Let’s Teach Our Daughters to Find Beauty Within Themselves
It’s no surprise that I have issues with my body. I am 45 years old, my hair is greying, there are a few lines and creases around my eyes, I have osteoarthritis, and I could shed a pound or two (or 75). But one thing I do not feel is ugly. There is a difference between feeling ugly and knowing that my body is aging and changing. Naturally, I would be pleased if these changes did not take place at all and I could shed those unwanted pounds but deep down I know that those things are not what make me beautiful.
So why is it that I feel beautiful? What is it in my life that tells me that being me at this very moment is a good thing and that if this is what I am then it is enough? At some point over the past several years I think I have come to the conclusion that being me is all I can be and that striving to be someone else is a big waste of time. Learning to focus on the good things in my life and seeking to be a better wife, mother, teacher and friend have all contributed to the feeling of beauty in my life. Accepting myself as I am at each moment of every day allows me to see beyond the physical imperfections and embrace what lies within; beauty.
Recently I read about celebrities who have had bad plastic surgery experiences. As I flipped through the pictures I wondered why these people felt necessary to fix themselves; after all most of them were already pretty good looking to begin with. Bruce Jenner, for example, had a bad plastic surgery experience and has had to have several surgeries to fix the bad one. I’m not so sure that the end result is a better looking Bruce. There were tales of lip injections, enhanced breasts and even butt lifts. And then there’s Farrah Abraham ("Teen Mom") who waxed her three year old daughter’s eyebrows because she was worried that she would get picked on. She’s three!
And celebrities are not the only ones buying into the notion that perfection is necessary to be beautiful. Parents are giving plastic surgery as gifts for their children and some are even having their kids ears pinned back because they stick out. What are we saying to our children when we work to alter their appearance? We are telling them that they are not good enough the way they are. They are not perfect, therefore, they need to be altered, fixed, and improved.
There is an entire industry built around making ourselves more beautiful and it is thriving. Society is buying into the notion that in order to be beautiful we must meet certain criteria and that if we don’t we must fix ourselves until we do. Do I color my gray hair? Yes. Do I currently have braces on my teeth? Yes. Do I wear make-up? Yes. All of these I believe are acceptable and maybe even necessary at some point in our lives. Taking drastic measures such as surgically altering our appearance or that of our children is a bit too much in my opinion. My great-grandmother was one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. She was a tiny little lady (barely five feet tall) who never wore makeup, had a little white bun of hair pinned neatly to the top of her head and always wore a long sleeved high neck collar dress and sensible black lace up shoes. To me, she was pure, simple and beautiful. It was her kind heart and sweet soul that made her beautiful; she was gentle and that showed through every beautiful wrinkle on her face.
We need to get back to teaching our children what is important in life. Working hard, taking care of ourselves and families, helping others and making a difference. By doing this we will take the emphasis off of the physical imperfections that society says we have and put an emphasis on what is important and what really matters. Creating a sense of beauty will shine through when we keep ourselves focused on being ourselves and not what someone else says. We have one shot at life and we must give it our best by being true to ourselves.
Ironically this quote from famed author and speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer appeared in my “in box” as I was writing this post. Dr. Dyer says "Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now; you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else." Enough said.