What do you like about yourself? Think about it.
If you were forced to choose something about your physical self that you liked, could you do it?
Last week I had a conversation with a friend about physical beauty and the way our society defines it.
We want things waxed and nipped and tucked and plucked.
Enlarge the chest, chisel the waist.
Thicken the hair on our head, wax every other bodily strand.
Tan our skin, whiten our teeth.
Hair is curly? Straighten it.
Hair is straight? Curl it.
It's quite daunting to live up to these standards of beauty. This is the first year I have not had a tan since I was born, I do believe. NYC has not lent itself to sunny oceanside tanning for me and if I am being honest, I must tell you, the view I have of my own reflection is not as favorable toward my less than olive tanned self.
You find one thing wrong and suddenly the domino effect has taken place. I am pale. I should be tan. I look better when I am tan. I look skinnier when I am tan. I should be skinnier. But I can't lose my chest. Big chests are a good thing. Don't lose the good thing. Lose the one good thing and you lose everything and then you die!
Okay, maybe it's not that tragic, but sometimes feels like it is.
We have all manner of solutions to cure our inadequacies ranging from intricate surgery to weird mouthpieces you place over your own adult teeth to give you a better smile.
What we believe to be true about outward beauty is what we will communicate to the young eyes looking up to us. What do we want to teach them? Better yet, what do we really want to believe for ourselves?
I do not believe it is wrong to want to feel beautiful or to be the very best version of oneself. However, I do believe placing too much value on physical perfection will not only leave you dissatisfied, it will drive you mad.
I am not knocking surgery or waxes or even snap-on smiles. I just wonder what would happen to us, to our culture, to the young girl or boy looking up to us if we began to redefine beauty. If we put a higher emphasis on being our healthiest selves, physically and emotionally and mentally. More energy into our inward beauty allowing our physicality to serve merely as a mirror of who we are inside.
If we could look in the mirror and confidently say, I really love my eyes, instead of automatically finding 100 things wrong with the reflection. A healthy confidence.
I posted this quote here, but I think it's worth revisiting.
Everybody wants to be fancy and new.
Nobody wants to be themselves.
I mean, maybe people want to be themselves, but they want to be different,
with different clothes or shorter hair or less fat.
It's a fact.
If there was a guy who just liked being himself and didn't want to be anybody else,
that guy would be the most different guy in the world and everybody would want to be him.
So can you do it? Tell me one thing you like about yourself.
I assure you there is beauty to be found.