Recently, a uni mate reminded me of something I used to say back then. There was once he complimented my looks, but I insisted that I looked bad that day because I didn't have my make up on. Looking back, I was once a teenage girl with low self-esteem who could hardly step out of the house without layers of eyeliners.
Years later, I could finally roam free with my completely bare face. I am still the same me with the same face, but with more confidence.
What could have possibly made me believe that make up was essential and that I would be ugly without?
In fact, there were numerous time when I had nightmares about losing my teeth. Run a search on Google and it would interpret that it was due to my obsession on physical appearance.
Growing up in my household, I did not receive much compliments from the family. If I were to receive a comment on my look, it would be my clothes are weird, my face gotten bigger, my hair not well-groomed, my cheek bone too high, my eyes too ugly etc. The constant criticisms had somehow made me into who I was, a girl who was insecure about her looks, and who would never know how beautiful she was.
Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to point the fingers and condemn anyone here. I totally understand that my family is super Asian, hence they are never good in giving praises and showing affection. It is not something they do deliberately to put someone down, but rather a norm that continues in the family.
This habit will stop from my generation onwards.
When I have kids one day, I will refrain from throwing criticisms that would discourage them, but rather shower them with compliments that they deserve. Of course, I would not do this just to my future kids, but to others around me as well.
One of the factors that made me gain my confidence was a man who always tells me how beautiful I am and how he prefers me without my make up, because that is truly who I am. He knows the power of praises and thinks that by doing so, he could brighten up someone's day. He does it to both men and women equally, and always meant what he says. He believes that the compliments should be genuine thoughts that come from the heart, not just some fake polished words uttered to please someone.
Years ago, I was truly a master of criticisms. One of the incidents I can recall is during my trip to Melbourne with my besties, Katie and Jess. We were going to the club for the first time together. Dressed up, did our make up and all. Before we left the house, Katie got upset with me for some nasty comments that I made. Idk what I said that night but it must have been something awful. She told me that girlfriends are supposed to compliment each other before heading to the club (like every girl's unspoken rule prior to clubbing wtf). And that usually her other friends would always tell her how good she looks right before their night out. It made me feel bad and guilty for the rest of the night. I was a horrible friend. I couldn't even do better than her other friends! I had gotten so accustomed to that habit I did not think it would leave any impact on others. Until that incident. Darling if you are reading this, I am glad we are still best friend! Thank you for not hating me forever after what I've done! Lol.
Never be stingy with compliments. If you think that someone looks good, don't be afraid to tell them so. But if you think they look bad, just shut up and keep your nasty comments to yourself. Nobody wants to hear something negative. By doing so you will not change the fact, but instead will end up destroying their self-esteem.