I am on Facebook a lot these days, simply because I am unemployed and sadly some of my most meaningful human interactions come through Facebook.
I was on Facebook this past week and a friend of mine had mentioned how her daughter was being treated because she’s overweight.
This got me thinking. It was explained in the post that the daughter has health issues and they are working to correct them and hopefully with some good diagnoses she’ll get to a good weight.
This really got me thinking about what we as a society think beauty is. It got me thinking about the days when I was a size 18 and the guilt that went along with that. I used to walk 3 miles each day and ate, not exactly healthy but nothing that would be adding more and more weight each year. I was constantly ill but still big. I had no idea why I was gaining weight and no clue how to make it stop.
I had two chins and had to shop in the plus size department, where clothes are ill fitting because I guess plus size designers think that if you add more room for boobs or more room in the front of pants that it will fit every plus size woman. I had no need for the extra room in the front of my pants and my boobs were never as big as the shirts that fit over my belly wanted my boobs to be.
The clothes I wore hid my body and had me feeling like I needed to hide all the time. I can still remember shopping in Fashion Bug and having to leave the Misses department and walk into the Plus Size department. I was literally crying in the middle of the store because I had to cross that divide.
What I felt in that moment was certainly not beauty.
During this time I was also annoyed with the messages I got from the stores I bought my clothes. I was shopping for Plus Size clothing and the models were a size 12. To buy clothes at Lane Bryant you have to be a size 14 at least and their models are a size 12. Does that make sense to you?
The message that sends to me is that women who are bigger than a size 12 (most of the population) are not beauty or beautiful. Does that make sense to you?
I picture this friend’s daughter and see her soul. I wonder how much she cries, how much she doubts her beauty because of her size.
So what messages of beauty should we be sending that we aren’t?
I’m still a huge fan of Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful because it emphasizes the need to see beyond what people say and see and see for yourself that you are beautiful.
I think one of the toughest lessons to learn is that: how you perceive yourself is the only thing that matters.
To a child that doesn’t know who she is, this is difficult. To an adult who knows who she is and is comfortable in her own skin no matter what size she is, it’s powerful.
You know the phrase, “beauty is more than skin deep?” I looked it up and found this definition on Wiki Answers, “Beauty is more than skin deep means a person can be beautiful inside and out. Their personality can shine through and be just as beautiful as your outside looks. It also means that inside of every beautiful person is something better that should be noticed more than their looks. Looks are good but personality is better.”
I really love the part about personality being better than looks. I have met my fair share of people who are beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside. It means so much more when someone is beautiful on the inside.
So how do we go about making sure that we emphasize the beauty on the inside? How do we tell children that are outside of what is deemed “normal” that they are special and beautiful?
The only thing I can think of is affirmation. If you are an adult woman or a child, stand in front of a mirror with someone you trust and list out the things you like about yourself, the things you wish you could change, and the things you can change.
Maybe you wish you could lose 10 lbs but its not a realistic goal because of physical limitations but you also wish you could change the color of your hair. Then change you hair.
Maybe you love your fingers but wish your clavicle wasn’t as prominent (yes we women think these crazy things). Then wear bold nail polish and gorgeous rings.
Until we become comfortable in our own skin we need to affirm the things that we like. We need to emphasize them and down play what we consider our faults. Then we can move on to the important stuff: how we really see ourselves and being comfortable with who we are.
If you have someone in your life who doesn’t like the way they look or are made fun of because of how they look then you need to speak affirmation into their lives.
You need to make it a point to compliment them every time you see them. Start with what’s on the outside, focusing on what you deem their strengths, then focus on the inside. Calling out the beauty of their character.
I lost a significant amount of weight when I had to go gluten free for health reasons. But before I lost this weight I found a comfort-ability with who I was and how I looked.
It’s important for you to like yourself no matter your size because your opinion is the only opinion that matters.
Beauty is more than the messages we see outside, it’s what’s inside and its connected to how we see ourselves.