Tag Archives: Beauty

Real Beauty

20 Apr

Dove “Campaign For Real Beauty” photo exhibit

 

 

I just watched the Dove Real Beauty Sketches. If you haven’t seen it yet, go back and click on the link. Take 6 minutes and allow your mind to be blown. The description before the video states that only 4% of women around the world believe that they are beautiful. 4%. That is a depressingly low number. 4%. I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

 

That means that 96% of women believe that they aren’t beautiful. That means that 96% of us see only our flaws when we look in the mirror. We focus on things that others overlook. We can’t see past the imperfections to see anything beautiful. We can’t possibly be beautiful because of this reason, or that reason. We are just a compilation of one flaw after another.

 

Like many women, I could list many things I would change about myself if I could. I believe that I am a great person; a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, good at my job, honest, caring, funny, and so on. I know that who I am is not directly connected to the way I look. I know that I am more than that. But, when I look in a mirror, I always dislike what I see. If I had to list the beautiful things about myself, I could find 2 or 3; and that would be on a good day. My question is, how does this effect who I am? Does this make me generally unhappier? Does this make me less than I could be? Does this take away from what I could become?

 

I have a very interesting story. I got married a year ago. That means that about 18 months ago, I was wedding dress shopping. Before this moment, I had lost about 75 pounds. I had worked very hard to better myself. Now, wedding dresses are not the exact size that you wear in everyday clothes. So, the sales lady asked me what size dresses I thought I would be trying on. I gave her a number, based on what size pants I wore. She laughed and looked at me like I had no idea what I was talking about. She estimated another size and suggested that I start there. I thought she was crazy, but I went with it. She was right! And, I wasn’t just a little off. I was off by 3-4 sizes. In reflecting on that moment, I realized that my perception of what I looked like was so unbelievably wrong.

 

I would love to say that that moment changed my life. That I was able to begin working on my self-image and made huge strides. I didn’t. I tried to be more realistic about what size I wear and threw away several bags of clothes that I had been wearing that were much too big for me. But, I am far from looking in the mirror and seeing beauty.

 

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches video is touching and eye-opening and shocking. But, it got me thinking. I wonder how a stranger would describe the way I look. More, I wonder how my husband, my children, and my best friend see me. The people who love me and believe that I’m beautiful. How I would love to see myself through their eyes.

 

I have such a passion to see the world changed. I have such a desire to see the way women see themselves changed. I have dreams that my children will grow up in a society that promotes real beauty and encourages people to embrace their individuality and uniqueness. I want to believe I’m beautiful, and I want you to believe that you’re beautiful. So, go look in the mirror. Look only for the beauty. Don’t focus on the imperfections or things you would change. Look at how beautiful you are.

 

 

After all, Dove is right…… “You are more beautiful that you think.”

 

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Words

24 Feb
Bucket List word cloud #3

Bucket List word cloud #3 (Photo credit: mccmicb)

I am a big fan of words. I love song lyrics, Bible verses, books, and quotes. I love the words that make me laugh. I love the words that make me cry. I love the words that make me think. I love the words that resonate deep in my soul.

I think that words are one of the most powerful tools we posses. My heart has been broken because of words. My spirit has taken flight because of words. My smile has been unstoppable because of words. My future was decided because of words. They are so often spoken without thought; despite the profound effect they can have over our lives. One of my favorite thing about words is that they can mean something different to different people. They can mean something different to the same person at different periods in their life.

I have a notebook full of words. Song lyrics, quotes, etc… that I have been writing in for a big part of my life. Each time I hear or read something that touches me, I write it in there. It’s like the spoken soundtrack of my life. I love to take it out and read it and let those words reach into my soul all over again. I would love to share with you one of my favorites.

“The heart has reason which reason cannot understand” – Blaise Pascal

Do you have the appreciation for words that I do? What do these words mean to you? Feel free to share some of your favorite words with me. Maybe they’ll go in my book too.

Redefining beauty

4 Feb

Something horrible has happened. Something we may never be able to shield ourselves or our daughters from. Something that has been happening for a long time. Beauty has become unattainable for most of us.

What has happened to our perception of beauty? Look at the beautiful women and sex-symbols of the 1950s; Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Bettie Page. Look at The Birth of Venus, or any of the art from the Renaissance. But somewhere along the way, all of that changed.

Men are constantly being surrounded; through tv, magazines, cd covers, movies, etc… with the women whom are considered beautiful by society’s standards. And every time my husband stops to look at a magazine, or freezes for just a second while flipping through the channels (and he definitely doesn’t do it often), these are my thoughts:

Carrie Underwood…. My legs look nothing like that.

Pink…. I could never look like that in a bikini.

Miranda Kerr….. Her boobs.

Heidi Klum….. She’s had how many kids? I’ve had one and stretch marks have accompanied me ever since.

The list could go on and on. (And in the interest of not sounding judgemental, I know that most of those women work very hard to look the way they do. And they are beautiful!)

My husband, like many of yours, could compliment me 100 times a day, but years of being shown I’m not beautiful are hard for him to compete with. Hundreds, probably thousands, of images of “real” beauty are hard to deny.

I am in no way saying that we shouldn’t have goals or better our health. Obesity is not healthy. I know this.

However, size 6 is NOT plus sized. The average woman is much closer to a size 14. And all of those cute clothes and gorgeous dresses. They aren’t made in that size. In most stores, that size is located in the “women” or “misses” section. You might as well call them “fat clothes” because that’s what we feel like when we shop for them.

I will never forget my moment. The moment I saw a curvy, real woman and thought, for possibly the first time in my adult life, “She is beautiful. She is real and she is beautiful. Maybe I could be beautiful too.” Sara Ramirez. Grey’s Anatomy. There is a scene, several seasons ago, where she dances. In a basement. In her underwear. She’s beautiful. And she is also, from that moment on… One of my heroes. I wanted her confidence. I wanted her sassiness. I wanted to be her, in that moment. (Well, making out with Mark Sloan didn’t hurt, either.)

Some of the most beautiful women I have met are not thin. What they are is confident. Happy. Self-assured. Beautiful.

So, my new goal in life is to help change the definition of beauty. To help little girls know that they are beautiful. To help women know that they are beautiful. To help men realize that the pausing on a tv channel, and ogling magazine covers, and the “innocent” comment about the woman in the movies, is hurtful. And even the most innocent comments only cement what we already think of ourselves; that we could never possibly compete.

The challenge for today:
Ladies: Look into a mirror and find five things that are beautiful about you. Five. Now say them out loud. And tomorrow, find five more. Rinse and repeat.
Fellas: Tell your wife (and your daughter, and your sister, and your mother, and the old lady across the street, but especially your wife) five things that are beautiful about her. Five. Make her believe it. And tomorrow, find five more. You get the idea.

And slowly, even if it’s one woman at a time, I pray the world will change it’s perception of beauty.

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