Opinion: Finding the true beauty within

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

An old boyfriend once suggested to me that if I didn’t have such fat legs, I would be “perfect.”

I feared to ask exactly what “perfect” meant. I always had been insecure about my legs. I have legs from my mom’s side of the family: Short and chunky. If there ever were a cankle, I have it. I hated my legs from about the age of 14, when I started hating many things about my body.

I was desperate and in such despair for my legs that I went to a plastic surgeon. It would take a very precise surgery to have them tapered and the muscle cut out. The doctor told me I was crazy and that I might never be able to walk the same way again — or even run.

But since I was there, he could quote me on a breast enlargement.

Gee. Thanks, doc. My legs are fine, but now you’re telling me that my boobs are too small and lopsided? (His words, not mine.)

I let others tell me what was right and wrong with me for years. I would take it personally and do everything I could to change. I wanted to be “perfect” for other people. The perfection standards I tried to live up to were other people’s opinions of me.

Needless to say, I did neither. I was not about to drop 10 grand for boobs or risk the chance of never running again. Thank God some common sense came into my head.

It was not until I learned to accept myself for who I was that I learned to really love me. When I could let go of people telling me who I needed to be is when I saw the true beauty in myself.

We all have insecurities. We all have had something about ourselves that we have disliked — things that we have wanted to change. Maybe it was your legs, your belly, your hair, your nose? We all have criticized ourselves.

But I learned something: How to practice self-love, grace and even liking my thicker limbs.

I have started to love myself on the inside, from the inside out. If you don’t work on that, you always will have insecurities. You will never be content, no matter how many surgical procedures you have. You will never be happy until the inside is at peace.

The more you tell yourself something is wrong, the more you believe it. But the opposite also is true. The more you tell yourself something is right, you believe it.

I no longer say that my legs are fat. I say they are strong. My legs carry me and have carried me for 39 years. My legs waddled around two twin pregnancies. They have run a marathon. They have never let me down, and I am not going to let them down by hating them.

Sure, they are hard to fit a tall trendy boot around in the winter months. But we all have our problems. I accept them, love them and would not want to live without them.

To the women who have an insecurity: You are not alone.

Every time you think of something negative about your insecurity, I want you to repeat three positives about it. The more you practice this, the more you might just believe it.

Your beauty lies within.

Addie Graffin is a freelance columnist and blogger based in Platteville, Wis. Read more at www.HealthyHairdresserAddie.com.

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