Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beauty redefined

Sunday in Bed via Lilylock, orignial source unknown

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.
Donald Miller

So can you do it? Tell me one thing you like about yourself.
I assure you there is beauty to be found.

22 comments:

  1. i love my eyes, i have grown to love my hair i just had to figure out over the years what to do with it, and i like how quickly my abs respond to sit-ups. perhaps i should do more sit-ups, though?

    accepting and loving your body is a long struggle, and it never ends, but the goal is to end up more to the side where you appreciate and take care of it. you only get one.

    really loved your thoughts in the post. AND, you need to tell us one thing you like about yourself (something tells me it may be that large chest).

    although, to be honest, i would looooooove to have that girl's skin. le sigh.

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  2. Colleen- I love my eyes and my chest and I am learning to love my wavy curly hair. Maybe you can teach me what you do with yours? Thank you for sharing.

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  3. This is such a lovely post! Thanks for this!

    I complain, a lot, about being so tall (5'9") but at the end of the day I don't think I'd want to be anything else. I'm also into the shape of my eyes (is that really weird?)

    Beautiful quote and picture.

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  4. Katie, I don't think that's weird at all. I appreciate your honesty and thank you for your kind words.

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  5. i would be happy to! i would say it took me 21 years to figure out my hair, but it was well worth it.

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  6. I love my smile and my hands. My hands look just like my mother and my grandmothers hands and ever since I was a little girl, I have loved that I shared that part of my self with them.

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  7. I like my eyes and the color of them. Live the post molly. I think this will take me a lifetime to figure out . Hopefully not. By the way, I think you always are beautiful.

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  8. Deanna- I love that. Such a special way to inherit part of the women you love.

    Linds- I don't want it to take a lifetime. You do have beautiful eyes. And thank you. :)

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  9. That is a great quote.

    I used to really like my flat stomach. But that is a thing of the past as of now because of how far it had to stretch to accommodate Westley.

    Just yesterday my Mom took a photo of Drew and I looked at it and instantly felt depressed because I looked at it and thought I looked terrible. I let it ruin the next 5 minutes of my life and then decided it wasn't worth it.

    All this to say is over and over again I get sick of caring and just want to love me.

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  10. I love my skin and that I can tan so evenly easily. I also like my shoulders - weird I know, but I think they're defined and I like that.

    I like everything about you, Mols! This is a good (albeit hard) lesson for me in the midst of my ever-expanding belly (and butt...and thighs...)!

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  11. Candis- I can completely relate. I hate letting that feeling take charge over me, but it is so hard to believe the truth sometimes, isn't it?

    For the record, you are beautiful on all accounts and I am certain Drew Jones and Westley feel the same.

    Val- I miss my tan so much this summer. That's one of the many things we have in common and it always made me feel like I could fit easily into your Italian family. :)

    Thank you for your sweet words, friend. Your ever expanding everything will be so worth it, I just know it.

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  12. this is so cool. what a great post. overall I am pretty comfortable with myself. I have short wide legs, but other than that on MOST days I am pretty happy. But I believe I was created by God, and made fearfully and wonderfully in his image. And that always helps me to improve how I view myself.

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  13. Thank you, Isabella. Your words ring with truth.

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  14. this is so true... there are definitely things I do not like about myself, but still without them i wouldn't be me.
    xox dana
    thewonderforest.com

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  15. I really love this post. It definitely made me more aware of my own self criticizing habits. Although there are improvements to be made to become the best version of the healthiest me, I need to appreciate the aspects of my physical appearance that I do like. The physical trait I like the most about myself is my eyes. They're a really bright green and I've always felt them to be very special and unique.

    Thanks for this post.

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  16. Yes! Very well said. I like my green eyes. "Green eyes...yeah the spotlight shines upon you..." - love that coldplay made a 'green eyes' song because before it was just 'brown-eyed girl'. :)

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  17. Such a wonderful thing to share. Women go through so many changes with their bodies over the years, it seems as soon as we get used to, and begin to appreciate who we are something changes that throws us all out of whack again.

    And yet, there is so much to cherish. I really like my feet from the top. From the bottom you can tell I grew up playing sports, but from the top, they look cute in shoes or even barefoot. I also really like my legs...so pretty much, me blow the knees!

    And my hair. I am grateful for good hair, even if I do have to wash it every day.

    I used to LOVE my mole, and then I had to have it removed and now it is a scar. I hope to grow to love my neck again, even with my scar.

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  18. Carolyn- I think you should claim that song as your very own. :)

    Shannon- The top of your feet. I love that. :) And I agree with you, seems we will have to remember the truth about ourselves through all the seasons of life. I have to wash my hair everyday too and I've always been envious of girls who go 2 or 3 days in between and still look like rockstars.

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  19. I love my eye color :) honey brown.

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  20. Carolyn, I love that song, too! Us green-eyed girls need to stick together. Like most women I have tough "image" days, but I have to remember where my identity lies.... and that's in the arms of my sweet Savior.

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  21. I like my hair and this may be the first time I have ever said that! I think I am in a place where I am finding it's okay to be me even with the frizz. LOVE this post!!!!

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  22. I have really amazing collar bones. It's true.

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