All too often, ‘beauty’ magazines do their best to make us feel ugly, fat, and completely undesirable. Probably because they are driven by advertising dollars for products that we don’t really need (22 shades of pink lipstick), don’t even work (wrinkle cream), or only look good if you look more like a skeleton than a woman. So, it is refreshing that Glamour magazine in the U.K. actually published a picture of a woman who actually looks like a woman.
This is a step in the right direction, to be sure, but there is a giant chasm still to cross. The beauty industry has systematically undermined women’s confidence for decades. All in the name of pushing products that will somehow magically restore our confidence (that was shamelessly robbed from us in the first place). We now live in a world where even the models don’t look as good as their photos in magazines. We are chasing an impossible ‘ideal’ that not one person can achieve.
So, clearly the system is outdated and not working. Rather than push against it, we can do something far more powerful. We can repair our collective self-esteem as women. How do we do this? Well, we start small. You can start by finding something to admire in yourself and others every single day. When you start looking for what you like, you find more things to like. You can also start a program of radical self acceptance. Repeat this affirmation:
“I Love Myself Exactly as I am.”
How does that feel? A little odd? Crazy? Outrageous? Good! Start wherever you are and embrace it. Just keep saying this little gem of a phrase until you begin to feel a shift. Basically, fake it till you make it. Eventually you will begin to believe that you are a worthwhile person without needing to drop 20 pounds or have perfect boobs or have flawless skin. Soon, you will find that ‘beauty’ is on the inside.
Beauty lives in the twinkling eye and the easy smile. It lives in the genuine ‘Thank you’ and the generous ‘Please’. Beauty is found in the warm hug of love and the hand that helps you up. Beauty is found in the tear that is shed over a stranger’s sorrow and the grassroots campaign to help change lives. Beauty shows her fine self in the careful kick-in-the-butt a friend gives us when we have lost our way. She flexes her muscles when she protects all the children, and all the homeless, and all the lost ones. She stands over the gate between life and death, she brings babies into the world and she midwifes us back into the eternal Love. Beauty is reflected in the eyes of our grandmothers as they hold our small children. Beauty is found when we look at our sisters and see all that she does, all that she gives, all that she lives. Beauty, you see, is already in you… and me… she is just waiting for us to see her.