I was recently asked to submit my thoughts on the topic of beauty for a newsletter.
It’s a small miracle they fit into a blog post or newsletter. Truthfully, I could have written a billion pages on beauty- what it is, what it isn’t, my own relationship to what is beautiful, and my reactions to what others find beautiful (have spared you most of my ranting and raving on this particular piece- but boy could I offer some uh… opinions, no mincing of words on that!).
The topic of beauty…. that’s a big loaded issue around here. As a therapist/coach/intuitive who helps women and teens find freedom from overeating, I hear plenty about beauty. I thank the heavens that I am in my “wise-woman” years and not a teenager as our culture gets more crazy and obsessive around standards of beauty.
Beauty as dictated by external societal standards has become loaded with tension, with deprivation, with perfectionism and endless comparisons to others.
How beautiful is that?!
In our culture, pursuing beauty seems more about avoiding shame and self-loathing than anything having to do with real beauty.
The positive response to the Dove campaign around ‘real women’ tapped into our collective relief at being momentarily reminded of other options. I doubt it lasted for many women- I suspect that quickly after feeling better at seeing more realistic and representative images of what women truly look like, most of us were again bombarded by the rest of the images typically facing us, and returned to feeling not-beautiful.
I have my own beliefs about what is beautiful and have lived long enough to know that it’s not about who is thinnest, blondest, most artfully made up or fashionable.
It’s not about plastic surgery, which truthfully so rarely improves anyone’s appearance in ways that appeal to me, and so often looks grotesque but that’s another rant for another day.
It’s not about the perfect outfit or the bag-of-the moment. Those things just never do the trick, do they? I mean, how great would it be if things like that really did heal women from insecurities and the self-hatred that so many of us carry deep inside.
I find the quest for the beauty-fix so painful to watch, because I know intimately and daily through my work that it doesn’t do it. It’s an endless empty search.
To me real beauty is visceral, an energy. I can feel it as much as see it. It has something to do with a kind of embodiment. And it has a lot to do with self-expression and creative energies and the way somebody connects to others and the world around her.
For 24 years, I’ve been privileged to help thousands of women and teens find their true beauty. Learning to love what is truly lovable about themselves is what heals. This is truly an inside job and as much as we may try to look our best, deep inside we know it.
What if you believed that you and that faithful body of yours were sacred ground? What if you truly lived as if your body were the temple for your soul? What if you remembered that you were divinely created, and that you were unique and perfect and good enough? Would you finally come home to your self and remember your origins? Wouldn’t that change you?
Just for a moment, pause if you are willing. Close your eyes and settle into your physically imperfect self and remember that you are sacred ground. You are a divine holy woman. Your body is a temple. For a few moments just connect with this knowing and breathe it in- no judgment, no backtalk. Let the truth fill you up, and light up every cell. Gently open your eyes and carry your bright light with you today. Beautiful.
Lisa Claudia Briggs, is an Intuitive Psychotherapist, Mentor, and Consultant helping women find freedom from overeating. Lisa created the Intuitive Body approach, which allows women to reconnect with their bodies and their relationships through their intuitive knowing and guidance. She has a high rate of success with eating disorders and uses energy healing, guided imagery, and other innovative techniques with clients. She just finished her book Freedom From Binges.