It was a typical July evening in Mumbai.
I boarded the local train from Dadar station to reach Thane.
I luckily managed to fit inside the overcrowded ladies' compartment. If you have had the chance to travel on the Mumbai local, you must be familiar with the hustle required to get on the train.
Here I was feeling relieved to be inside the train. However, at the same time, I was feeling exhausted from the struggles that I had to endure in order to get inside. A couple of mins later I started exploring my surrounding. A lady standing to my right was watching cooking videos on YouTube. The person to my left was on Instagram.
This lady standing in front of me was listening to BTS because I could clearly hear it through her headphones. I was saying to myself when would this journey end soon so that I can get off this rammed train?
Just then, the lady in her 30s in front of me made eye contact with me.
She smiled, and I smiled back.
She then removed her earphones and said, “ You are beautiful.”
I smiled shyly and replied with a polite "thanks."
“You have a flawless face.”
I could sense that she meant what she was saying.
And I blushed a little more.
During the entire journey back home, I couldn't help but think about why I don't feel that way about myself. I never thought of myself as someone who had a beautiful face or someone who had a perfect face. I always felt I had too many moles or my lips were dark.
A complete stranger could see my beauty and appreciate it, but I couldn't.
Is that because I have low self-esteem?
Global research into self-esteem, body image, and body confidence found that women and girls have difficulty recognizing their true beauty.
Only 4% of women worldwide think they are beautiful.
This research has revealed an universal issue:
As girls and women get older, beauty-related pressure increases while body confidence decreases.
Earlier this year, I stumbled upon this ad by Dove. The video depicted a social experiment in which women were asked to talk about their appearance to a forensic sketch artist who couldn't see them. He had to draw them based on their descriptions. The same women were then asked to describe other women.
The experiment found that sketches of women describing themselves were far more unflattering than sketches of women describing other women.
We are our own fiercest critics, as shown by this experiment. It is easy to see flaws in ourselves that do not exist.
I, personally, found this video to be very empowering. To me, it's a reminder that we were made perfect the way we are and that beauty is in every face. We can look at ourselves in the mirror and see all of our flaws but that is only because we are looking for them.
Remember, YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU THINK!