Is your body a Maserati or a Station Wagon?
“If life is a journey, then your body is your vehicle. You might be one of the lucky few to have been born with a Maserati. Or you might, like me, have been allocated the body equivalent of a station wagon. It’s a long ride from birth to death; there isn’t a map; the side roads a you take add plenty of wear and tear; and the pitstops often fall a little short of your expectations.”
Margie Orford, Fabulous 40 and Beyond
Well, just like Margie Orford, I have to say that I was not born with a Maserati body. I drive a humble, well used, station wagon. And do you know what, I’m content with my vehicle. I think my station wagon is quite beautiful. It’s practical. And it definitely suits the purpose for which I use it.
Is every woman beautiful?
I hear a lot of women say that every woman is beautiful. And I’ve noticed that most of the women saying that are actually very attractive. I think it is harder for the plain Jane’s out there to really understand the truth of their own inner beauty when we are assaulted on a daily basis with the beauty of the ideal woman. When we compare the sports car versions in advertising and movies with our everyday station wagon, we are reminded quite quickly of our own ordinariness.
Now if we say that every woman is beautiful, how do those of us driving a station wagon through life come to terms with this and own our beauty (in whatever shape it takes)?
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the only beholder’s eyes that matter are yours. Have you ever noticed that when you feel beautiful, you seem to attract more attention and receive more compliments?
The beauty people are seeing in you during those times is the inner radiance shining out from within. Likewise, when you are feeling unattractive, poorly dressed, and bloated with PMS, your light is dimmed and you aren’t attracting the same sort of attention.
Does beauty come in all shapes and sizes?
Some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen don’t have your typical Barbie face or bodies. No offence to beautiful statuesque blondes with big boobs and tiny wastes, but I find women who are more interesting looking to be more beautiful. I’ve seen some very striking women who are quite large. I look at them and wonder if they know just how lovely they are.
Do gorgeous women feel unattractive?
The ugly truth is that most women don’t realize just how beautiful they are. I see gorgeous women criticising the bodies and feeling unattractive.
This reminds me of the difference between men and women. Say you’re in a bar. There’s a man standing at the bar ordering a drink. He’s balding with a big beer gut. He’s not much to look at and his personality doesn’t add to his appeal. He surveys the room and his eyes rest on the most gorgeous woman in the bar. He grabs his drink and walks over to this paramount of loveliness with the confidence of someone who knows his worth and thinks that he has a chance with this goddess. Meanwhile, the woman in question also surveys the room, noticing all the other lovely women and feels unattractive in comparison to all the other women in the room.
Now of course, this is just a story, but I’ve seen this play out time and time again. The most unattractive of men thinks he has a chance with the most gorgeous of women. And often he’s right. The woman’s self-esteem, no matter how beautiful she appears, can be as fragile as glass.
Is a woman’s value derived from her looks?
I’m often quite aggrieved and can get my rant on when I see how a woman’s value is so connected to her appearance. The irony is that if a woman is too beautiful that can work against her as well. She might be perceived as unintelligent and lacking in talent.
Interestingly, there was an incident in Australian television that showed the superficial judgements against women compared with men. A female TV presented was shamed for wearing the same outfit twice (not in a row, but perhaps within a few months). Her co-host, and a long-time friend, was outraged on her behalf.
He couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about and he felt like it was very sexist. So he decided to prove a point. He wore the same outfit for an entire year. The showed aired five mornings a week. And do you know what? Not one person noticed or commented on the fact that he had the same suit on. That my dears, proves the point. Double standards are out there and they aren’t going anywhere soon.
Is beauty is squandered on (and by) the young?
When I was younger, I criticized my body and my weight. It feel sad when I look back at photos and think how lovely I was, how slim, how young. My body was fine, but didn’t realize it. I wasted so much time worrying about my appearance.
How do we change our relationship with our bodies?
As we reach middle age, we realize just how precious our bodies truly are. It is through this realization that we can form a healthier and more loving relationship with ourselves and our bodies.
When you think about all that your body does, it’s truly amazing. As a mother of two children, I know that my body grew two whole human beings. My now less than buoyant breasts (though smaller after a much appreciated breast reduction) nourished them into toddlerhood. My humble and very flat feet have carried me through this life. My arms allow me to hug those I love. My eyes allow me to gaze at beauty and to cry at tragedy.
How do you talk to yourself when you look in the mirror?
The dialogue I have with myself about my body is positive. I have bumps and lumps and sagging bits. But I also have lovely blue eyes, great skin (thanks to my English rose of a grandmother) and pretty good hair. I look good in clothes but not so good in bathers. But that’s fine with me. I don’t judge myself harshly when I look in the mirror. And I take good care of myself.
Imagine you are with a very good friend. She’s unhappy with her body. She’s always criticising her body and finding fault. What do you think of the way she talks about herself? As her friend, what would you say to her about her body?
We need to talk to ourselves as if we are our own best friends.
Also, think about how you speak out loud about your body. I have a very impressionable daughter. She’s beautiful and she feels gorgeous and I don’t want my self-criticism to infect her natural acceptance of her own body. I know that as she matures, this can’t be avoided forever, but I want her to retain her innocence and self-love for as long as possible. As mothers, we are in the powerful position of really impacting how our daughters feel about their bodies.
Moving towards self-love rather than criticism
It is through gratitude that we change our relationship with our bodies, and thereby change our lives.
My FREE Gift to You
I have a lovely mediation that I recorded that I wish to share with you here. In this mediation, I use the ancient Hawaiian spiritual practice of Ho'opononpono to give thanks to our bodies for all that they do for us.
This mediation is a great daily practice that can help you relax as well as helping with physical pain. This Ho'oponopono meditation is based on the book by Ihaleakala Hew Len, and Joe Vitale called Zero Limits.
It uses the powerful process of telling your body:
- Thank you
- I'm sorry (if I've hurt you)
- Please forgive me
- I love you
I have personally found this to be transformative and I hope you do too.
I’d love to know what you think of this blog and what issues it raises around womanhood and beauty.
Note: This post blog was first published as part of the Beauty of a Woman Blog Fest run by the amazing and gorgeous August McLaughlin. Check out other great blog posts celebrating and honouring the beauty of womanhood at: http://www.augustmclaughlin.com/boaw15/