How do you define beauty? How do you perceive your own beauty?
The subject of beauty is one that inspires and destroys women, depending on how they view the topic and then apply it to themselves. The awareness of beauty is something that can lift us up and inspire. It is the energy of grace, enhancement and interest. On the other hand, if distorted, the feeling of lack of beauty can plague and destroy lives. We hear of young women who are unhappy and displeased with their looks, leading to health issues and illness. We hear of women struggling with their “weight” for lifetimes.
Our society has specific ideas of what being beautiful is. Every woman wishes to feel and be perceived as beautiful. It is part of our life journey and how we relate to ourselves and others. The multi-billion dollar businesses of fashion, make-up and fitness depends on the interest of women to want more…. more of what they don’t have yet.
I truly know every woman is beautiful.
We have inner and outer beauty. As they say “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. In this article I ask you to be the beholder of yourself. To step into your own beauty and see that there is the possibility that you can embrace your inner and outer beauty
Beauty is subjective and the value we place on certain aspects of beauty determines our perception.
I am inspired by Dove’s campaign for women. Dove teamed up with psychologist Dr Nancy Etcoff and self esteem expert Dr Tara Cousineau to create tools towards feeling good and beautiful simply by being YOU and enhancing compassion for yourself.
Dove’s website states: “Beauty is a choice available to all of us every day. However, it’s a simple truth that women all over the world don’t feel able to see themselves as beautiful.”
Women were filmed while entering a building with one door that had a large sign written: BEAUTIFUL
and the other door with a large sign written: AVERAGE.
Without any judgement towards yourself: Which door would have you chosen?
Sadly so many women could not enter the beautiful door way. This inability comes from many sources. A major source is how we let other peoples’ views affect us. Did someone in your past comment on your appearance? Did the photos in magazines clash with your own self image?
The director of photography for the Dove project commented on the idea in North America that “you can never be too skinny.” This sad perception in North American society is damaging and distorting the viewpoints of our young girls and women of all ages for that matter.
Feeling good about yourself and accepting yourself in the shape that you were created takes compassion and appreciation. Knowing you are made with specialness that no one else has is knowledge that enhances your whole self and your whole outlook on life. How we manage our feelings and thoughts will be the biggest help in this work.
Outer and Inward beauty is owned by all. You need to see it and most importantly FEEL it.
As a life coach I ask women a very poignant question: When you look in the mirror, how often do you feel:
” Wow, I LOVE what I see!”?
The responses will range but more times than not the answer is “not often” . Successful women in many areas of life will comment that they just don’t FEEL it, even if they see it.
Cultivating self compassion and love is a project. Beauty is about seeing your kindness, empathy, positive attitudes and yes, your body in the gorgeous shape it is in now.
A special note on weight:
Interesting facts: The average person spends 29 years of her life, or 6 months out of every year trying to shape her figure. Only 20% of people who try to do this by losing weight actually succeed at losing it and keeping it off.
Women drive themselves crazy on the topic of “how much do you weigh?”. We need to realize we are talking about muscles, bones and fat. We are talking about the outer shape of our selves: the body. We are not discussing our self worth or our inner essence. Our psyche and soul reside within. The focus needs to be on health, not on weight. Is your body at a healthy weight for you to carry yourself into your best life? Do you feel energetic and able to move with ease?
Magazines and videos carry images of women who are not the norm and perhaps not making healthy choices for their self care in real life. In order to be a model these days it’s all about skinny. Well, the average woman is not in that category. Why use this as the norm?
Mindfulness as a Tool:
The Dove Project suggests using mindfulness as the tool to help foster healthy body confidence for women.
Mindfulness is paying attention to your inner world. It requires a time out from the outer world and going inward. We pay attention on purpose to achieve the inner calm that creates goodness for our lives. It allows us to stop and see how outer images and opinions are affecting our judgement.
The practice of mindfulness will guide you to your positive life and body confidence. You need to take the time to step outside yourself and find peacefulness in your inner chatter. All it takes is 5 to 10 minutes a day….find a quiet, safe spot to be in….follow your breath and send yourself kind messages. Ask yourself creative questions and dialogue with the compassionate self within.
Your Fieldwork from this article:
1. Take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror.
a) How do you perceive yourself?
b) Is it realistic?
c) Do you see the beauty along with the “imperfections”?
d) Are you able to embrace your fullness, loving all parts of you no matter what?
2. Build your inner awareness of being kind to YOU:
Are you willing to compassionately give time to this project of mindfulness?
Take time each day to follow some mindfulness exercise.
Be good to you!