Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If I had a daughter, this is what I'd tell her


Today you told me you wanted to go on a diet. I hear from others this is what girls often talk about together. If you want to really shock them, the next time diets come up in conversation, and everyone describes what they don't like about their bodies, how they want to lose 5 lbs, say: 'I love my body.' And go on to list all the things you like about yours.

It seems uncool to not be critical of your body. Will your comments get some stares? Absolutely. Smile widely and then change the subject. It takes guts to act, think and speak differently. But that's how you can be true to yourself and to your friends.

Because beauty comes from inside out.

You'll be surprised to find that the world's most beautiful people oftentimes are some of the most miserable. Marliyn Monroe battled with depression all her life and had to fight to be taken seriously. Maybe she thought that her looks were all she had. Or that's all others saw. Either way, it didn't compensate for her life's troubles, her difficult upbringing as a child.

Models who are in magazines oftentimes starve themselves on diets of coffee, cigarettes, and gum to maintain a competitive edge in the market. At one time, 'herion chic,' the look of someone recovering from heroin, became a 'classic' look in magazines and culture.

Don't try to be skinny. Think instead of being healthy.

Thin people are usually thin because of their metabolism. Medium sized people are usually medium sized because of their metabolism. Fat people the same. Weight is a cause for concern when it appears or disappears suddenly and without reason. It is an indicator of sickness or stress or sometimes both.

Otherwise, all people have a standard weight that after you are 16 or 17 will not change much from month to month and year to year. You do not have much influence over your metabolism. Either it is a fast one or a slow one. Neither are good or bad. But worrying about it and fighting what is natural will make your life an unpleasent one.

There are people who are always on a diet. They follow the new diet fad. And there is always a new fad. Making people insecure about their body is a way for other people to make money, sell books, beauty products, magazines, and exercise equipment. All of it which usually amounts to nothing but a lighter wallet and dissapointment that - shoot! I still have the same metabolism! Nothing about me has changed.

But here's what you can change. And it's what counts most towards making other people see your beauty. You must change from the inside out firstly. You must be able to look in the mirror and see the things you like about your face first. You must find the way that you most enjoy your smile. You must learn to share your smile. That is the first step. This is what people will always notice about you first, is if you smile. It shows people that you are friendly and it puts them at ease, it makes you easier to approach. Learn to have a genuine, confident smile. If, when you look first at what you don't like about your face, when you meet someone, you will instinctively try to hide it. People do this by avoiding eye contact, looking down, wearing sunglasses, wearing hair over their face, or slouching their shoulders in. People will not notice you and will not see the good parts that yours, like every face has. And in the end: what is more beautiful: a pretty face with an emptyness behind it? Or a smile that communicates all the love and confidence you have and want to share. I know the first thing I look for in a person is if they have a nice smile.

Your body. The same rules apply. Find out which are your best features, which you like the most. The parts that you don't like - try to find something about them that's unique, and remember that every part of you serves a function. And, that no body nor any face is completely beautiful. Learn to draw attention to the parts of your body that you like best. Find out what kind of clothes or things you can do to your body that make you feel beautiful. Develop your own taste in clothes and your own style. The way you carry yourself is more important then what you're wearing. You can be wearing the most expensive clothes, but if you feel unattractive, none of that will matter. Likewise, if you believe you look good wearing something, your confidence will transform whatever it is you're wearing. But, to do this, you have to develop tricks that inspire your confidence. Those tricks will become your style.

Alex Haley wrote a book about a family stolen from Africa and sold into slavery. In the opening chapter, he spoke of being sold onto a slave ship. There, there was a woman who was stripped naked. Despite her nudity, despite the shameful situation she had been put into, the narrator could tell this woman was a queen by the way she carried herself. This is what I want for you. To know within you lives a queen, evident by her grace, her humility, and carriage.

Learn to develop carriage and grace and no matter how you look, people will always notice you and find you beautiful, because your beauty will come from within.

I know that this is all hard to believe as you have changed so much in over your life, but believe me that your life and your body, and your sense of yourself will continue to grow and develop. As you grow older you will grow more confident in yourself, believe me. But for now, you are a young woman passing through a most beautiful stage. And it is but one of the first. Look on it as though from the outside. Observe how your body and your thoughts, feelings, and desires are changing. They will continue to change and really never stop. The best way to experience them is to allow them to happen and observe them with joy and acceptance. That is how we become the people we are meant to be.

So, it is not how others view us, though that is a very hard thing to remember, but it is very important how we view ourselves.

And if you can show your friends that you like who you are, love who you are, you might be the most woman of them all, to show them truly what it means to be beautiful. And everyone will benefit.

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