After hearing dozens of clients and readers tell me that they want to be and feel beautiful – and then apologize for feeling that way – I wrote last week’s post about owning our desire to be beautiful. And then I got a couple messages and one comment saying something along these lines: Whoa! Beauty is on the INSIDE! We have to stop conforming to our culture’s beauty standards!
Now I think those few people missed my main point, but even if they hadn’t…I had to have a little chuckle. Last year, when I wrote about radical self-acceptance and encouraged readers to completely let go of their never-ending weight-loss journeys, I still ruffled feathers. I received feedback like this:
::Letting go of our weight loss goals is lazy (or complacent, or dangerous – fill in the blank).
::Why shouldn’t we want to be more fit and feel more beautiful/sexy? There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.
::Losing weight isn’t just about conforming to societal beauty standards. But even if it is, why shouldn’t we want to fit in and enjoy that kind of beauty and acceptance?
Okay, girls. Which is it? I think some would argue that we want it both ways, but here’s what I think:
We will find a way to argue our way out of beauty at every turn. Why? Because we’ve been taught to strive for beauty, but that striving for it is also somehow shameful and conformist. We’re not allowed to want it. And we’re told we’re not valuing ourselves enough if we don’t want it.
I still argue both points, because in my perspective, they are the same. Yes, accept your body, your appearance, wholeheartedly. Love who you are and stop trying to change yourself by losing weight, wearing a ton of makeup, searching for the perfect haircut…etc.
And…if you are at an uncomfortable weight, if you wear sweat pants every day, if your skin is breaking out, if you haven’t had a haircut in years, it’s okay to want to change. It’s okay to want clear skin, more flattering clothing, an updated style. It’s okay to take what you’ve got and bling it out. And it’s just as okay to stick to the basics.
How about we stop arguing ourselves out of our own beauty and just live it?