You have no way of verifying this, but I’m an average looking girl (sorry, woman; I haven’t got to grips with the fact that I’m an adult now). However, I grew up in a Pakistani community which mistook my paleness for beauty, so I was fortunate enough to be told that I’m pretty and that I’m beautiful. Maybe that’s the reason why I’m sitting here, comfortable enough in my own skin, to be writing this blog.
You see, I hear people talk too often about how ugly they are and what they hate about themselves. I see too many girls plastered in so much makeup that it actually makes them worse than their natural face. And I just feel so bad for them. I know that probably makes me sound patronising, but honestly I just think it’s terrible that so many people are not comfortable in their own skin and actively try to change or hide so much. Or if they can’t change it they wallow in self-pity due to their “ugliness”.
I have a typically Pakistani, long nose, and I don’t want to swap my glasses for contacts because my glasses do just enough to not let the dark circles under my eyes dominate my appearance and currently I have an outbreak of spots because apparently my face is making up for the fact that I missed the spotty teenager stage. But I still am confident enough to go out in public makeup-less.Alhamdulillah.
I’m not telling anyone to not wear make up … in fact, I’d probably use it to cover my spots, if I didn’t fear looking like a clown, as I’ve never applied foundation on myself before. But I feel like too many people don’t accept and appreciate the beauty that Allah (swt) has given them … though I can understand why. Maybe they were too dark/skinny/fat for those around them so, unlike me, they didn’t grow up with votes of confidence. Maybe, it’s the bombardment of “beautiful” (read:photoshopped and unnatural) models and celebrities. Maybe, it’s society’s general attitude towards beauty and the construct of beauty that is sold to the masses. That same construct which only sees and sells beauty to the young and the fair and the stick thin, which doesn’t allow you to question why your natural self can’t be beautiful. Why do you need to put all these unnatural chemicals on your skin?
I can’t tell you what is and isn’t beautiful since “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” but it’s important to try to switch off from the mainstream ideas for a bit, look away from all the digital images, and remind yourself that everyone looks different without all that make up and Photoshop. So what if you’re not *as* beautiful as *those* people. Different isn’t a synonym for ugly.
Allah created us in various shapes and sizes, He told us
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”
[ Quran 49:13]
The Prophet told us that no Arab is superior to a non–Arab and vice versa. This ayah and the teaching of the Prophet should be a reminder of not only the obvious – that piety is what counts, but that it is *natural* for us to look different, to have different skin colour, face/eye/nose/body shape. So, how can we give in to a universal idea of beauty when it’s so unnatural for so many of us? Why do we need to bleach our skins or get fake tans when Allah made us perfectly? Why can’t we be happy with what we look like?
As I alluded to earlier, I do look in the mirror, see my flaws and think “urghh” or “I look horrible”, butAlhamdulillah it’s not a feeling that affects my self-esteem (say masha’Allah, thanks :p). Flaws are natural, humans are imperfect beings that will always seek perfection, so not liking your flaws is also natural, but I really hope everyone can accept those imperfections and accept they’re human instead of letting their appearance affect them so negatively.
And remember that our character adds to our beauty, so you’re better off putting your time, effort and money into trying to perfect your character instead of your God-given appearance.
Side note: looking decent and presentable and being healthy is from the Sunnah, so don’t completely let yourself go or anything!