Inner beauty

Living up to the ideals of society is pretty tough. Especially if you are a young girl or a woman.

School friends, adverts, TV, billboards – they all show us how we ‘should’ be: thin, with glowing skin and perfect teeth.

It’s not good enough to be yourself, they seem to say.

A while back this photo caused controversy in the fashion world. Why? Because it shows a normal woman. (They wanted to photoshop her stomach so that it disappeared.)

I for one think she is beautiful.

What does this say about our own self-image?

Our pre-conceived notions can blind us to the beauty of others. And worst of all, it can stop us from seeing the beauty that we are.

It may be a cliché, but I urge everyone to go out there today and see the deeper beauty that is you, or your daughter or sister, or friend or wife…

Tell them how gorgeous they are. Tell yourself how beautiful you are.

Because even the humblest flower in the woods shines with a lovely light.

44 thoughts on “Inner beauty

  1. nice. i agree….there is something beautiful about being comfortable in your own skin…and what can be concieved as a blemish is often one of the things that adds to it…

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  2. Meanwhile, the likes of Madonna and co are shown to be faultless beauties at the age of 50 or whatever – yet we all know the photos are airbrushed and manipulated: stomachs thinned, skin smoothed, unsightly veins disappeared. So, the ordinary woman feels that she is somewhat less.

    All rubbish, of course. I don’t fancy ultra-thin women – they have echoes of the horrors of the Nazi death camps.

    Bring on the real women, I say.

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  3. Sad to think that our culture says that this photo of a beautiful woman needs to be altered. I like your message of telling others of the beauty we see in them.

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  4. I can’t agree more. I struggle sometimes with not having a ‘perfect’ body, and then I remember that most of the women we see are airbrushed!

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  5. living in L.A. as a single mother in her 40’s will totally screw up your body image, to be sure. I have to work daily to remind myself that I’m okay as I am

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  6. Such a lovely and inspiring post. And I LOVE that photo … she is gorgeous and a woman I can relate to. (Don’t they realize when we sit down, we all have a little pooch?)

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  7. External beauty is only skin deep…
    The real beauty lies somewhere else which more often than not we tend to ignore!
    You have put it all very beautifully:)

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  8. Couldn’t agree with you more. Seeing my daughter grow into being a woman, I really wish there was some way to stem the wave of false expectations and insecurities concerning her beauty.

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  9. A perfect message for everyone Fi!! I agree, I think that woman was stunning and the first thing I looked at was her smile, not her stomach!!

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  10. Beautiful post about a very important subject.
    In today’s world where everything is moving forward with the speed of light, we are expected to strive to be the best and the most perfect, which also means living up to unattainable ideals. Beauty comes in so many shapes and physical perfection is the least of them, which has been totally misplaced in most minds.
    Have a lovely Sunday,
    xoxo

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  11. Now that is one beautiful woman, with a real tummy, just like Boticelli used to paint them 😉 Now there was an artist who understood beauty!

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  12. I agree 110% – “fashion” places want stick models not normal people. Women of the 1930’s and 40’s didn’t have the image problem that you had to be skinny to be beautiful. Most of them were buxom and had curves.
    I heard a terrible bit of news on hte radio last week, bras for 6 to 12 year old. The bras were padded. That is jsut about hte most saddest thing I’ve heard, children should be allwoed to be children instead of being pushed to emulate miniature adults.

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  13. Actually, SirPe, Botticelli’s women tended to be markedly bigger than that one, curvy and “full-figured”. I sometimes feel positively underweight looking at them!

    LadyFi, you’re quite right, the best response to the insidious effects of such advertising is for us to stop complaining about it, and take care to respond to the beauty already existing in those around us. The lovely smile that lightens the room, the infectious laugh that makes us smile in response, the warm personality that momentarily puts everything in its’ proper perspective…

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  14. You are so right! I applaud this post. Yet it brings tears to my eye’s because right not I am smack in the middle of feeling horrible about how I look. Gaining weight due to my thyroid over this past years has raised havok on my self esteem. Even though I have an obvious health issue and haven’t been eating junk I still feel ugly.

    Thank you for reminding me of the truth today. I take your words into my heart and will ponder them in the days to come. XX

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  15. Yes she is real, but she is still quite thin…I wonder if their version of a “real” woman does include all the spectrum?

    We are all beautiful inside, and that needs to shine through, no matter what we weigh. It’s about time the magazines, and shows realize that.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  16. How true! This is a wonderful post and I’m going to accept your challenge. Thank you for being so insightful. You, my friend, are a beautiful person.

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  17. Okay, I’m going to be doing this from memory (which means I may louse this up) but there are three body types endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph and most models fall into the ectomorph category (jeez, I hope that’s right), which represents less than 10% of the population of women. So right there your average woman is going to feel like a low-to-the ground, near dwarf in comparison.

    That mom in the picture looks like a mom. Someone who has had a baby, and who is still very lovely.

    We like to talk about how our standards of beauty today are cruel, and they are, but standards of beauty have often been very cruel. When it wasn’t corsets, bustles and other movement impeding devices, it was waist cinchers and girls.

    But we’ve reached a cartoon level of “beauty” thanks to computer imaging. Even the below 10 percent of the population that falls into the body type of models can’t live up to that b.s. standard. We’ve literally taken it to a “Can’t be achieved in nature” level.

    Basically, we have to teach young women that of all the things they contribute to this world, there appearance is the one with the least actual value. That sounds like I’m slamming real beauty, but I’m not. It’s just that having a good heart, a keen intellect and purpose in your life beats the living heck out of thinking that your purpose is simply to be pleasing to the eye. It’s nice boon in a life, to be sure, but it’s far less important than many other things.

    If you haven’t seen this, I think you’ll enjoy it:

    It’s called Dove Evolution. As it happens, I don’t use Dove products but their point is still a solid one 🙂

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  18. When you look at the lady in the photograph the first thing you notice is the happy face. Sure she doesn’t have washboard abs, but she’s happy with what she has, and I love her for it.
    It is so important to be comfortable in the body that you do have.

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  19. I think she looks beautiful too! I also think it’s about bloody time we had some normal people on our TV screens and in the magazines instead of these stick thin models who are then airbrushed to within an inch of their lives!

    It’s one of the things I like about Gok Wan’s ‘How to look good naked’ show…..he takes real people with all their lumps and bumps and shows them how to love themselves (I ususally end up in tears!)

    C x

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  20. I agree that women are put under enormous pressure to conform to an unrealistic picture of “beauty.” On the other hand, so many studies lately have pointed to stomach fat as a health issue, linking it to increased cases of cancer and even dementia, so I think it’s also important to be mindful of that.

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  21. I’m 53 and live in southern California, the place where you are supposed to look your best. I agree, this woman is gorgeous, and I’m sure she’s Scandinavian.
    Scandinavian women have the ability to feel good about themselves. She also has a natural, beautiful face.

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  22. Thanks for letting me know. I like to compare Danish magazines with the U.S. ones, because the women look more natural in the Danish ones. So it’s uplifting to hear that this woman is from the U.S. I wonder what magazine? This reminds me of the Jamie Lee Curtis photo shoot in a U.S. magazine, several years ago.

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