Do you remember looking in the mirror as a child pretending you were a star? Your hairbrush and bath towel transformed into a microphone and luxurious locks. You belted out the soundtrack to Grease and flipped that terry cloth hairdo giving Farrah Fawcett a run for her money. Or maybe that’s just me.

Whatever your story – there was a time in your young life – before braces and acne, crushes and hormones, you simply felt beautiful.

When we’re young, our feeling of beauty isn’t so much based on the external things we see, but it’s rather equated with how we feel. Beauty is nothing we stop to even think about, much less donate precious play-date time to obsessing over whether we measure up.

As we age, our hearts expand beyond an affinity for birthday hats and jungle gyms, and something happens with our perception of beauty. Our eyes jump off the pages and Hollywood screens on to our mirrors – and what was once seen as perfectly acceptable becomes a sorry ass imitation of what is actually real. We see flaws as nothing but eyesores and hideous differences between them and us.

There’s something utterly delicious about our flaws. We look at a scar on someone’s body and can appreciate their pain left in its wake. We feel the anguish in their eyes and want to convince them – it’s what makes them unique – who they are – even more beautiful.

One of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is the ability to shift our perception of what we see as flawed.

Flaws are real, honest. They don’t have to carry the hurt we give them. They can exist as reminders of how badass we are, for having survived the meat grinder of ridicule and backlash from the assholes who choose to point them out as “ugly.”

And let’s take a look at the word UGLY.

There’s nothing more unattractive than a mean-spirited heart. And that has nothing to do with your nose, scars, teeth, hair, skin, freckles, body fat, height, eyes, lips.

After nine surgeries on my face, and although they are a bit softer, I still have (and will always have) deep scars from a skin disease I was born with.

Is there a struggle with my perception of beauty at times? You betcha. But that’s when I remind myself of one of the most profound beauty lessons as the result of so much pain: the flaws are the best part.

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Post-surgery photo Early 20s. 4th of nine.

For more photos, check out my website.
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41 comments

  1. This reminds me of a commercial for a truck, the brand of which I don't remember anymore. Two ranchers were using the truck out in the fields, driving it hard over rocks and hills, through streams, under trees branches, and generally abusing it. The passenger said something to the driver about all the scratches he was getting on the body. The driver looks at him and says "scratches give it character". And so it is with people. Our flaws are what define us and make us unique.

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  2. Those events are just chapters in your life's story…whether put to paper like your's or just the regular Joe out there. They make you who you are — good or bad — and should be cherished.

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  3. The real challenge is absorbing this into our bones, you know? We know it is true on a rational level, even on a philosophical or emotional level. But it takes a lot of effort, or life experience? to really understand it at the most fundamental levels. Thanks for this, Christine!

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  4. The inner beauty and confidence make the outer beauty shine and become more radiant. When combined, both are more than the sum of both parts. It is something some people learn early on life, some much later.

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  5. I just read your blog for the first time, and I love this post. We tend to look away from our flaws, but many times they are what make us unique, and they are also the things that inspire us to grow and connect with others. Thanks for this!

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  6. I went from perfect image desire, to perfect job desire, to perfect boyfriend desire, now I just want time off and an easy life, but that's not in my mirror right now either :)Secretia

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  7. Beautiful post.Flies in the face of our current culture doesn't it? I'd rather think like you.For instance houses, old ones always speak to me; all the things said hidden in the walls. All that energy spent waiting to jump somewhere else.I super-duper enjoyed this post.

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  8. With my weight issues and body image, I still have problems not abusing myself or being negative.I'm trying to get on a different mental plane with it, but it's hard.Fat is just not acceptable, and as a child who battled weight problems, I still turn into that insecure Jr. High fatty on the inside and I want to shy away from everything.It's a battle loving yourself, one worth winning I know though.

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  9. I hope my 2 year old daughter naturally feels "booful" forever. And when I'm having a tough day in that respect, I try to emulate my kids' take on beauty–it's anything they want it to be.Best of luck with your book!

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  10. I like this post. Very much.Somedays I appreciate the flaws that I have and then other days….well, you know. I'll have to bookmark this page so I can jump back and appreciate.Thanks!:-)

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  11. @Chrissy – So far, it's blowing my mind. Very unexpected and challenging…but all good. :)@Deb – I know people say that adults are kids' lifeline, but I think it's the other way around. 🙂 @f8hasit – Thank you, girlie! It's a daily reminder for me to embrace the flaws. Some days are harder than others!

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  12. My ex never believed me… when she would list her flaws… that when I told her that I loved her for who she was… and that we had both changed over the years… she never knew I meant it… since the divorce, she has spent tons of $$$$ on all kinds of surgeries designed to make her feel better about herself… and they didnt work… she is still sad… poor thing…~shoes~

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  13. I wasn't really one to sit in front of the mirror with a brush and such. I was more of the stick paper clips in my mouth b/c I thought braces were cool.However, I'm a big fan of all my random scars. It's like walking around w/ souvenirs.www.ziazitella.wordpress.com

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  14. Hello you. Been awhile since I've popped over. How are things? Hope the manuscript is coming along well. Now going to do some backreading and see what I've missed out on.Hope your well matey.

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  15. Beautiful post – I'm saving it to share with my 11 year old daughter… she's on the cusp of womanhood and clinging to her tomboy ways (which I'm loving, but it means she's getting teased at school about her exterior… which always saddens me…)

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  16. What an amazing post!! Seriously, "The flaws are the best part" could not have said it better myself. What an amazing woman you are. I love your outlook on life, and your inner voice is nothing short of amazing. Have missed reading your posts terribly while I've been gone. I could not "heart" you more!!! I also love the "towel on head" reference. I seriously thought I was the only kid that did that!!!! That's too funny. Brought back some really cool memories… Thanks for sharing!!!

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  17. you're absolutely right. The flaws also make up the person you are and nobody is perfect.It takes a stronger person to admit faults then it does to ignore the obvious and never try to improve oneself.It also takes a strong person to admit the flaws and to be happy when one has reached a place where there is no more improvement which can be done.

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  18. Yes, our flaws give us character. It is still not easy looking in the mirror and NOT making comparisons of our own looks against the magazine models. But this struggle, if nothing else, makes us appreciate our differences.Plus, I still see in my reflection the gogo girl I longed to be at 10.Excellent post.

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  19. I love everyone's insight and additional thoughts on this subject. Thank you so much. It's lovely to see we all have the same idea of what is beautiful. We have overcome something in our own lives regarding this topic, and we are all more beautiful because of it. xxoo

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  20. Любить себя — значит праздновать сам факт существования своей личности и быть благодарным за подарок жизни.

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