If you're like me, you grew up being taunted by your unfortunate, disproportionate or unusual appearance. Even though you've developed into a beautiful swan since you've reached adulthood, you have difficulty shaking the ugly duckling syndrome that was deeply ingrained in your developing brain during childhood.
In your mind, you're still the person you used to be, not the person you are today. While there are some downfalls to living your adult life with this syndrome, there are certainly some benefits to balance them out.
Here are the 14 signs of ugly duckling syndrome, as experienced by you, the now beautiful swan.
1. You have difficulty accepting a compliment.
At the hands of any kind words paid in your direction, you become uncomfortable and rebuke with a self-deprecating statement or silent rationalization of why the compliment can't be true.
2. The idea of jealousy pointed in your direction is baffling.
Because you can't rationalize that you are someone worthy of targeted jealousy, you have difficulty understanding the hostility you receive from other women.
You don't understand why women have the tendency to compete with you, and you can't fathom why the existence of "frenemies" is present in your life. You also put the blame on yourself for lost or undeveloped friendships.
3. You see yourself as a conversationalist, not an object of desire.
When you're out socializing in a bar or a nightclub, you're nice to people, but being approached by a member of the opposite sex is rationalized in your mind as an innocent conversation, not a pick-up tactic. When a stranger asks for your number or pays the bill from across the bar, you're shocked.
4. Stares from men (and women) come as an insult, not a compliment.
When out and about minding your own business, you're put off by eye contact with strangers. You become defensive and take the stare as an assumed insult, rather than what it truly is: a compliment.
5. Your vision is poor when it comes to noticing appreciation from others.
Though the stares you do catch from others come as an insult, they come rather rarely, since the majority of looks you receive aren't on your radar. Since you're not aware of your beauty, you're not on the lookout for others noticing it, and because of this, you hardly ever notice the appreciative glances in your direction.
6. The powers of your beauty are lost on you completely.
You don't realize you can get nearly anything you want or have almost anyone you desire based solely on your looks. Therefore, you rely on your smarts, your integrity and your inner strength to get ahead in life.
7. When beauty is expected, you become a neurotic mess.
You're much more comfortable being the simple, makeup-free you, and when beauty is expected for special occasions, you feel anxious and nervous. Suddenly you have nothing to wear and your makeup and hair are a mess. The object of beautifying yourself is, needless to say, a nerve-racking feat.
8. You opt for moral correctness.
You have difficulty fathoming how other women leverage their beauty in immoral ways, and the thought of such immorality gets your head spinning and tummy feeling woozy.
9. You value inner beauty.
Because you had no choice as a child but to turn inward to find your beauty, you now look for the same in others. You judge a book by what's inside, not the pretty cover.
10. You have high expectations in friends and loved ones.
You won't be friends with someone just because he or she is pretty and popular. Since you learned at a young age that values and morals are much greater than appearances and facades, you have high expectations of your friends.
You grow slowly connected to your friends, knowing it takes time to discover one's inner beauty, and once you've established a friend, you consider him or her a friend for life.
11. You have an undying need to stand up for the less fortunate.
Nothing gets your blood boiling more than seeing someone being bullied, picked on or humiliated by stronger (and meaner) individuals. When faced with these situations, you suddenly transform into a human rights activist, a raging protective figure, a knight in shining armor or a combination of all three.
12. You appreciate your privacy.
Though you've likely developed your social skills much more than those who were beautiful from birth, you still appreciate your privacy and alone time. You might light up a room when you enter it, but since you likely don't realize it, you prefer to light up your own quiet room, instead.
13. Other beautiful women inspire you.
Although an annual dose of inspiration is found watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, you truly look up to the women in your life who you believe are beautiful on the inside and out.
14. You aspire to be beautiful
...Not realizing you already are.
Do you think you might be suffering from ugly duckling syndrome? Well, as it turns out, there's no need to pay a visit to your therapist, since the benefits are clearly much greater than the side effects.
Just keep being the beautiful swan you are, and keep putting forth the many great lessons you learned as an ugly duckling.
Learn to give yourself credit once in a while, will you?