Watch This Video the Next Time You Feel Ugly

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I like to know whether or not I am going to be in the presence of a crush or boyfriend, because I like to be prepared. A party, meeting, or event with a potential romantic partner in attendance means careful thought goes into my outfit, Frizz-Ease goes into my hair, eyelashes are both curled and laquered. There’s a myriad beauty to-dos to check off my list before I consider myself worthy of standing in front of a man I’m romantically interested in.

If (heaven forbid!!) I run into someone when I’m least expecting it, such as on my way home from the gym (that’s happened) or coming home from the vet after my cat died (yep) or in my pajamas buying Weetabix at 11 pm on a Saturday night (uh-huh), it’s a catastrophe.

Because I think (and a lot of other women think) that the difference between when I look good and when I look horrible is a lot more noticeable than it probably actually is.

Happily, the new Dove ad that’s gone viral today is a bit of a wake-up call. In it, a forensic artist sketched women based on their self-descriptions, and then again based on the description of a total stranger. The differences between the two drawings were astounding: women tend to see themselves as a collection of flaws, but the drawings dictated by strangers presented much more open, affable, and lovely portraits. Watch for yourself:

It’s a good thing to keep in mind when you freak out about your appearance (which we all, at some point, do). Even if your internal monologue is losing its mind over your lack of concealer, bout of puffiness, or whatever other petty attribute you love to scrutinize, there’s very little chance that he is thinking or even noticing the source of your hangup. And (depressing trips to the vet, aside), your range of looks, from your best to your worst, is probably nowhere near as drastic or apparent to anyone else as it is to you. In other words, make-up, rest, and confidence all help, but you look like you on a good day, and you still look like you on a bad day. And in general, you’re far far more pleasing than you think.

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