Ugly duckling syndrome. A seemingly warranted low self esteem, followed by a blossoming of beauty, but not accompanied by an appropriate boost in self esteem.
Why does this happen? How do you "fix"it?
Growing up, I was so.incredibly.awkward. Yes, I had braces, the iconic bad haircut, an upper lip full of dark hair, no sense of style, and not a lick of femininity. But I didn't care. I had accepted my ugliness.
Then, slowly, I started to care. I got tired of being made fun of and tired of being invisible. So, the braces came off, my hair grew out, I started paying attention to what everyone else was wearing, and I stopped wearing oversized t-shirts from my brother's closet.
I grew up being one of the guys because I knew the guys I was interested in would never be interested in an ugly duck like me. So instead, I would end up winning over their friendship with my dazzling personality (insert eye roll here).
But as I began to "change" people began to notice. There were times when the guys I was interested in started showing interest in me.
This was new.
So what happens when you're trying to charm someone and win them over? You make them feel special, desirable, wanted. You compliment them.
To many, this is fine. This makes them feel special, desirable, wanted. But to the ugly ducklings out there, it can be hard to hear these normally kind words.
Growing up ugly, you learn that often compliments on your appearance aren't sincere. You don't accept and don't trust these types of comments. Often these words were followed by a request or laced with snarky insincerity.
So even though you may be able to accept the noticeable difference in yourself, you may still have a hard time hearing it from other people.
But as someone who considers herself to be that ugly duckling, I can say that it's about time we learn to accept those compliments. Accept them with all the grace and poise of the swan you have transformed into.
It's important to know that, while there are some people out there who only compliment to get something in return, not everyone is looking to get something. Not everyone is trying to manipulate you. Not everyone is just blowing smoke.
The other side of this, is you need to own and accept how far you've come. You've morphed into something, someone beautiful.
Ugly ducklings are often beautiful people on the inside and out. They have often developed their personality to make up for their appearance. They are people who understand that looks aren't everything. They are often humble.
But don't be too humble. You are someone capable to change, capable of improvement, willing to grow. You are a truly beautiful person.