Female beauty is gravely misunderstood, praised, shunned and shamed all the time.
Superficial beauty- the kind that’s created with makeup, clothes, styling products and yes, exercise- is for enjoyment, just like most other pretty things like flowers and teacups. Superficial beauty becomes a problem when it affects a woman’s self esteem- When women feel shamed, guilted and pressured to look a certain way and measured by how closely they resemble the image on the cover of a magazine. It’s become the norm to feel that way, so most of us may not even realize there’s a problem, but women shouldn’t be shoulded into doing anything outside of hygiene. Each woman determines how much superficial beauty she wants to embrace, but that decision should never be based on fear, guilt or pressure. If you love makeup then wear it. Just don’t wear it because someone at some point made you believe that you should wear it in order to feel good about yourself. In the same vein, if you love to be slim and toned then work out to achieve that look. But if you’re just fine having extra inches on your body, that is your prerogative, and you don’t need to change yourself for anyone. Just make sure your body and mind are healthy.
Beauty companies try to make us believe that our self esteem should be directly tied to how we look, and we buy into that belief. We think if we lose weight we’ll have higher self worth, but the truth is-and ask anyone who’s ever actually lost it-it’s not. How you feel about yourself has absolutely nothing to do with how you look on the outside. You may lose weight and feel happy about putting on a bikini, but that temporary happiness won’t change your core self perceptions. If you didn’t truly value yourself when you were out of shape, you won’t value yourself any more when you lose the weight either. Other people might, but you won’t. So why do we even bother working out and doing all that we do to look our best?
If you’re a confident woman who loves herself regardless of how you look, it doesn’t mean that your appearance is of no importance to you. No, you are not your body and your appearance doesn’t define what kind of person you are, but it can make a difference in how much you enjoy life. Besides the plethora of health benefits to working out, being in your best shape makes life so much nicer. Going shopping and picking out clothes you like, knowing anything you pick out will look awesome on you, is much more fun than choosing items that best cover your love handles. Also, just because you have high self esteem doesn’t mean you’re immune to feeling self conscious. The best way to avoid feeling self conscious is to get rid of whatever makes you feel that way. You enjoy yourself more when you have nothing to feel self conscious about, and that’s a great feeling. Note I said you enjoy yourself more, not like yourself more, which makes a huge difference to how you approach beauty.
So the top 3 beauty tenets I believe the world needs to embrace are:
1. Women don’t have to be beautiful. It’s not our duty, job or obligation to be beautiful. It’s absolutely and always a choice.
2. Each woman defines what is beautiful to her. Beauty to one woman may not be beauty to another. Blonde hair, gray hair or no hair: it’s your choice. Whatever makes you feel your best.
3. Respect- your own toward yourself or the level you receive from others- should never be related to how you look. Your self worth isn’t based on how beautiful you believe you are, and the way people treat you doesn’t change based on anything other than how you behave and treat others.
Every woman knows when she feels most beautiful, even if she’s never felt it before. It’s the same place she feels most comfortable physically, mentally and emotionally, and where she loves life the most. That feeling is always the goal of any beauty regimen or workout program.
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