Dating

Dating: Who Should Affirm Our Beauty?

September 15 2014 | CeCe Olisa

One of my recent guilty pleasures is this dating show where the participants meet, naked, on an island, and try to find love (does any of you watch Dating Naked on VH1?). Anyway, in one episode, a female contestant seemed to be hitching her self esteem to the compliments of the naked meathead with whom she was riding horses. “He told me I was beautiful, so that made me beautiful…” she said.

I wanted to throw a pillow at my television screen and yell, “NO! You’re beautiful, period!” The premise of the show is pretty ridiculous in and of itself, but what I found even more outrageous was this woman’s inability to feel beautiful without her guy’s assessment.

And yet, a lot of us are guilty of fishing for compliments or looking to partners for praise. I’m certainly not exempt from this. The fact is, it’s not easy to only look within ourselves to affirm our beauty. I often talk about how confidence is complicated. I know from experience that being confident is a journey, not a destination, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a tough road. While I try to be self-assured and poised, others’ opinions (men’s especially), have had an impact on how I feel about myself and my appearance.

My dad raised me to believe that I’m beautiful, inside and out — and I’m grateful for that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in that protective bubble forever. Growing up, if someone I was crushing on didn’t feel similarly about me, I questioned my attractiveness. But, if a boy asked me to a dance, I could feel my self-esteem sky-rocket. In college, when I was single, I wondered if it had something to do with how I looked. But, when I started dating a guy who told me I was beautiful, well, then it was easy to believe I was.

Eventually, I began to realize: I was doing myself a disservice by allowing the men I did (or didn’t date) determine how I felt about myself. I mean, they call it self esteem for a reason, you know? Wanting to get off this exhausting roller coaster (feeling good about myself one month, lousy the next) I decided to return to what my father had taught me so many years ago: I’m beautiful — period. 

Dating Who Should Affirm Our Beauty

The thing is, I can appreciate the boost I feel when a man compliments my appearance, but it’s far more important that I feel good about myself regardless. I don’t want my positive self-image to be defined by the way a man sees me. I was able to put this idea to the test about a month ago when I decided to take out my hair extensions and rock my short, natural hair (you can watch that process if you’re interested). As I went from hair that fell down my back to a short cut that hits just below my ears, I knew I loved it.

But, although I felt gorgeous and had a spring in my step when I walked out of the salon, I worried that if my boyfriend didn’t like it, my bright mood would dampen. More than that: I knew that I wanted him to be attracted to me with my new ‘do. Still, I also told myself that what mattered most was how I felt about it. And, I meant it. The minute my man saw me, though, I could tell by the look on his face that he loved it. That took me from cloud nine to cloud 10.

And, it hit me: When our partners make us feel beautiful, it’s not a bad thing — as long as we also feel beautiful on our own. It’s kind of like that pair of jeans that makes your @$$ look amazing. Those jeans aren’t magic, but they might just have the power to make you feel hotter than you already know you are.

…Thoughts??? Do you think its our partners job to make us feel beautiful?

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42 responses on “Dating: Who Should Affirm Our Beauty?

  1. Phyllicia

    Great post Cece!
    It can be a challenge to see ourselves as beautiful especially when we never saw ourselves as such in the first place. That being said, I don’t think it is our partner’s job to make us feel beautiful. We need to work towards it ourselves but there’s no harm in enjoying our partner’s compliments.

  2. nurjannahbie2@gmail.com

    Great post Cece!It can be a challenge to see ourselves as beautiful especially when we never saw ourselves as such in the first place. That being said, I don’t think it is our partner’s job to make us feel beautiful. We need to work towards it ourselves but there’s no harm in enjoying our partner’s compliments.

  3. Atiya

    Nope. We have to believe it first before our confidence can be considered legitimate. If we don’t believe it first we fall into a vicious cycle of feeling good one minute and bad the next. That is not being fair to ourselves and to the God who created us all as unique.

  4. atiyahornebailey@gmail.com

    Nope. We have to believe it first before our confidence can be considered legitimate. If we don’t believe it first we fall into a vicious cycle of feeling good one minute and bad the next. That is not being fair to ourselves and to the God who created us all as unique.

  5. juliette

    Great post and perfect conclusion – it’s ALL good. Loving ourselves is the meal and others loving us is the dessert – not totally essential but a wonderful treat that makes everything brighter. Right on!

  6. yaqueen14@ymail.com

    Great post and perfect conclusion – it’s ALL good. Loving ourselves is the meal and others loving us is the dessert – not totally essential but a wonderful treat that makes everything brighter. Right on!

  7. Char Walker Young

    It is not our partners job to make us feel beautiful. That is my 100% my job. Of course, it is WONDERFUL to hear that from your partner…it’s like gravy on delicious, buttery mashed potatoes, it enhances the flavor, but doesn’t change the fact the they are already delicious, buttery mashed potatoes. Sorry for the food analogy, I’m hungry! LOL. Anyway, It took me many years to appreciate my own beauty. I am newly single (divorced after 20 years of marriage) and I am embracing my beauty all the more. Great post, CeCe!

  8. charwalkeryoung@gmail.com

    It is not our partners job to make us feel beautiful. That is my 100% my job. Of course, it is WONDERFUL to hear that from your partner…it’s like gravy on delicious, buttery mashed potatoes, it enhances the flavor, but doesn’t change the fact the they are already delicious, buttery mashed potatoes. Sorry for the food analogy, I’m hungry! LOL. Anyway, It took me many years to appreciate my own beauty. I am newly single (divorced after 20 years of marriage) and I am embracing my beauty all the more. Great post, CeCe!

  9. HisHandmaiden

    You can feel great about yourself, however, if you’re the ONLY one who feels that way, or you are in a “compliment drought”, you may feel discouraged, at least some times.
    I’ve had moments when I’ve been feeling great, and had men turn away to avoid giving me eye contact. Wow…
    I tell myself, it’s not me, it’s a them problem. Yet, I still would like to know that someone likes me just for me, just the way I am. (In my mind, I’m just as pretty, smart and caring, as the girl boo-ed up!)
    Of course I’ve had days when I look in the mirror, and say “Try a little harder”, but even then I remind myself, that I am beautiful, and even no one notices, I do…

    1. Cat

      I do not believe that anyone of any gender or sexual orientation is obligated to respond to romantic overtures. That said, it’s hard to put yourself out there whether it’s via online dating or just making eye contact with a stranger only to be rejected.

      It’s also hard to find the balance between bowing to societal pressures and norms on how to dress and behave and presenting your best self in a way that you feel comfortable with. I don’t think you have to walk out of the house with a full face of makeup everyday but I know when I’m trying (an appropriate amount) and when I’m not.

      So I guess I’m trying to say… I get it. And hang in there. 🙂

  10. hishandmaiden@me.com

    You can feel great about yourself, however, if you’re the ONLY one who feels that way, or you are in a “compliment drought”, you may feel discouraged, at least some times.I’ve had moments when I’ve been feeling great, and had men turn away to avoid giving me eye contact. Wow…
    I tell myself, it’s not me, it’s a them problem. Yet, I still would like to know that someone likes me just for me, just the way I am. (In my mind, I’m just as pretty, smart and caring, as the girl boo-ed up!)
    Of course I’ve had days when I look in the mirror, and say “Try a little harder”, but even then I remind myself, that I am beautiful, and even no one notices, I do…

    1. the.singing.songwriting.cat@gmail.com

      I do not believe that anyone of any gender or sexual orientation is obligated to respond to romantic overtures. That said, it’s hard to put yourself out there whether it’s via online dating or just making eye contact with a stranger only to be rejected.

      It’s also hard to find the balance between bowing to societal pressures and norms on how to dress and behave and presenting your best self in a way that you feel comfortable with. I don’t think you have to walk out of the house with a full face of makeup everyday but I know when I’m trying (an appropriate amount) and when I’m not.

      So I guess I’m trying to say… I get it. And hang in there. 🙂

  11. Cat

    I’m conflicted about this sometimes. I think it’s natural to want someone you’re dating to give you that validation and support the same way you’d want validation and support when it comes to things that aren’t related to your physical appearance. And yet I’ve never really looked for that in the guys I’ve gone out with (not having been in what I’d qualify as a real relationship yet).

    I’m confident in my choices when it comes to fashion and beauty and how I present myself to the world and yet I’ll admit to dressing for a guy if I’m going on a date. There are two specific compliments I’ve received in my life that stand out to me and it’s so odd that they do because they weren’t from guys who meant that much to me and they were such casual comments. I feel weird about that but it’s something I can’t really help. I don’t know if it’s ingrained in us as women to seek male approval or if I’m just placing undue attention on those two statements and they just happen to be things I remember because my brain has decided to store away some positive reinforcement.

  12. the.singing.songwriting.cat@gmail.com

    I’m conflicted about this sometimes. I think it’s natural to want someone you’re dating to give you that validation and support the same way you’d want validation and support when it comes to things that aren’t related to your physical appearance. And yet I’ve never really looked for that in the guys I’ve gone out with (not having been in what I’d qualify as a real relationship yet).

    I’m confident in my choices when it comes to fashion and beauty and how I present myself to the world and yet I’ll admit to dressing for a guy if I’m going on a date. There are two specific compliments I’ve received in my life that stand out to me and it’s so odd that they do because they weren’t from guys who meant that much to me and they were such casual comments. I feel weird about that but it’s something I can’t really help. I don’t know if it’s ingrained in us as women to seek male approval or if I’m just placing undue attention on those two statements and they just happen to be things I remember because my brain has decided to store away some positive reinforcement.

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