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From the Outside Looking In

A simple, yet powerful observation...

As a current young adult attending university, my self-esteem is a finicky thing that's being reconstructed and re-established as I learn more and more about who I am. My confidence has changed quite a bit regarding certain subjects in life, as it's expected to do. 

One thing regarding my ever changing self-esteem that has stayed the same, and probably will always stay the same, is my comparison of myself to others who I think lead better, more perfect lives than my own.

Attending a university with the daily population of your hometown allows for you to constantly compare yourself to an ever-changing population of people. I must see about 100-200 girls daily in the halls that seem to have everything regarding confidence solved. Or at least, something about the hoards of people surrounding them makes you think so. 

I was confused at first, because a lot of these other girls I find myself watching aren't particularly stunning physically, but receive the same attention from the group of people that surrounds them as a fitness model receives likes on Instagram. They always have flocks of people around them, all of the surrounding eyes of said people will be glued to the girl with the plain Jane look. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm used to seeing a big group of people surrounding a pretty girl, ahem high school, but that's just it! These girls weren't stunners or models like the ones I remember from years back. They were regular girls, wearing regular no brand clothing, no makeup. 

"What is it?" I thought, "Sorcery?" As someone not even close to Instagram model status, I was instantly drawn in and wanted to confront them to demand the answer.  "How do people seem so drawn to you?" I wanted to demand, "Why am I so drawn to you?"

For obvious reasons I did not do such a thing, however, I did contemplate and pulled many all-nighters trying to figure out what made them so attractive. I came up with solution after solution, none of them seeming fitting enough. Then it hit me, maybe the girls themselves aren't movie star glamorous but maybe something else about them is. 

Their personality, their characters, their morals- all of these contributing factors must have had something to do with the fact that these girls were gathering people like herds of sheep. 

As simple of an idea it may seem, it was a foreign one to me. Beautiful without being beautiful? Seemed like a lie, like something my mother would say because I didn't get a date to prom. "

Its what's on the inside that counts dear," she'd say. But maybe she was on to something. 

I, of course, needed evidence. So I set to work where the best place to watch people was, as non-creepily as I could while doing homework. Starbucks. I saw tons of different kinds of people, but I was mostly concerned about two types in particular—the beautiful ones I originally thought attracted a lot of attention, and the Plain Jane ones that ended up doing so effortlessly. 

What I saw flabbergasted me: the physically gifted women were always alone, always looked sad or mad or just unapproachable. They were head turners sure, but always showed up individually, one head accounted for.

Now, on the other hand, these plain Mary-Sues showed up in never less than groups of three, but the main difference? Everyone was smiling.  Even though I categorized them as being less worthy of my visual attention, I found myself glancing at them for longer much more easily than the icy beautiful girls. 

What could this mean? Perhaps I was right, or perhaps my mother was right, rather. (No surprise there). Something about radiating positivity, happiness, and contentedness from the inside really must do more for your attractiveness than what you're born with. 

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April 12, 2014