When it comes to the world’s idea of beauty, who really “measures up?” Is it even possible when the picture of the “ideal body” is constantly changing? Not to mention that ideas of beauty vary from culture to culture.
I was born in the late 1950’s so the picture of physical beauty I grew up with ranged from Marilyn Monroe to Twiggy to Christy Brinkley. I also got a good dose of “stand up straight, don’t slouch” and practice walking with a book on my head for “good posture.” Everyone was striving for “perfect” 36/24/36 measurements.
My mother did not feel good about her own appearance and transferred her concern about her own weight to concern about mine. As a teenager I always felt fat. I always felt ugly. Now looking at pictures from that time I realize I wasn’t.
Growing up is difficult and adolescence is not for the faint of heart. It is a wonder that we (and our parents) survived this time. The awkwardness of trying to grow into changing bodies is something we do not realize will pass as it is happening to us.
The fresh faced beauty of a young teenage girl is amazing. But how soon does the pressure begin to change some things and cover up others? As a teenager I fought with my mother over wanting to wear makeup only to give it up completely in my 30’s.
I think it is important to remember that anyone can be a role model. A woman who is comfortable in her own skin and reveals her true inner beauty to the world can do more to help young women develop a healthy body image than all the supermodels in the world.
So the next time you are contemplating saying the words “I’m so fat” or “my nose is too big” or any other disparaging comments about your own body in front of your daughter stop and think. Is this really how you want her to think about herself?
“Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground – as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.” — Joyce Meyer
“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Popular culture makes a big deal out of what it considers physical beauty. Every day we are bombarded with messages that we are not thin enough, or too thin. Our skin is too dark or too light. Our hair is too curly, or too straight. Our eyes are the wrong color. We are flooded with advertising for products guaranteed to “correct our flaws” and make us “beautiful.” And those of us who do not measure up are bullied, shamed, and sometimes even physically attacked. This is especially heartbreaking when it happens to children.
But I have news for you. True beauty comes from within. No one is ever more beautiful than when the light of God shines through them.
On this New Years Day let’s take a break from thinking about resolutions and how we want to change ourselves. Let’s start 2020 thinking about true beauty.
“When we are still, all settles into place. We take time to see the beauty. We take time to see the heart. And we naturally gravitate to others that resonate that inner calm. When we are still.”
― Tom Althouse, The Frowny Face Cow