Romance Of A Lifetime

Judith Campbell
Published on: June 2012
There's a wonderful cartoon from The New Yorker magazine. Two men, in back-view, are walking along the beach. The younger man has an enormous bottom. He has slung his arm round the shoulder of the older man, who also has an enormous bottom, and he's saying, "Thanks, Dad, for almost everything".

I love this cartoon, mainly because I inherited several iffy genes from my own dad, including the Big Bottom gene. Then there was the Underdeveloped Jaw gene and all the unpleasant sub-genes that came along with it, such as the Small Mouth gene. For beneficiaries of the Small Mouth gene, all kinds of problems arise, including no room for a dozen teeth. For me, this meant a childhood blighted by endless visits to a dental surgery, subtitled Torture Chamber for Teeth, presided over by the gloomy and incompetent Mr. Baxter and his scary anaesthetist with the black gas mask hidden behind his back.
romance of a lifetime,beautiful
I hold both parents responsible for passing on the Flat Face gene. I mean, what on earth is the use of parents if they can't donate a decent set of cheekbones between them? They don't even need to be fabulous, Johnny Depp-type cheekbones; ANY would do. A face needs structure as it gets older, prominent bones for the skin to cling to. When I was younger, I was terrified that at 90, my face would be hanging on my knees. It was not a pleasant prospect.

Like the vast majority of females, I felt insecure about my looks and obsessed endlessly about my physical imperfections. Nothing was right. The chin stuck out. The legs weren't long enough. The eye-lashes didn't curl. The feet were too broad. The list was endless.

There's another cartoon I like, of a man and woman each looking in a full-length mirror. The man is fat and bald, but the reflection he sees is of a slim, handsome hunk with hair and a six-pack. The woman, meanwhile, is slender and beautiful, but what she sees is a fat, unattractive version of herself.

A recent survey in Switzerland found that only 4% of women would describe themselves as "pretty". Four percent! The reality is more likely to be that only 4% is NOT pretty in some way! It's tragic that women (men, less so) are so brutal about themselves. Why do they look at themselves and see only the physical faults? I had a boss once who was a brilliant woman. She had reached the top in a world of men and had everything to be proud of. Yet all she wanted was to be a tall, glamorous blonde instead of a short, square brunette with a big nose.

One day though, I woke up to the ridiculousness of the situation. I laughed out loud to think of all the wonderful things I'd got from my parents - my robust health, my intelligence, my talents, my good looks (despite the imperfections!) Yet here I was, agitating about all the negatives instead of being grateful for the positives!
And it's not just about looks. We talk down to ourselves in all kinds of ways. "I'm so stupid." "I screwed up - again." "I've made a mess of my life." Please! I've learned that loving begins with YOU - whoever you are, whatever you look like. We need to accept the big nose, the short legs, the fat stomach. We need to accept the fact that we say the wrong thing, make mistakes, are imperfect., because if we can't love ourselves, then how can we expect anyone else to love us?

Here's an exercise. Take a good look at yourself. Write down all the things you like - physical and personality traits, skills, accomplishments, good deeds, anything. The list may be long, or short, but there will be something. Do this for 30 days and by the end of it, you'll be in love - with yourself! It doesn't mean you will become narcissistic; it just means you will have the respect and esteem for yourself that you so easily give to others. And if you value who you are, then other people will too.

Falling in love with yourself is the start of a lifetime romance.
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