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Choices

What size mirror do you have at home? Do you have a full length one or a small mirror to use when putting on makeup? If you want to do what it takes to see and celebrate your beauty, get a full length mirror!

Whatever your body…. if you feel you can’t possibly be beautiful because you are too plain, too heavy, too thin, too hippy, too flat or some other “too,” know your perception is not true. You have three more choices:

  1. You can continue to see yourself as ‘less than’. In which case you can keep reading these blogs to explore the possibility you might be wrong.
  2. You can deny that one’s looks make a difference, in which case, keep on reading these blogs to discover that this statement is false. How one looks does make a difference, in both how others perceive you and how you feel about yourself.
  3. Learn to showcase your features as beautifully unique.

Whether you choose one, two, or three, we will start at the beginning in the upcoming blogs to answer three fundamental questions:

What is beauty? Why is beauty important?, and… How do I begin?

How do you begin? First learn to see the beauty of your body as it’s now. Every form and shape, shadow and contour has the potential for creative expression in clothes you choose to wear. You can train your eye to see your beauty potential regardless of your size and shape. Second, learn to choose clothes and accessories that highlight your personality, Third, develop skills to use makeup and choose hairstyles that enhance your features and relate to your clothes and lifestyle. A beautiful reflection in the mirror depends on the total picture.

Virginia

Overweight by 150 pounds, Virginia had no clothes that fit her softly curved oval- silhouetted body.

She so hated her reflection that she dreaded going into a fitting room. Mirrors were her enemy. The only clothes that fit over her tummy were huge through the shoulder and hip, making her look like a shapeless lump with a tiny head on top. Once she began to see her body as an artistic shape very much like a bouquet of large peonies, she began the radical process of changing her self-hating talk and thought patterns. She started practicing self-encouragement thinking, which allowed her to the stop being a victim of available clothing. She took control of the way she looked. After buying the tent shaped clothing that fit over her tummy, she would march down to the alternations department and have the tops re-cut through the shoulders and the skirts and trousers tapered below her thigh and tummy. She changed the jewel necklines to large scoop necklines in order to frame her full rounded face. She shortened long sleeves to three-quarter length and made vents at the bottom of the side seams of her tunic-length overtops to give room for her thighs. She chose colors that repeated her blue green eyes and chocolate-rose skin. Shoes were a challenge until she found a catalog that carried an extra-wide a simple flat in a smoky taupe that related to her smoky deep brown hair. A long, soft rectangular chiffon scarf and pearl earrings that related to the whites of her delicate almond-shaped eyes finished her creative ensemble. Taking control of the possibility for beauty, resulted in self-confidence and self-acceptance. Her weight might be important for her health, but it’s not for her beauty.

Beauty-Nature-adn-you

Beauty, Nature, and You

“Every soul yearns for the Beautiful”
Beauty —John O’Donohue

Nature holds the key to Beauty. How do you feel when you come across some scene in nature or a magnificent-to-you flower? Whether grand in scale, or dainty in detail, beauty brings joy and a sense of wellbeing. There’s not one definition of beauty. Look at the thousands of different types of flowers: some are big, some small; some have frilly petals, others pointed ones; some have many petals, others few, yet, we don’t say one flower is more beautiful than another because it’s different. Some are fragrant, others merely beautiful to see. We don’t try to make a rose less a rose or an orchid less an orchid.

You can look at differences in women in the same way. Some of us are large-scale with large features; others have small-scale delicate ones. Some of us are curved and others straight. As there is beauty in every flower, there is potential for beauty in every body and every face.

 Start at the beginning

What distinctive body features do you feel keep you from being beautiful? What would you change if you could? Divide a paper into three columns and list what you would change.

 In the first column write down what you would like to change:

– Is it your shape? (Surely, God could not have intended your hips to be so big, so small; so rounded, or so flat!)

– Your hair… (Couldn’t it be straighter, or have some curl; be thicker, thinner?)

– Your eyes… (Couldn’t they be larger, smaller, not so slanted, or less ordinary?)

– Perhaps your body is crooked or your breasts too small, too big, too high, too low, too close together, too far apart.

– What about your freckles or the acne scars, the hair on your arms, the size of your hands, the turn up or down of your nose, your tummy, your thighs?

You might be thinking that there had to have been a cosmic mistake! Surely, you would be beautiful if some things on your body-list changed! The radical truth here is that there has not been a mistake. For whatever reason, no one taught you to see the beautiful truth of your body as it’s right now. You have not learned to dress and to choose hairstyles and makeup that showcase your unique expression and posibility of beauty.

 In the second column opposite each item you listed in column one, identify where your negative body attitude originated. Was it your brother, mother, father, aunt? How we think of ourselves is based on our life experience, and especially on comments of friends, relatives, and acquaintances—well meant or otherwise. An off hand comment like, “Too bad you have thighs like Aunt Velma,” gives a clear message that you are less than, and not quite good enough to beautiful. What were the comments you took into your heart? When did you start to feel dissatisfied with your body?

Perhaps it was not been safe to be beautiful, or some adult told you it was not important to be beautiful, or you compared yourself to some picture in a magazine, or a sibling or classmate teased you, (all in fun that was not fun to you). Each of us has a story to tell around this second column.

Your challenge is to replace the negative attitudes about your body with positive ones.

Column three. Leave this column blank until you discover a positive attitude replacement.

[Illustrate the following example ]

Column 1: overlarge derriere

Column 2: older brother teased me about this

Column 3: Sensuous, feminine derriere that is sassy like a Rodin beauty. I can wear clothes to show it off: Form-fitting dress with interesting detail at the back, or a swinging skirt that sways when I walk, and sassy high heels.

Somewhere along the way to complete attitude adjustment, physically get rid of your old negative ones. On a slip of paper, copy each negative attitude you listed in column one. Place the slips in a box; close the lid tightly, and put the box on a shelf you rarely use, never be opened again—we hope. You can physically do this exercise, or imagine yourself doing it. Once you put all those slips of paper in your box, you can choose to bury the box in the yard, throw it in the garbage, or burn it. Your goal is to one-by-one get rid of the first column attitudes and start living with third column positive, soul-nourishing messages about you.

Next, on another sheet of paper make a list of what you like about your body and your personality. Do you like your eyes, your smile, your ankles, your shoulders, or your waist? Remember when someone complimented you about some aspect of your personality. Are you friendly, helpful, kind? Do your eyes sparkle? Do you have a quick smile? As you start focusing on these aspects of you it will become easier to see the gift of each of the items you listed in column one of the first sheet.

pinkdress

Whispers of the Soul

Why is it harder to create a list of what we like about ourselves than what we don’t? In our soul, each of us yearns to be special—and beautiful. At some point as children we knew we were. Why is it, then, that most of us as grown-ups don’t believe it?

My Story

I knew I was beautiful until I was nine when the first whisper of dissatisfaction with myself crept into my awareness. One particular outfit stands out in my memory. I was young enough to have time to ponder my reflection in the full-length mirror behind my closet door. Dripping wet from the bath, barefoot, with slicked-back hair, I would step into the brand new back-to-school pale pink and white tiny-striped dress with its soft white collar that touched the edge of my shoulder. I would smell the brand new smells that only a new dress can have, and sigh in wonder at the reflection that happened to be me. Throughout the day, holding pretty me in my memory, I would count the days to the time I could wear my dress, knowing that I was just right.

Imagine how disappointed I was when on the long-awaited day—hair dried with curls brushed into a shoulder length halo around my face, bright white new shoes and socks—the reflection in the mirror was not as pretty as I had remembered. I was puzzled. What was the difference? Where did the pretty reflection go? The dress was the same, but something was different. I couldn’t figure out why. There must be something wrong with me. I became aware of myself in a self-conscious rather than self-accepting way. At that age I had no qualms about my body, and yet I began to suspect that I was not a pretty little girl after all.

Reflecting on that pivotal memory years later it came to me that the dress was lovely for me but that the accessories and hair style competed for attention, thereby spoiling the overall effect. My shoulder-length curly hair visually got in the way of the large dress collar—better to have pulled my hair back into a ponytail or pigtail. And the new-white shoes and socks were much too bright compared to the soft white in the dress. Their brightness held one’s attention making it difficult to look up to my face and enjoy the dress. It would have been better if I had chosen to wear soft pink socks, and shoes the brown color of my hair. The dress fit and style were appropriate for my schoolgirl self, but the choice of hairstyle and shoes were out of balance with both the dress and my sweet, rather shy personality.

When did you forget your specialness? When did life change your perceptions? Often our grown-up eyes can’t see the beauty even if others tell us so. It’s as though that deep place in our heart of hearts—the place that knows our gift of being—has a locked door that is waiting to be opened. What happened between your child-knowing joy in being beautiful and the critical thoughts you now have about yourself? It is possible to rediscover the special place in your heart that knows you are beautiful.

Locked

Locked in a Lie

There might be perfectly reasonable explanations for why you would like to change things about your body, for why you haven’t yet embraced who you are. Simple reasons that often avoid detection.

Stores don’t carry clothes that fit you.

Clothing manufacturers design and cut clothing based on specific proportions and dimensions. If your body proportions are different than the fit model of the manufacturer, the clothes you try on and buy won’t fit. The sleeves will be too short if your arms are longer than the fit model, or too long if your arms are any shorter. If your waist is wider or smaller … if your hips are wider or more narrow … if your bosom is larger or smaller than the fit model, the list goes on. Typically, we either make do with what is too big or go through life being squeezed into garments like a sausage. Its NOT YOU, its not your body that has a problem…it’s the manufacturer.

The clothing industry shares responsibility for our warped attitudes about ourselves. To stay in business, clothing companies must make a profit, fair enough. Straight seams cost less to cut and sew than curved ones. Almost all affordable clothing is manufactured with straight seams, yet women generally have curved bodies. When we try to put our bodies into these straight-cut clothes and we don’t fit, we think there is something wrong with us. We look at the stick-straight models —the ones whose bones show and look like tall girl-children­—the ones who look good in those straight-seamed clothes—and we wish we didn’t have our curves. Ouch. We compare ourselves to those models and think there must be something wrong with our curves, our bodies, ourselves. The truth, there is nothing wrong with who you are or how you’re made; there is something wrong with how the clothes are made.

Connie

Finding ready-made clothes was a seemingly impossible task for Connie. She was six feet tall and small boned, with long arms, long legs, long neck, tiny head, and delicate features. Women’s clothes are not manufactured for her body proportions. She wanted feminine clothes to wear under her working uniform of white doctor’s coats—not fussy feminine clothes, just clothes with some grace. The only garments she could find to wear were men’s jeans and shirts, which were not feminine; they were simply long enough. She was able to find tops and some sweaters, but she wanted to have trousers and skirts cut for the way she moved. Her long stride called for swinging skirts in fluid fabrics that swirled around her calves. Her relaxed posture asked for softly tailored, loose-fitting jackets or cardigans. Not having feminine clothing had been such a problem all her life that as she approached her 50th birthday she was still self-conscious when meeting strangers.

When she came to see me she felt trapped. Oh, and the truth will set you free. It didn’t take long however for Connie to realize that her body was asking for skirts, trousers and long sleeved jackets tailored to her proportions, not a fit model who didn’t look like her, wasn’t her, never could be her. She is unique, we all are. Because of her narrow waist and fuller thigh, she looked best in shorter jackets that had fit through the waist. We took her boxy blazers to an alterations person who trimmed the bottom to three inches below her waist; made the sleeves longer with the cut fabric and created curves in the side seams to make the overall appearance more feminine. After her first fitting the change in her countenance was remarkable. She was becoming other rather than self conscious.