Almost everyone would change something about their appearance if they could, and body fat seems to be a particularly annoying focus for many people. Taking a very close look at wiggles and bumps seems to magnify their size and importance. It can be a challenge to resist fixating on what is “wrong”.
Cultural ideals of beauty are everywhere. They have not changed much during my lifetime. They are thin, and they are perennially young. Real bodies change. Even “perfect” bodies change. Body composition shifts and changes, and people get older.
During a recent hotel stay, I noticed a makeup mirror, one of those magnifying mirrors that is designed to simplify makeup application. I do not own one, and now I know that I never will! Have you ever really looked closely at your skin in a magnifying mirror? Maybe if you are 20 years old and have never spent a day in the sun, you will like what you see, but otherwise it can be shocking.
I had no idea I had so many wrinkles! Sure, I know that I have accumulated some “character” over the years, little lines and creases that say, “Yes, I am a middle-aged woman who has had two children and lived an interesting life.” That is not what I saw in the hotel mirror though. I could see every flaw, discoloration, and wrinkle. I found myself fixating on my face, and evaluating it based on youthful media ideals. I thought I was comfortable with the aging process, but my reaction was not accepting.
Turning away to look in the regular mirror, I sighed in relief. My face looked as I remembered it, not like a computer-aged version of myself. For the rest of my hotel stay, I vowed to avoid that nasty mirror.
I am working on becoming more comfortable with the inevitable aging process. “That’s life”, as the saying goes, but I will admit this is a work in progress for me. It helps that the physical changes happen gradually. I have been able to adjust my attitude to keep pace with it so far, but my “virtual aging” experience outpaced my evolving peace with the process.
We all want to be comfortable in our skin. That usually requires some introspection, realistic expectations, and compromise with our ideals. The process is hard enough without looking too closely at imperfections, however we personally define them. Why make it harder than it has to be? Instead of getting out the microscope for a really high-powered view, step back and admire what you can. Then decide what, if anything, you can actually do to change what you don’t like, and settle into the only body you have for the ride ahead.
“The true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul.”
You don’t need a perfect figure, a huge and expensive wardrobe or a brilliant hairdresser, to make you a beautiful woman. Beauty is waiting there inside your soul, ready to be brought out.
Your joy in life and passionate pursuits make you sparkle and radiate excitement and energy. Your sexy confidence and enthusiasm light up your face and bring a swing to your walk. Your serenity, generosity and sensitivity are mirrored in your eyes and in your beautiful smile.
You are a beautiful woman – know it, believe it and live it!
from Meditations for Women