Monday, January 16, 2012

You know how I feel about beauty. Beauty can be found in our hearts and actions. It's also everywhere in the world around us. Using beauty whether from the inside or out, to better our lives, brings the whole concept out of a dim shallowness to a meaningful brightness.

Unfortunately in today's world, the concept of real beauty is often skewed and twisted as a result of the constant media feed into our systems. Whether you try to protect yourself from the outside world or not, the messages are unavoidably in our faces. Whether while buying your groceries and seeing anorexic airbrushed celebrities on magazine covers or while driving in your car and hearing ads on the radio with urgent messages about plastic surgery, we cannot escape.

But what we can do is turn our eyes and ears away for a moment, give ourselves a little love, and just be grateful.  On a particularly frustrating day, when my scale is not being so kind, I'll stop for a moment and say, "I am so grateful I have a healthy body that serves me well. It's doing what it is supposed to be doing and that is as beautiful as it can ever be."

I'd like to reprint excerpts from a fabulous article I found in Oprah magazine a few months ago by Amy Bloom.

Dear Every Woman I Know, Including Me,
by Amy Bloom

"...after 58 years of being female, I've come to the conclusion that a healthy, positive body image is hard to find, and neither caftans nor liposuction nor photoshopping is the answer.

The question is, how do we keep ourselves from...seeing the mirror-and food, and other women-as the enemy? And how do we make all this stuff less terrible for our daughters, our nieces (and ourselves)?

I don't expect little girls and teenagers to fend for themselves in this matter; we have to save them and-just as if we're on a plunging airplane-we have to start by saving ourselves.  We need to make friends with the mirror even if it's DIY aversive therapy, in which you look at yourself in the mirror for one minute one day, then two the next, then three, you have to be able to bear the sight of yourself....

You cannot be a healthy person, let alone hope for healthy children, if you sigh and moan every time you encounter your own image, eat a cookie, or see an airbrushed supermodel on a billboard. Even if it amounts to wholesale pretending-go pretend. Walk around pretending to be a woman who likes her body. Pretend you think your thighs are not disgusting appurtenances but normal, flesh-covered limbs that help you get from place to place. Likewise your not-so taut arms and not-so-flat tummy. Because every step toward self-love you take, and every inch of confidence you give someone's daughter, makes the world a better place.

So stop. Stop talking to the girls in your life about "healthy eating" if what you actually mean is, "Your 11 year old stomach isn't flat and it freaks me out." They will hear what you mean...

And start. Start admiring aloud the things you really do admire. Show what you love and value.

I take these small steps myself-most days- not out of virtue, but out of vanity. My hobby is watching people, and what I see is that even the most Botoxed, lipo'd, lifted woman cannot conceal herself. If you hate yourself, it shows through every cream and cure there is. Until we stop trying to exorcise our own imperfect selves, driving our normal physical traits as if they were signs of pathology, there will always be some misery in the eyes that nothing can hide.

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful."

Let's take a stance in the face of the airbrushed lies and show the world what REAL beauty is!

Real beauty is:

"Beauty is simply reality as seen with the eyes of love." - Evelyn Underhill

"Happy girls are the prettiest" - Audrey Hepburn

"You are capable of much more than being looked at" -

"The absense of flaw in beauty is in itself a flaw." - Havelock Ellis

Beauty isn't about having a pretty face. It is about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and most importantly, a beautiful soul.

There is beauty in everything, just not everybody sees it.

"Beauty is not in the face, it is a light in the heart" - Kahlil Gibran

"Everyday is a start of something beautiful" - Matt Nathanson

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
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  1. amazing inspirational post, love these words and quotes

  2. Amen! Beauty has so many definitions, many of which are not emphasized often enough for us to hear. I want my children to know that beauty is more than the exterior, it is the way we feel, speak, think, care for others, love, relate, and strive to be the best definition of self.

  3. Thank you so much for the inspiring message- Audrey Hepburn in particular has the best quotes regarding positive self image! And beautiful photos, as always :)

    XX Kathryn

  4. Thank you so much for the inspiring message- Audrey Hepburn in particular has the best quotes regarding positive self image! And beautiful photos, as always :)

    XX Kathryn

  5. What a lovely post, Sharon, and so very true. It made me think of a comment that a neighbor I once had made. She said that didn't buy magazines because they simply made her feel her house wasn't good enough, her clothes weren't fashionable enough and they made her feel she should buy a list of things to keep up with everyone. I smiled at the time, as she was much older than I was, but there is some wisdom to her words in how we're influenced. Steering children away from the words of plastic surgeons, television advertising and even other kids talking about their weight isn't an easy thing in today's world. Thanks for a post that reminds us to be kind to ourselves ;)

    Thanks also for your very sweet words on Ooh La Frou Frou, love. You're right, it would be fun to meet someday! ;) Have a wonderful, wonderful week! xoxo

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou

  6. I think your message would have been much more effective had you featured more photographs of women whom may not be considered conventionally beautiful, like overweight women. The post was beautiful, but illustrating that with Keira Knightley and Audrey Hepburn seems to miss the point.

  7. Great message!! I do think happy people are often people who feel beautiful inside and out. There is no cookie cutter beauty anymore, and thats a great thing. It can be found in so many forms and I do truly believe it has to start inside. Lovely post!

  8. This was a BEAUTIFUL post my dear Sharon. Now in my 50s, I have had to discuss with myself and convince myself that the once beautiful girl I was is no longer, but BETTER for having lived a life that has made me more than beautiful. Courage and grace and JOY are the results of struggling over the meaning of beauty. YOUR BLOG IS WONDERFUL! Anita

  9. fantastic and beautiful photos!!
    Thanks for your comment on my blog!
    xx Inés

  10. Beautifully written by you and Amy's article. So true... we woman are all way to hard on ourselves. There is beauty in imperfection. xo

  11. I just love your blog it always gives me such a lift and this post is no different and I thank you!

    Big XX!

  12. Nice post. I love beautiful things. Beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. although what's inside counts the most i can't help but be distracted by the outside. There I've said it!

  13. Great post! I try to be very conscious of how I talk about food/dieting/myself in front of my daughter and always keep it positive.
    Your blog is always full of inspiration and great thoughts to start the day! xoxo

  14. great quotes and messages :-)

    come say hello-

  15. Such a great post, I like it!!! This is simply fab!

    Take a look and if you want we can follow each others: Cosa mi metto???

  16. Karen ~ I just went to the blog of another blogging friend, Konstantina (blog: Willow Inspirations). Although I cannot read her posts (they are in Greek I believe) there is a video on this link that I think you would very much enjoy watching about women and body image, called Killing Me Softly (in English). Because of this post of yours, I knew you would find it interesting and I wanted to pass the link along to you. Here is the link to this post that the video is on:

    Have a great day!
    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou

  17. Unas fotos preciosas...Adoro Audrey Hepburn L)

    Besiitos desde amayaT.! :D

  18. This post is beautiful, and you are a beautiful person for posting it...Although most of us readers already knew that ;)
    I think the media and society is starting to come around some by the banning of super skinny models at certain fashion weeks and by the pulling of ads that have been too air brushed. It may take time, but at least we are headed in the right direction!


  19. I love all these quotes, and it's true beauty isn't so much how you look but how you feel and present yourself. Great post.

  20. What a beautiful post.
    Truly enjoyed the photos.

  21. Wow, a very inspirational post I may say, very nice.

  22. love the pics and writtings. rachelli

  23. What a gorgeous reminder...confidence and inner beauty speaks volumes...

  24. OHHH! YOu kind and beautiful woman, you.....thank YOU for coming by to leave that sweet comment, like a little bluebird leaving a note! HAVE A FABULOUS DAY!!!

    Off to work I run, in my heels!!!! Must always wear heels, you know! Anita

  25. Wow!This post just made my day.All of the quotes are so beautiful and true...

  26. Such an inspirational post and so very true, a positive self-image is hard to find when we're constantly told by the media that we're not "perfect" enough to be happy.

    The images are beautiful too, however, I have to say that the Keira Knightly one doesn't quite sit well with me as she is the pin-up model for anybody who wants to promote extreme slimness and that picture just makes one feel - again - not young and skinny enough...

    Hope you don't mind my honesty, it's a very positive post :-)

    Love from London xo

  27. always such inspirational posts Sharon...this one really had me roped in....I couldn't wait to scroll down and read the next quote...All so true!

  28. Sharon,
    Just getting over now to read this. I love this post and the article. So true and more people need to read this!
    Your blog is inspiring, wise and wonderful!

    Have a great weekend!