Yes, everyone IS beautiful.

(Just to warn you: this blog post is longer than my usual post, so please pull up a seat and relax) 🙂

I recently came across a (widely popular) blog post titled, “Not Everyone Is Beautiful“. I admit seeing it challenged me to the core. Being that I am a Body Image Coach and talk a LOT about beauty, the title threw me off but I figured I should give it a chance. As I started reading it, some of what she said resonated with me and caused me to ponder. The truth is, society does own the word “beautiful” and when most people think of the word, they automatically think of “looks” or “physical beauty”.

She went on to talk about the harmful effects of using the word “beautiful” to young girls, saying, ” It sends our young women horrible mixed messages, telling them that everyone is beautiful, and sending them into despair when the boys flock after someone with a thinner waistline and a wider bust.”

Her conclusion is to “let go” of the word beautiful and replace it with words such as “valuable” and “worth loving”.

If I can digress for a minute, let’s look at these lyrics from a song that I love.

You are so beautiful to me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful to me

Such joy and happiness you bring
Such joy and happiness you bring
Like a dream
A guiding light that shines in the night
Heavens gift to me

You are so beautiful to me

(written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher)

and here is the video version with Joe Cocker

 

Somehow singing “You are so valuable…to me” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The thing is, I do agree with what she is saying…. to a point. If we are ONLY talking about looks, I can see how that could be detrimental to someone’s self image. They might think the only thing they have going for them is their outer appearance. It puts a ton of pressure on girls and (and boys) to maintain their youthful beauty. There are many girls trying to attain this unrealistic image of beauty and as a result many of them develop eating disorders.

There ARE more important adjectives to describe someone, especially as we talk to young kids.

I would prefer to tell my daughter she is funny, smart, kind and loving.

However, the times that we DO tell her she is beautiful, she knows what we mean. Why? We have TAUGHT her the meaning of inner beauty.

Yes, we can teach our kids, and children everywhere what being BEAUTIFUL really means. Or at least what it SHOULD mean, aside from looks.

You see my friends, I don’t see this as a black and white issue. I don’t feel we should have to decide to completely let go of the word “beautiful” in our vocabulary, because the truth is, the word isn’t going anywhere.

Our perception of the word “beautiful” and the context in which we use it is TOTALLY UP TO US.

I LOVE when my husband tells me I am beautiful because I realize the depth of his words.  And when a friend of mine tells me she is ugly I counteract with, “No, you are beautiful” and she knows exactly what I mean. She knows that I see the good qualities of her shining through— her warm personality, her funny disposition. She has a special glow about her that is beautiful.

I see her Inner Beauty.

Let’s talk about perception and how it relates to culture. Some cultures see large women as beautiful. Some see fair-skinned women as beautiful. Even in America our perception has changed over time. Just think about Marilyn Monroe.

tobebeautifulmeans

I believe that beauty is our natural state.

I believe that we are an extension of this grand universe, which is amazingly beautiful. I believe that our beauty cannot be taken away because it stems from our soul.

Nobody tells a baby that he/she is ugly (okay, maybe some babies are cuter than others, but still). In general, babies are ALL beautiful in our eyes… we gush over their precious little toes and fingers and wonder at the miracle of life as we stare at their sweet body.

Over time, the child may need dorky looking glasses, or may have buck teeth. He/she may gain weight or be too skinny (according to society). As a grown woman especially after children, she may be wobbly in all the wrong places, loose skin hanging out and boobs drooping to the floor. Men may start to grow “man-boobs”, lose their muscle tone and grow long hairs in their nose.

This is where I disagree with the author. She concludes, “not everyone is beautiful.” I call B.S.

Yes, according to society, not everyone is beautiful based on impossible standards.

However, outer beauty is subjective. The song I mentioned states, “You are so beautiful to me.” TO ME. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks.

And I am not only talking about LOOKS. Do your family and friends see your INNER BEAUTY that was there all along? Do they look past your perfect imperfections to the real, authentic you?

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What if nobody thinks you are beautiful?

Do you know who I think is the MOST IMPORTANT beholder?

YOU.

You are the one who decides your worth, therefore YOU are the one who can decide to see yourself as BEAUTIFUL, warts and all.

I love this quote by actress, Gabby Sidibe who starred in the film, “Precious”.

“One day I decided that I was beautiful. And so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world sees you. What matters is what you see.”

You know why I shared this? As a very obese women, she is not what society would typically deem beautiful.

I did this (decided I am beautiful) and it made a WORLD of difference. I used to HATE how I looked. I compared my body all of the time. It wasn’t until I changed my definition of beauty that I was able to transform my thinking and therefore, cultivate a more positive image of myself.

So this brings me back to my shared concern with the author about talking to kids about being “beautiful” and being careful not to send mixed messages. We do not want them to think beauty is just about looks and that it should be their first priority in life.

So what should we do? Say “That’s it! I’m deleting the word from my vocabulary! NEVER again will I use that damned word “beautiful.”?

NO, that is ludicrous.

I am very proactive by nature. If I see I need to educate, I am compelled to do it. Why don’t we set out to EDUCATE our younger generation (and older too) about what INNER BEAUTY means? We can teach them that it’s okay to use the word “beautiful” if it’s in the right context. And if someone DOES say “You are beautiful” (based on outer appearance), we can learn to accept the compliment with a sincere “thank you” and then right away ALSO remind ourselves of our other positive traits.

I recently posted a video based on a previous blog post titled, “I have a dream”… I ended my piece by saying ” I have a dream that we will ALL be able to say ‘I am beautiful.”

I wasn’t talking about outer beauty. I was talking about seeing our INNER BEAUTY and accepting our WHOLE selves… no matter what we look like.

So, if we are talking about TRUE BEAUTY…. the Inner beauty that we are born with, I say

“Yes, everyone IS beautiful.”

It may not be a popular view. It may not lead me to getting hundreds of blog post “likes”.  But I offer no apology. Let me share a disclaimer:  I do not care one bit if you disagree. Since it IS all about semantics as the aforementioned blogger states,  if you would rather just use the words “valuable” and “worth loving” (though that one is a mouthful) that is fine with me!

(but I secretly still think you are beautiful) 😉

ONE LAST THING!……Since I set out to make this a longer than usual blog post, and because our power went out two days ago and I had time on my hands, I wrote this poem that I wanted to share with you all (because the post isn’t long enough–hee hee)

Enjoy!

beholderisme

___________________________________________________________________________________________

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
do I have permission to feel beautiful
even when the beholder thinks I’m
ugly
fat
not worthy
of love, respect, and desire?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
do I have the freedom to feel beautiful
even when others
compare me
measure me
judge me
for not looking like an airbrushed model of perfection?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
when I look in the mirror
can the beholder be the one staring back
whose journey was fraught with
body loathing
punishment
and shame
exasperated by the voice inside who said
to be beautiful is to be
skinny as a pencil?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and I am the the one beholding,
like a diamond in the rough
I may only see the hard outer edges,
worn by life’s pounding
yet when chiseled away
reflects a beautiful, sparkling diamond.

There, inside the depths of my soul
lies true beauty;
beneath the hardened edges of life
shining it’s light from within.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and the beholder is me.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Love and Blessings,

Kellie
Certified Health Coach/Body Image Coach
www.nourishedandnew.com

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I have a dream….

I HAVE A DREAM…

that we will look at a bathroom scale and stare at it with a funny look  wondering what the heck it is used for

that we will graciously accept a compliment about what we look like with a sincere “thank you”…. and BELIEVE it

that we will enjoy ___(insert your favorite dessert- mine would be chocolate) without worrying that it will make us fat

that we will look past size and into a person’s soul, without judgement, comparison and envy

that women will find their round tummy sexy, and even flaunt it (maybe even be photographed nude!)

that we will feel sensual in front of our spouse/partner, even with loose skin and saggy boobs

that men will feel no shame in expressing their emotions and that they will also own how they look without feeling like they have to be the next Chuck Morris

that we will not seek happiness and fulfillment in elective, cosmetic surgery…. better yet that tummy tucks will go out of style

that we can wear a swim suit on the beach without obsessing about how we look the whole time

that instead of worrying about calories, we will choose our food based on how it tastes, and what our body is telling us in that moment

that our size will no longer be seen as a “problem” and that others will realize that our health and happiness is what is important

that “FUNspiration” will replace “FITspiration”

that healthy eating will be seen as a lifelong journey, not as a one time, restrictive fad

that we will realize that “no one diet works for everyone”.  Labels will be meaningless.

that women will no longer be used as sex objects to sell things such as cars and website hosts

that women , and men, of all ages, shapes, sizes, races and sexual orientation will be celebrated without shame, in the workforce, in the home, in Hollywood, and everywhere around the world

I have a dream that we will ALL be able to say without ANY hesitation: “I AM BEAUTIFUL”!!!

….Yes, I have a Dream…. do you? I have a dream photo

photo courtesty of http://www.freedigitialphotos.net/naypong

Kellie McGarry, Certified Holistic Health Coach

I am a rose

I am a rose

in a field of flowers.

Not one rose is the same

and yet, we all have thorns.

Thorns that pierce the darkest corner of our spirit

until we dream of their release.

Yet, without these markings, who would we be?

Are we not, then,  unreal clones who do not know true beauty?

No, true beauty comes from knowing that we are one of a kind,

yet connected by perceived imperfections.

Those who are fixated on our thorns do not appreciate who we are.

For without them, we would not be true.

We would not be whole.

We would not be a gorgeous, unique, rose.

likearosePicMonkey Collage

Peeling back the layers

Recently I have been pondering over a statement that a client said to me.

She said, “Every time I talk with you, I feel like a new person.” 

A GREAT thing to hear, but it makes me think…what does it really mean to feel like a NEW person? It is not like we work on our health goals, weather it be weight loss, eliminating gluten, or simply eating more whole foods…. and then become a whole new person.  We are still the same person inside… we have the same passions, the same talents, the same skills.  What happens, is that a lot of times, these things get buried deep down inside of us.  We no longer trust ourselves so we focus solely on surviving.  We focus on how to get through the day without obsessing too much over food.  How to avoid as many hurtful comments as possible.  How to keep plugging away with a job that we hate.  How to be the best mom we can be and still not go crazy.

As I was thinking more about this, it dawned on me…. working through our struggles and obstacles with the goal of reaching the other side… of finally finding that other version of ourselves that we have dreamed of…..is actually more like peeling an onion.  We all have layers to us.  Some of us prefer to keep that hard exterior of the onion and others wear our emotions on our sleeve and may have an easier time “peeling back the layers.”   So, in essence, at the core of our being… that core to the onion, so to speak… was always there.

The other day, I was taking a shower and experienced what I call, “The Writing in the Shower Phenomenon. ”  No, of course, I didn’t literally write in the shower. 😉  But I know many of  us seem to be the most creative in the shower.  Or maybe it has to do with the fact that it’s summer time and it’s the only time I have to think!!

Anyway… the words to the following poem just sort of came to me.  I’m not sure if this is really a typical poem.  But the natural progression of this poem reminds me of peeling back layers.  It’s the typical story of the emotions of the clients who come to me.  See if any of these words resonate with you.  It also reminds me that a lot of times , we base our identity on what we look like, or on our negative emotions.

Most importantly, I hope this helps you realize, that there IS hope on the other side.   You are loved!

onions

(photo courtesty of freedigitalphotos.net/Grant Cochrane)

The progression of I AM……(story of a client)

I AM hate

I AM shame

I AM fat

I AM a number

I AM worthless

I AM desperate

I AM the new diet.

I AM controlled

I AM rigid

I AM overwhelmed

I AM a failure

I AM searching

I AM hoping

I AM learning

I AM  a client

I AM supported

I AM open

I AM exposed

I AM aware

I AM accepting

I AM positive energy

I AM peace

I AM passion

I AM free

I AM beautiful

I AM me

I AM LOVE.

What does “feeling like a new person” mean to you? If this post resonates with you, I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments!

Much love,

Kellie McGarry

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

Finding Freedom- a poem about healing

I am hoping this poem will resonate with someone! This one just came to me yesterday.

August 9, 2007 070_2

What is it that weighs me down like an anchor at the bottom of the sea.
I am shackled by the darkness. Is it

Fear
Shame
Bitterness

Holding onto what I should look like, think and feel?

If I let go will I drown in my awareness or swim to a place where freedom lies?

Free of doubts
Free of pain
Free of comparisons

Will I drown in the storm or be lifted up to a place where I can be me? Where I can simply BE?

Freedom comes when I take a breath and rise up to a place of healing.

Letting go of my shackles, I do not know the place where the crystal blue water hits the glistening sand.

But I know that transformation awaits when I graciously, fearlessly, and with great faith, open my heart and surrender to the tides of water that we call life.

–by Kellie McGarry

Holistic Health Coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

kids at shore Morro Bay

Perfectly Beautiful

Many of you know that I struggled with anorexia and bulimia in college.  I am so grateful to no longer struggle with that and now I can help other women learn to love and accept themselves.

So I was going through my file cabinet the other day and found this poem that I wrote in college while I was recovering from the eating disorder.  I may not be the best poet in the world, but I love to express myself when I am feeling low.  I want to explore this side of me more when I am feeling happy too!

Many of us struggle with body image and low self worth and I hope this poem encourages you, not matter what your journey is.  (just an fyi, i wrote this from the perspective of God talking to me)

I also want to encourage you to explore your creative side!  It can do wonders for your healing.

________________________________________________________________

Perfectly Beautiful

You say you want to be like others
Well, what about being like Me?
Patience, love and kindness are better
than skinny as skinny can be
Please don’t sit in agony when I can offer you peace

Child, I know you’re hurting because
I hurt the same as you
I cry the tears that you’re crying
But I long to wipe yours dry

You say it’s too overwhelming
and you can’t see the light at the end
Why even try, you say with a sigh
When this is my identity

So let me speak these words to you
because to me you are so
perfectly funny, perfectly kind
perfectly sweet and you’re perfectly Mine
I’ll tell you the words you long to hear
You are perfectly, perfectly beautiful– all the time.

Have you ever seen an eagle fly so gracefully?
He spreads his wings with confidence
and soars the skies with ease
Step by step, he learned to fly
It took some time, you see
You can be free too, my child, if only you’d believe
That step-by-step I’m right here with you
And I’ll carry you in my wings

So take the first step to get better
It would mean the world to Me
To see you soar with confidence
And to be free my beautiful child
To be free.

Blessings,

Kellie McGarry

Certified Health Coach

www.nourishedandnew.comImage