It's sort of a heavy word. It probably means different things to different people, as most words do. Dictionary.com says it is favorable reception; approval; favor.
I strive to be accepting of other people, particularly women. On a trip once, I noticed the women wore tighter clothing than I'm used to. A lot of those women would be considered overweight where I'm from, and they didn't seem to be shy about their bodies. I saw them dancing, laughing, eating, drinking, playing with their kids ... and seeming to not mind their body didn't fit the magazine definition of beauty (at least in the US; I'm not sure that same definition applies elsewhere). I didn't *know* these women, so I don't know what internal dialog they had on a regular basis about themselves. But they looked happy, content, free. I wished I had the confidence to rock that 2-piece swimsuit or that low-cut top.
I have come to a place where I truly accept other people's physical attributes. My friends and family are smart, funny, clever, creative, and absolutely gorgeous, every single freaking one of them. Some fit the magazine definition of beauty and some don't. They're all amazing and beautiful, in every way.
Songs like Beautiful and Born This Way are inspirational to me. I love to belt them out at the top of my lungs in the car (or singing along with Glee) and I really feel them. Even Firework makes me smile, though I'm not a big fan of the artist. It's true! I'm beautiful and worthy too!
Except I don't believe it for me. I believe it for others.
How do I take that acceptance, that love of others, and turn it inward? In my head, I know my worth is not determined by the number on the scale, the size of my jeans, or the top of my muffin. Somehow, though, stepping on that scale, seeing the body fat % at my bootcamp yesterday ... somehow, I let it wreck me for a little bit.
I know my current physical state is a result of past decisions. I know it's not who I am now. I know it doesn't affect my intelligence, my compassion, my abilities to do anything. I know all of that in my head. Somehow, that brat in my head still says that the more there is of me, the slower and weaker I am physically, the less I'm worth overall.
I'm not the only one thinking of this lately and I wonder what the impetus is. I wonder why several of us are thinking this way. Take a look at these posts: The Cure For Not Being Good Enough, If Is The Word, and Numbers.
I have had this conversation with several friends in several different settings over the past couple of months. We all feel like this. We all love and accept each other, and other people's physical selves. Yet, we berate ourselves, not just for not physically looking the part, but for somehow being less worthy. If only we were taller/shorter/thinner/stronger/blonder/bigger boobed/smaller boobed/more bootylicious/less bootylicious/curly haired/straight haired/longer haired/shorter haired, then somehow, we'd feel like our opinions matter. We'd somehow be smart enough, informed enough, articulate enough. Let me be clear; we have affirming people in our lives. We have significant others, family, and friends who encourage us, who love us just as we are, and who don't judge our worth based on our physical attributes. And yet ...
There are quite a few teenage girls and young women in my life. (My friends and family have amazing kids!) I interact with younger women and girls often enough that I know I could be role model, probably subconsciously to all of us. When I degrade myself based on my size, when I lament that I'm not pretty enough or thin enough to be smart enough or good enough, what message am I sending them?
I think I've decided the answer is to fake it 'til I make it. If I can pretend to think I'm good enough, then eventually, I'll start to believe it, right? If I can keep telling myself all the good I bring to those around me, all the ways in which I help other people, that I make a difference, then eventually that brat in my head will pipe up less. She'll understand that I'm not as terrible as she says I am, and that I'm worthy, regardless of the way I look or the number of pushups I can do.
Do you have any tips? Any ways I can outsmart this and show the young girls and women in my life that we are all beautiful, no matter what "they" say?
The internal conflict I have with the videos below (fair warning: they're both a little racy) is that these artists fit the magazine definition of beauty. I don't strive to look like them or be like them. But I'd like to believe the lyrics.