Saturday, August 24, 2013

Let's Be Honest, The Truth About Beauty

This post is going to be an open discussion and exercise about Self Acceptance. I'm going to ask you to do a few things in this post. I am going to plead with you to participate in a couple exercises as you read through this post. I would love it if you would post your answers in a comment below. If you are a blogger you could do a blog post containing your answers and link your post in the comments below.

1. List three things you would change about yourself. 

My weight
My skin tone
My voice

It took me less than 30 seconds to come up with those answers. I am fairly certain every woman could easily deliver 3 answers in less than a minute. I would also be willing to bet money on the fact that 95% would give at least one answer that involves self image. Let's be completely honest about what we think of ourselves.

2. Imagine you discover a video, that thousands had watched, highlighting all the flaws in your appearance. Write 3 sentences describing how you would feel.
I would be depressed for weeks and probably stay in bed for days.
I would feel disheartened, like a worthless human being.
Negativity would plague me for a very long time.

Kindly watch Lizzie Velasquez in the video below. Listen to her harrowing story. Learn how she managed to reclaim her beauty to become an inspiration for us all. It's a ten minute video but it's ten minutes well spent! She does discuss her religious beliefs, but I would request that my non-Christian friends watch as her story is inspirational regardless.

After watching this video, I would request that you be completely honest in answering this next question. Imagine how heartbreaking it would be to see these things posted on the internet with your picture attached.

3. List 3 facial features that make you feel unattractive. 

Wrinkles around my eyes and mouth
Several age spots, especially a large one high on my right cheek
Red, splotchy skin
Kindly watch the video below.  Dove has done an amazing job with this video. It will make you think about the negative things we say to ourselves. It left me in tears the first time I watched it. 

We, as women, are influenced by preconceived notions about beauty. We have allowed advertisers, marketers, agents, producers and such to define beauty for us. It is time that we broaden our definition of beauty. Over the centuries and over the miles, coveted features of beauty differ wildly. We often covet the opposite of what we are born with. In America, we find tan skin appealing. In Asia, they appreciate lighter skin. Women with curly hair utilize keratin straightening treatments and women with straight hair use curling wands, irons and rollers. Can't we just be comfortable in our own skin?

4. List 3 physical features that make you beautiful. 

My green eyes, they have a ring of gold around the pupil
My long legs, my height
My easy smile

I ask you to place these on a sticky note and stick them on your mirror for a week. Every time you look in the mirror read those features.

(I will post a picture of mine when I return home from my parents)

Beauty is more than skin deep. It's not just about facial features and body type. It's about character, it's about love and acceptance. We need to embrace everything that is beautiful about ourselves. We even need to embrace the things with which we struggle. After all, they are what makes us unique.

5. List 3 personality traits that make you beautiful on the inside. 

My positivity! No matter my pain level I can always find something to smile about.
I'm non-judgemental curiosity. I love learning about different cultures, religious, etc.
I'm understanding. I am great at listening to others' problems and helping them stay centered.

Let's embrace what makes us beautiful and work to improve what's lacking. It's the only way we will ever be happy in our own skin. Consider this, I found a deeper respect for my super fair skin after visiting the Philippines, where one can easily find skin lightening creams over self tanners. I have learned to appreciate that my smile can brighten someone else's day in spite of my slightly crooked teeth. The sway of a nice skirt when I walk can make me feel beautiful even if I feel it should be a size or two smaller. I have learned to embrace peace and calm, after my health has given me nothing but chaos. What positive changes can you affect in your life by embracing beauty rather than focusing on flaws?

In addition to answering the 5 questions above, I would request that you compliment at least three people a day. I find this easy to do when I am at work. Whenever anyone seems a little down when they enter the fitness center where I work, I will find something to compliment them on. Instantly, a smile crossed their face which makes me smile as well. You will find that if you do this on a regular basis, it's easier to see the good in others and, consequently, the good in yourself.

I say it's time to challenge the definition of beauty. It's time to embrace what makes us unique and to see the best in ourselves and others. Let's reclaim the power to embrace everyone as beautiful individuals instead of holding them up to some insane measuring stick. To all my fellow bloggers, I beg you to do a similar post on your blog. All others please feel free to share your answers in the comments below.