Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Redefining Beauty

I ran across this video on Facebook this evening, and I encourage you to give it a look.

It talks about the power of social media and the "selfie" trend to re-define beauty for the next generation of young women.  It talks about so many things that resonated with me - how we so often have huge insecurities regarding our physical appearance, how we have somehow become unable to recognize the beauty that is within each of ourselves.  

That speaks so truly to me.   Here I am, a 45 year old woman who struggles with my physical body every day.  Every. Single. Day.   I consciously think negative thoughts about some aspect of my body over and over, all day long.   I think it's the absolute worst habit I have.  

My negative image of myself affects everything I do.  As a careerist, I was continually conscious of how I could dress to earn respect, because I feared I didn't get respect automatically with my weight so high.   As a mom, I know I unwittingly instilled self-esteem and body image issues in my daughter - and perhaps in my son - because of how I felt about myself.  As a singer, I am ever so conscious of how I look in front of an audience, and it is the one thing about my performance that makes me feel "less than", or "not worthy".  My feelings about my weight have negatively affected portions of my relationship with my husband for a long time.

I have a friend who is going through some pretty big self-esteem issues right now because of her poor body image.  She has taken the reins and has committed herself to getting on track with nutrition and exercise so that she can become more healthy, slimmer, and thus feel better about herself.  On one level, I applaud her and I hope she is successful. In a different level, though, I am a little sad, because to me she is one of the most beautiful people I know.  She radiates with joy, she smiles and laughs and helps everyone around her do the same.  She is so positive and so encouraging to everyone around her, and such an energetic and enthusiastic lover of life.  I could go on and on with things about her that I find beautiful and worthy of rejoicing and praising.  So I'm sad that she feels inadequate, not pretty.  I'm sad that as a culture, we don't value the beauty that radiates from within.  I'm sad that she doesn't love herself as much as she deserves to be loved by herself.

And I'm sad that when I look inward, I see myself doing the same thing.   Don't get me wrong - I'm confident and strong and able.  I value the traits in myself that are useful in the workplace, and I know I was good at my job.  I value the traits in myself as a singer and coach, and I know I am good at those things too.  I'm a good mom.  I'm a good wife.  Daughter, friend, yes.   I know these things and I value those things in myself.

But I don't love my physical self. I haven't since puberty.  I am embarrassed and ashamed of my body.    I go back and forth on the weight thing - "I will love my body after I get it in shape."  versus "I love my body now.   And that's why I want to treat it well and be healthy".  My head says that the second sentence is better.  But it's really hard to get there, you know?

I think a lot of women in America feel the same way I do.   (maybe you?)  I don't really have any answers.  But I want "beauty" to mean more than just magazine photos.  I want "beauty" to be about the way you make people feel when they're around you.  About how you leave a trail of smiles as you pass by.   About knowing that you are doing good in the world with your presence.  About loving, and being loved, and including yourself in that love.  And I want this new, redefined beauty to be the one that is more valued than that other, glossy, skinny, perfect-looking one.   I don't know how to make that happen.

But the video above?  Yeah, I liked watching it.  It made me hopeful that there's a day when I'll learn to love myself when I look in the mirror.


I'd like to invite you to come back next Tuesday to my weekly "Happy Tuesday" Link Party.  Each week we're sharing anything and everything that makes us happy!  That's easy enough, right?   The party starts on Monday nights at 9pm Eastern, and lasts all day Tuesday.   Please come and join in! You can read more about the party by clicking on the image below.

Happy Tuesday

No comments:

Post a Comment