There has been a lot in the media lately about body image. Well, mostly about body shaming; there have ALWAYS been articles about what we should be striving to look like, and as you all know because I am on a bit of an image change at the moment, it has caught my attention.
The way we view ourselves is important. We should be happy with what we see in the mirror, no matter what shape we are, right?
Well, ask anyone and it seems more apparent that we care less about how we see ourselves and more about how others see us and the even scarier importance on how we measure up compared to everyone else.
The old saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ has always flummoxed me. How can I strive for the image of beauty I see on every magazine cover if ultimately, some people will still find that unappealing? And if every one has a different image of what beauty is, why are we all buying into the notion that the media has it right anyway?
Ever fancied a person but when you started to talk to them, found yourself becoming less and less attracted to them? Of course you have! A big part of seeing beauty in someone is ultimately down to who they are not what they look like, so why aren’t magazines listing articles such as ’10 lovely things to do for a stranger to make your skin glow’ or ‘How to detox your soul’ instead of constantly telling us all that to be beautiful we need to work out, apply expensive make up and change the colour of our hair depending on what season it is?
I read a quote the other day ‘ If peoples true colours were shown on their skin, how many of us would be able to look in the mirror?’….a bit deep I know but it makes you think doesn’t it.
All of this ‘beauty is only skin deep’ thinking I’ve been doing lately led me to think about other aspects of body image and to touch on something I mentioned earlier. How you see yourself should be paramount. But, do I look to others how I look to myself?
We all have that friend that is thinner than a skinny fry, constantly moaning about how fat they are. We have all seen that slightly larger lady in a nightclub, squeezed into a teeny tiny dress and wondered how she thought that would ever fit her.
I myself have had a struggle over the last year or so with trying to make myself happy about what I see in the mirror. My boyfriend tells me I’m thin and beautiful and when I look in the mirror, all I see is the bit of fat that is pushed out from under my bra and my bloated belly and dimpled thighs and I wonder how he can see anything else.
My sister asks me how I stay so thin all the time and I think to myself ‘Pfft yeah right’.
So, I asked them to draw me. I asked my sister, my 4 year old nephew (because, you know, kids don’t lie), my boyfriend and a couple of my mates to draw me as they see me. No being nice, just draw what you see in terms of body shape, height, etc.
I would then draw myself and see what we came up with.
What I discovered is that I do not see myself as others see me. These people, that love me and care for me, think I’m pretty thin. But the biggest thing was ALL of them drew me smiling and looking happy.
All the pictures look positive and healthy. To be really scientifically accurate and show a balanced view, I would need to get people that either don’t now me at all or that don’t like me to also draw me and see if there were differences but its hard to ask someone you don’t get on with to take time out of their day to draw you! And anyway, who really cares about what people you don’t know think, right?
When I took their pictures and went to the mirror and really thought about it and really looked, I began to see what they see. A happy, smiling, perfectly fine looking woman. Not one of them had drawn all the rolls of fat that I keep pointing out to them all. None of them had took the time to pencil in the spots on my chin that I am CONSTANTLY moaning about….know why?
BECAUSE IT DOESN’T ACTUALLY MATTER
They are not my friends because of what I look like. My boyfriend loves me for what kind of person I am. My nephew doesn’t think I’m great because my hair is straight or because I lost or gained 2 pounds this week; he loves me because I take him to the park and we have breakfast together every week and we both like watching cartoons on the sofa together.
If Hitler had had a rippling six pack and Brad Pitt good looks….he still would have been Hitler and done all those atrocious things.
Mother Theresa was no looker if you hold her up to the standards of Vogue and Cosmo, but she was one of the worlds most beautiful people because she helped others and did nothing but good in her life.
We need to stop teaching ourselves and others that we are worthless if we have a spot or have drawn our eyebrows on wonky or weight a little more than 40lbs or aren’t a size zero.
Doing good costs nothing, so sprinkle that shit everywhere because ultimately, THAT is what will make you a beautiful person INSIDE where it matters and outside as well.