The perfect waist-to-hip ratio, symmetry of the face, childbearing hips...our culture has definitions of beauty ad infinitum. I'm wondering, however, how health-conscious communities are affected by popular images of beauty in the media. So my question is: how do you define beauty? What are the kinds of physical (or perhaps even mental) qualities that draw you to others and make you think of them as "beautiful"? Do you feel that our culture's emphasis on thin and perfect affects your own idea of beauty? And how does your personal definition of good health fit into this?
The Perfect Body. First of all, the perfect body doesn?t exist. Just ask someone who you believe has a perfect body and they?ll tell you everything that's wrong with it in their eyes. And I don't think our culture can claim responsibility for being the only one to promote certain physical characteristics as being ideal. That is a problem that has existed pretty much from the beginning of time and crosses many cultural boundaries.
I think we have to find a way to be happy with the body shape that we have. That's not to say we should give up and sit on the couch watching reality television. It's just a fact. You're either tall or short, have a long torso or a short one, you are slender or curvy. Diet and exercise aren'nt going to change your skeletal structure. It won?t make you taller or take away your freckles or decrease your shoe size. The body you have is perfect for you.
When I see someone who is comfortable in their own skin, someone who takes care of their health and takes pride in the way they look, those are the people who are attractive. You can have this season's fashionable body but if you aren'nt happy with it and healthy you still won?t look great. Those people who are well groomed, upbeat and confident in themselves are the people I'm drawn to. I know they're happy just being who they are.
Self-confidence is key. To this day, I'm still confused on how to explain this, but I've realized that when I was 40 pounds heavier, I was less concerned about my weight and more accepting of myself than I am now. A bunch of factors can contribute to this-when I was a bit heavier I was breaking into the social scene in the city nearby with friends, so I never had trouble meeting new people. I had a close-knit group of friends that all lived in the same area.
Today, I'm in a long term relationship, and for some reason I feel like I'm being harder on myself than in the past. While I'm confident in the relationship, I think I still feel the need to impress my boyfriend, even though he constantly states he loves me just the way I am. My friends are no longer clustered nearby, and I'm stepping away from the bar/club scene.
Yet i've realized that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, especially when those eyes are your own. To see that beauty, you've got to believe in yourself. I'm working on it....