Most people think this children’s story by Hans Christian Andersen is a story of transformation when in fact it is a story of misperception. I know I did. I kept thinking as a little girl that the ugly duckling somehow turned into a beautiful swan.
I landed on this thought as I was walking through the grocery store and overheard a lovely young lady say to her companion, “I sent my photo to AmIUgly.net last night.”
“What?” My head snapped. I could not believe what I was hearing.
As soon as I got home I googled amiugly.net. The AmIUgly subreddit homepage delivered 102,000 results in about .021 seconds. And it gets worse. The first paragraph read:
“Do you have deep-seated insecurity issues? Are you constantly looking for validation from family members, colleagues, and retail staff? Instead of bothering your mom or your Instagram followers—who are already exhausted of commenting on your photos every time you go fishing for compliments—you should give the AmIUgly subreddit a shot. It’s a page that allows you to post a photo of yourself and get immediate honest feedback from more than 40,000 faceless strangers.”
I felt sick.
I had a flashback of Mother sending pictures to Daddy of his pretty little girl while he was away at war. Her favorite was one of me in front of the full-length closet mirror, arms stretched out, planting a kiss on my reflection in the mirror. I had just learned to walk. I am not sure if I was loving the baby in the mirror or just congratulating her for taking more than three steps without falling. Back then it was Mother and Daddy and teachers and preachers who helped walk me into who I was.
When did little girls begin to value and believe the online, always available “liking”, commenting, posting and messaging to the extent that they lose their identities? There is no time to discover who they are in their own uniqueness. They believe they are what is happening to them and the comments made about them. They seem to have trouble telling the difference between what is real and authentic and what is digitally manifested. They value themselves based on the number of friends and the number of “likes”. Their inspiration of how they should look and be comes from the media. Why can’t they understand that most of what is being presented to them has been airbrushed?
So what can we do?
Do we read the Ugly Duckling story and explain to our children that the ugly duckling became so unhappy, depressed and isolated that he didn’t wanted to live. Then, do we whisper, shout, lovingly hug them tight until they hear us, feel our protection and believe us when we say they have misperceived what is important? How do we get them to understand that the ugly duckling was never a duckling at all, but a beautiful swan, responding to misperceptions and harmful expectations?
Talk with anyone trying to love their girls and boys into knowing that they are worthy and have an exceptional purpose in this world. Then talk with children about their gifts and talents that must be harvested and deposited into this generation and the next and then, pray that they listen.
 http://thoughtcatalog.com/heidi-priebe/2015/05/strong-women-dont-fall-in-love/Until next time, remember,
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.