Opinion

How ugly are you?

Michael Saxon

Michael is the E&O Group Director of Hospitality & Lifestyle, CEO of Delicious & the author of Chefs Tales. Follow him on Twitter @Chefstales.

APRIL 4 — I was having coffee the other day with a friend of mine and nonchalantly commented on how well she looked. This surprisingly brought a frown to her face so I asked her what was wrong.

She then explained to me that she had been in a long, verbally-abusive relationship where she had been told on many occasions how ugly, stupid and worthless she was.

This seemed unfortunately to have a profound impact on the way she felt about herself, which resulted in her finding it extremely hard to accept any compliments concerning her intelligence or appearance.

Today I would like to touch on the word “ugly” if I may due to the fact that I find it disgraceful, disgusting and repulsive that one human being can destroy another human being’s confidence with harsh and callous words.

“Ugly”, according the “Webster’s New World Dictionary”, is described as many things including, “unpleasing to look at, aesthetically offensive, unsightly, vile, disagreeable, dreadful, offensive, objectionable and even repulsive.”

I made my friend stand in front of a mirror and slowly read out the definition of ugly one by one from the dictionary and when I had finished I asked her if she could see any of these descriptions in her reflection.  

It is my experience that if someone is told every single day for years that they are worthless, even if they are very confident and proud to begin with, they will eventually lose confidence and start to actually believe what they are told.

On the flip side of this logic, if they are lacking confidence and they are reassured every day that they are intelligent, wonderful and an overall beautiful person, after time they will start to believe this too.

I would like to propose that nobody should have the right or opportunity to deliver such damaging, heart-wrenching and torturous words to another and get away with it. Everyone needs and deserves that special someone in their lives to continuously reinforce in them their value, their obvious self-worth and their importance, as without this, they will be open to belittlement and the possibility of abuse resulting in a total lack of self-esteem.

Any educated person with confidence who is surrounded by loved ones will laugh in the face of any name-calling or insinuation that he/she is stupid or ugly.

I urge all of us who know someone with confidence issues, or know someone who has suffered such dreadful treatment as this, to make a commitment and help them repair, in any small way possible, the damage they have suffered to their self-esteem and confidence.

Take them for a facial, a spa treatment or to the salon. When their confidence has improved and when you see that they are smiling again, take them to sit in front of a mirror and ask them what they see.

There is no such thing as an ugly human being; every human being can be beautiful if they feel confident in themselves, every human being can be happy if they are surrounded by people they love and who love them. Every human being can feel important if they are contributing to a relationship or to society and if they are made to understand that their contributions are valuable.

If I may, I would like to request anyone who has confidence issues or has ever been through a terrible abusive relationship to sit in front of a mirror, close your eyes and think about someone or something that makes you happy. When you feel totally relaxed, open your heart to the possibilities for your future and the realization that your dreams really can come true.

When you have done this, open your eyes, give yourself a warm smile from deep inside your heart, look directly into the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I ugly?”

You and I both know the answer to that.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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