Saturday 10 July 2010

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Discussion: What About WHO We Are?

We all look at what we look like, find the flaws and obsess over them, try hard to make ourselves look "perfect", whether it be through make-up, diets, exercise, cosmetic surgery, etc. But what about the good things about us that make us who we are? What about our qualities? Why aren't these things that we focus on, even remember?

I'm friendly, I'm kind and polite, and I'm supportive. Why don't I remember this? I'm fairly smart, and I can be funny. Why don't I remember this? I pride myself on my morals, knowing my own mind, and my self-respect. Why don't I remember this? I am a nice, good person! Yet all that will go out the window on those days when I notice how twig-like my arms are, just how knobbly my knees are, when I can't wear the clothes I want because I can't fill them. Why?

Lisa Cox, motivational speaker and author of Does My Bum Look Big in this Ad?, said in an interview recently with UP! Magazing, "Beauty is… not a physical commodity. Confidence, humility, self-respect, honesty, intelligence and modesty are absolutely stunning!"

I know exactly what she means; I can look at people I know, see how wonderful they are, and be so glad to know them, no matter what they look like. Yet when it comes to myself, it's a different story. And I know I'm not the only one.

What is so wrong with just being happy with who we are? Haven't we always been told it's what's on the inside that counts?

I'll leave you with these quotes from North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley that really struck a chord with me:

'I had always felt a foreigner in this made-up Land of Beautiful, and it was a relief to see Extreme Beauty for what it really was: fake, make-believe, insubstantial.' (p349)

'Let the glossy spreads have their heart-stopping, head turning kind of beauty. Give me the heart-filled beauty instead. Jolie laide, that's what I would choose. Flawed, we're truly interesting, truly memorable, and yes, truly beautiful.' (p355)

Thoughts please. Why do you think we simply forget what wonderful people we are?


  1. Partly I think because the media place a huge emphasis on what people look like. You can't watch a TV programme without an advert for some anti-wrinkle cream or a new cosmetic. When I was a teen, I hated my skin. I have a terrible complexion. I used to pile on the make up. But now I'm older (wiser) I hardly ever put on foundation or powder. I let my skin breathe and I've learnt not to care about it. I also think that I kind of love who I am now. I know I am comical and enthusiastic. I like being that way and so I don't feel self-conscious going out without make up. I never wear make up to work and it doesn't bother me or worry me.

  2. I agree with Becky about the media. But I think there is also just the pressure from the people around you that you put on yourself. I always want to be like someone else who is slimmer, or prettier, or taller than I am and I forget to notice the good points about myself.

  3. it's not just the media, I think?

    It's partly because at a point where we're all trying to find the right "look" or identity for ourselves- middle school/ high school-- our peers are notoriously famous for nitpicking about how other people look. This might probably affect how we perceive ourselves? As we are careful not to look the "weird" or else face repercussions from society.

  4. Becky - That's just so awesome that you're happy as you are, and love who you are! That's just brilliant! I very rarely where make-up myself. I don't see the point.

    Sophie - Aww, Sophie! But you're really pretty! Plus you're lovely! Ignore everyone else.

    Tumblenc - I agree with you, that peer pressure is a factor too. But it's sad.

  5. I think it's also human nature, Jo. Intrinsically, I think we just really tend to focus on what's wrong with us, because one of our innate instincts is to be the best we can be. However, I think what we think as the best we can be is in turn, influenced by our society's perception and the media. It's a balance and a keen inner eye should help! Wonderful post, very insightful!

  6. Wow, Dwayne, that's a fantastic point! I don't think I would have thought of things that way. Thanks for commenting! :)