By Lisa Sugarman
Lisa Sugarman

My forehead is just too darn high. I wish I had more thigh gap. This Bohemian-looking curly hair is throwing me over the edge. Why canít I be just 2 inches taller? I wish I had thicker eyebrows. If only my index toe looked a little less like a finger and a little more like a toe.

If youíre a girl, or, for that matter, a guy who has a wife or a daughter or a sister or a girlfriend, then youíre either saying or hearing things like this on a pretty regular basis.

Thatís because, according to the Dove beauty products company, only 4 percent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. I say again, only 4 itty-bitty percent. That leaves another 96 percent who think theyíre somehow flawed. And as far as Iím concerned, as the mother of two daughters and a girls cross country coach, that s**tís gotta stop.

I see it every day, girls beating themselves up about everything that they arenít instead of celebrating all the beautiful things that they are. I see it with my daughters. I see it with my friends. I see it with strangers. Because, in addition to writing, I work in a school where I see it constantly. And itís sad. Itís sad because if we siphoned off even a fraction of the time we spent feeling inadequate and repurposed it to honor the things that make us unique and beautiful, weíd put the anti-depressant drug companies out of business. Because, in the same way that muscle weighs three times more than fat; praise weighs at least three times more than criticism.

Look, Iím sure it would take very little effort for me to write 800 words about the things I wish I could change about myself. In fact, Iíll bet you cash money that none of us would have a problem scribbling down a whole list of things weíd like to transform.

But be honest, doesnít it seem a little absurd to you that most of us focus on everything thatís wrong with us instead of everything that makes us beautiful? Because, when you think about it, conflict, at its roots, stems from unhappy people. And if people could just learn to be happy in their own skins, I think theyíd be less inclined to bitch about, well, everything else. Cause in case you havenít noticed, itís very rare to find a truly happy person whoís also a complainer.

You and I both know that most of us spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the things we wish we could change and not nearly enough time celebrating the things that make us the beautiful people we are. Thatís because, somewhere back in history, some moron decided to come up with the phrase nobodyís perfect. And while thatís absolutely, 100 percent true, I think it may have caused almost all of humanity to try to prove that wrong and be the first.

Itís just too bad that way back in the beginning, mankind didnít interpret it the other way around and felt relieved by the idea that perfect is unattainable. I honestly think it wouldíve taken all the pressure off every one to try to measure up.

See, I know itís become human nature to dissect ourselves, no matter how centered or grounded we are. We just canít help it. Even in spite of our best efforts to withstand the temptation, weíre all more or less incapable of shutting off the urge to focus on our flaws. And I think thatís just because everywhere we turn there are always people around us who we just keep comparing ourselves to, even when we know we shouldnít.

We start out doing it as kids, always measuring ourselves against the faster or taller or prettier or smarter or more popular kids. And we keep doing it as adults, constantly comparing ourselves to the people we work with, or our friends, or our neighbors. Too many people have this crazy-looking yardstick that they measure everything against ó one that measures things like stuff and status instead of heart and soul and inner beauty. To me, it seems like 96 times out of 100 the things we beat ourselves up about are actually the things that the rest of the world loves about us. Ironic, isnít it?

Letís do this: Every time we get the urge to diss ourselves, do what George did on ďSeinfeldĒ and reverse it. Do the opposite. Force yourself to replace the diss with something positive. It worked for George. His entire ridiculous life turned around and everything started going his way. So I feel like itís got a good chance of catching on for the rest of us.

So repeat after me: I feel pretty, oh, so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity any girl who isnít me tonight.

There, now doesnít that feel better?
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at She is also the author of ďLIFE: It Is What It IsĒ available on