and being told I was pretty. So that became my benchmark for beauty.
Then Ava-Grace came along and she blew all of that out of the water. She is extraordinarily beautiful and yes, I know I’m biased, but people comment constantly on her looks and she is not the blonde blue eyed theme of beauty, she’s the exact opposite.
I worry about when Hannah is older. Having two girls in the house… it’s bound to cause problems. I don’t want Ava to grow up vain and thinking that her self worth is linked to her looks. I don’t want Hannah to grow up thinking she’s plain, because she’s not, she’s cute but she will be faced with the same situations you’ve described above.
It’s a tough one!
Aaah man, having two girls has brought out problems that I never even thought of before. I am hoping that if we praise things that are more important (i.e. pretty much anything else about their personality) that they will learn to value themselves on that instead. But that’s easy to say and hard to enforce. If you have any tips let me know. xo
Too true…your children are all beautiful, but that’s not all there is to them.
Awww tannie! But all your kids are absolutely adores! I really almost cried just now. Reading this, brings back memories of my childhood and how sad I felt for my little sister and especially when TEACHERS compared us. She managed to stay strong and resilient to their comments until she was about 9 years old and she broke into tears, screaming “I’m not as perfect as Leana”. I think my heart sank into my shoes because at that point, I was in grade 8 (high-school) battling for ANY recognition, being the VERY average one in a sea full of skinny, pretty girls. I knew exactly how my sister felt. But… times have changed. If I were you – mommy of 3 beautiful kids, I’d be proud. Keep doing what you’re doing. ❤
This is probably my actual fear when it comes to the whole beauty thing. I don’t want the girls to compare themselves to each other and feel like either is not enough. Makes my heart sore thinking about it.
So with you on this! I also get lots of compliments about my kids’ appearances on a daily basis and sometimes it makes me uncomfortable. I know people are just being kind but sometimes I’m not sure what to say! They are SO much more than how they look and besides, they won’t always look this way! Character will always be more important than the shell that houses them.
It’s such a weird situation to be in. I guess that is what we as the parents are there for, to remind them that they are more than just the remarks that people make. As hard as that is.
This is such a contentious issue and one I have not really dealt with — in my own head.
My son is gorgeous, good looking etc — but people do not tell him he is good looking, they praise him for his good manners, the fact that he is polite, and clever and gets good grades.
My girls are both beautiful but in two different ways. They are also very clever, kind, polite and have loads of good qualities. But they are praised for their looks.
And there in lies the rub for me — why do we praise boys for their skills and attributes, while we praise girls for being pretty.
I am not wording this very well, but that is sort of the gist of it.