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The Search For "Real" Beauty — Society's Definition


When will I be PERFECT?

As women, we are subjected to all types of pressure including the need to look younger, prettier and have a slim waist.

We learn this as little girls growing up based on what we see in the media with women on television and in the magazines and this becomes our standard of beauty.

We then become confused as to our own self-image which distorts the view we have about ourselves.

In fact, according to “Survival of the Prettiest” by Nancy Etcoff, “every marketing executive knows that packaging and image are as important as the product, if not more so.”

In other words, first impressions count and we would be remiss if we dismissed it altogether. Now, we all know that what’s on the outside of a person doesn't represent the character of that person but nevertheless, it does tend to open doors, at least initially, that may not have been open otherwise.

But while we’re on this quest for beauty, I bet you would be surprised to find out that the pictures you see on television and in the magazines aren’t always real. Many photos have been photo shopped.

Many women on television have personal makeup artists and stylists ensuring they have a look of perfection by the time they make it to the camera. It takes a lot of preparation to look that good which the average woman may not have the time for nor the money to pay for in everyday life. 

Of course, dating follows suit with this pursuit of beauty. In fact, I heard a fitness blogger/author say that most of what we do to achieve the ideal look is geared towards attracting the opposite sex.

We learn at an early age to maintain our looks to be able to attract a quality mate into our lives.

I would also go so far as to say that most of the folks I see in the gym are either single and looking, single and curious or married and want to still look great for their spouse.

But with this search of beauty, what has this cost us as a society? We have become a society that goes to a plastic surgeon to get our ideal body.

Rather than undergo the struggle of losing weight naturally, we would rather have someone cut us open and risk our lives in the process because it’s quicker! 

And rather than date people the old fashioned way and risk finding someone who may not fit our overall criteria for a mate, we opt to use online dating to specify the type of person we want, usually model like-whom are probably being sought after by everyone else too.

In my work as a coach and a consultant, I deal with women who have negative body images of themselves. So, I get a firsthand view of what is now known as “body shaming.”

We hate our bodies and wonder why we can’t lose weight. Or we envy other people who have the perfect body while shaming our own. We must find a way to love ourselves both inside and outside so that others will love us too.

In conclusion, this article was not meant to offer any real solutions but to get us to thinking about what is beauty and how does it affect our lives whether it be personally or professionally. How can we raise the standard of beauty in our culture and in our world?

How can we create a society of people who accept themselves fully and have the world accept them as well?  There are certainly no easy answers but my hope is that we begin to embrace who we are both on the inside and on the outside and inspire others to do the same.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.


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