28 Jul Am I Beautiful?
A few weeks ago, I attended a luncheon where the guest speaker talked about how we women struggle with our self-image and physical beauty. The presenter openly shared her personal battle with her self-image. The conversation that ensued made each of us realize that experiences throughout our life have impacted how we see ourselves and deal with our beauty.
In our society, women are expected to look perfect – from our head to our toes. We therefore spend countless hours and unspeakable amounts of money on our vanity. We are led to believe that our appearance will make a difference on our place in society. Wait a minute – it does. Women are held under a different microscope when it comes to appearance than men. Our physical appearance becomes both a gift and a curse.
Back in the 1980’s I was working in a predominately male industry. My peers, superiors and clients I dealt with were all men. The women in the industry were mostly support staff in both my and the client’s office. I was a relatively attractive young woman, petite and friendly. For some reason, men felt that they had the right or obligation to treat me differently. I was asked out to dinner by numerous male client (married of course). I was assigned more administrative tasks than my male counterparts (hopefully because I was more qualified). I would like to assume that I was paid equally to the men at my level, but I don’t have any facts to justify that. All these experiences slowed my progress in my industry. They gave me cause to shrink back and not forge forward. I didn’t want to deal with the advances of men, to be looked at as either a sex-object or someone who needed to be handled with care. My external beauty became a curse to my success and at the time, my inner beauty was still a mystery to me.
That was in the 80’s. Here we are 30 years later, and things are different now for women. Or are they? I’d like to think so and yet, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it has.
I think the factor that will create monumental change is when each woman starts to see their own beauty. We must remember that beauty lies both externally and internally. We have been programmed to focus on the external, we’ve forgotten the true essence of what makes us beautiful – our inner power, our courage, our determination and our passion.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
Allowing ourselves to accept our beauty starts with self-love – honest and true. When we start to love ourselves, we celebrate our own strengths. We stop berating ourselves when things don’t go as planned. We transform into stronger women, willing not just to stand up for others, but finally advocating for ourselves. It is this that changes our self-perception and allows us to finally see how beautiful we are.
Every day after my workouts, I appreciate the strength I’ve building in my body, look at the muscles I’m building and love myself for the work I’m doing. When I stand in front of the mirror after my shower, I look at the fleshy rounds of my belly and bask in the memory of the creation of my children. After I lead a workshop, or end one of my Executive Club Mastermind groups, I honor my skills as a facilitator and as a builder of communities for women. These experiences fuel my power and strength to achieve my goals and help to change the world. Sure, I still get scared; I still feel insecure, but I know that I can work through challenges and find solutions or new paths.
These examples give me cause to love myself. I’m incredible and so are each of you! I hope that you too can see all the beauty in yourself, both internally and externally. By doing so, you’ll have the confidence to stand up for yourself, gain the respect of your male peers and attract all the abundance that is waiting for you!
PS – As I reread this post, I got to thinking that there are many men out there who can probably relate. This isn’t a gender specific issue. I hope that every man who has taken the time to read this reflects on the topic of self-love and can see their greatness and worth. The world becomes a better place through the strength of women and men working to complement each other’s attributes.