Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or is it? Are we as individuals really capable of deciding what/who is beautiful without the influence of societal cues? Think for a moment about the physical attributes of the ideal women or man. I submit that it will be challenging for you to separate your feelings about attractiveness away from those widely held across society. Does this really matter you ask? The accelerating rate of eating and body image disorders as well as the popularity of plastic surgery suggests that it does.
Beauty is a stereotype that is defined by consensus opinion in our society, and recognizing that is the first step to feeling comfortable in you own skin. The next time you go to thumb through your favorite fashion magazine, take the time to meticulously count the pages that are dedicated to beauty advertisements. Next, compare the number of advertisements to actual “content” pages, like “How to get a toned tushey while sitting down!” While you might not be surprised to find that advertisements can take up the majority of the space of such magazines, you may miss a subtlety: the people who are telling you what is beautiful are often the ones selling you a product that promises to make you that way.
Fashion and cosmetic industry executives have a vested interest in having you feeling less than beautiful. Why? It makes it a whole lot easier to sell you a cure. This is not to say that these industries are inherently evil or manipulative, only that they play a key role in formulating how society defines beauty, and they do so to make a profit. By recognizing this, you can choose toaccept or reject these “definitions”.
Easier said than done, right?
It is very difficult to transform your thinking around beauty and body-image immediately, but step-by-step you will ultimately make a positive difference for yourself, as well as others. Once you realize that you have the power to choose the definition of beauty, you will be ready to incorporate action steps that will support your journey. I believe that in order to heal these kinds of issues powerfully, it is important to work with people from the inside – out. Below is a holistic approach in healing body-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence issues.
- NOURISH YOUR BODY WITH ORGANIC WHOLE FOOD. It is my belief that when we eat processed, artificial junk food (diet and regular sodas, diet foods, candy, chips, cookies, processed meats, fast food, etc) that our body and brain cannot not function optimally. The food that we eat affects our muscles, organs, bones, tissues, blood, brain and ultimately our thoughts. It is hard to generate healthy positive thoughts and behavior changes if you are not eating healthy foods.
- DEVELOP A REGULAR FITNESS ROUTINE. Participate in a balanced fitness routine that incorporates some cardiovascular activity, strength training, and flexibility. When we don’t move our bodies regularly, our bones, muscles, and various internal systems will deteriorate – negatively affecting our mood, body-image, and self-esteem.
- SPEND TIME IN AN EXCITING CAREER. We spend most of our days working, and if we are unhappy during that span of time, most of us already know how that type of stress drains our mind and body. Additionally, if you are the “CEO of HOME”, it is critical to find ways to stay energized, fulfilled, and proud of your accomplishments.
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVE. We do have the power to choose healthy relationships. Take an inventory of the friends, family and co-workers in your life and make a conscious effort to repair, nourish, or sever those people who do or do not support and love you unconditionally.
- BEGIN A REGULAR SPIRITUAL PRACTICE, or activity that feeds your soul. This can range from religion, to a hobby, or a simple self-care ritual like taking a bath or getting a massage. We all need and deserve time to rejuvenate and feel nurtured.
- WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES AND SHOES. Stop wearing clothes and shoes that are stressful and suffocating to your body. Purchase and wear items that are flattering and tailored to your shape. When our toes are not pinched, and our waistlines are not cinched, we will feel happier and healthier.
- REST. Make sure that you are sleeping enough on a regular basis. Many of us are running on the fumes of caffeine and sugar and really need more sleep. If we feel well rested, our energy level becomes higher, and energy for life increases.
- VOLUNTEER. I believe that is critical for all people to volunteer. Not only does volunteering help you take the focus off of your own problems, but you will make a profound positive impact on another life.
- PURCHASE MEANINGFUL PUBLICATIONS. Make an effort to find publications that give you positive and meaningful information and affirmations. There are many magazines, books, and newspapers with a wealth of interesting and educational articles. Spend your time educating yourself with news that will spawn creative discussions and thinking.
- DEFINE YOUR MISSION IN LIFE. What do you really want to accomplish this lifetime? Answer this question as best you can, and go for it.
When our mind, body, and soul are fully nourished, being comfortable in our own skin will happen naturally and gracefully. We are all beautiful beings who deserve to shine and we must support each other in this endeavor. If we can work together to heal our body-image issues and redefine beauty in a way that empowers us, we will have the freedom to achieve anything.