Read this if you're feeling ugly today

Yesterday I posted a photo of me on Instagram where I thought my face looked ugly. I only had concealer and eyebrows on, and the photo captured me on my wrong side with bad lighting on top of that. If you know me, I almost never do this. I’d rather “throw” away what could be considered a good or at least interesting photo if my face so much as looked like it was wrong (to me). I have hundreds of photos I could have posted in my travels and my daily life that simply didn’t get shared because of this.

I have been living and building my work online for the past eleven years as a beauty blogger so yes, I do feel very conscious of the way my public photos turn out. I didn’t really use to be like this - not at first anyway. It started when readers would come up to me and say “Mas maganda ka sa personal!” (“You’re prettier in person!”). This is usually followed by a you-look-so-different comment. They tell me this 7 out of 10 times! I’ve always felt conflicted about this. On one hand I’m flattered, of course. It’s a well-meaning compliment! On the other I wonder, so what do I look like online then that people are so surprised to see me in person?

This is a knot I’ve had to unravel for many years. What I did realize at the end of the tunnel though is that the way others see me does not have to be the same way I see myself. They can be two entirely different things that exist in the world. It sounds simple, no? It is. But it takes a lot of self-awareness and courage to think this way.

I think I am beautiful in all the ways that matter to me. It’s okay if other people don’t agree; they don’t look at my reflection in the mirror every day so they don’t see what it takes for me to thrive in my world. How can they know, really? I believe that the biggest favor we can do for ourselves is to be at peace with the way we look like so we can move on to dreaming new dreams and building new things.

You’re beautiful. Now stop feeling ugly and do great things with your mind and your bare hands.