I wanted to write this post because recently all my posts have been on skincare, make up, hair – everything related to beauty. I love writing about that stuff and sharing with all of you my buys and interesting products out there. However I wanted to make it clear and repeat a cliche that real beauty must come from within and not from photographs, media or products. There is a saying in Russian ( a language I speak) that people greet you by the way you look (dress) but say goodbye to you by the way you are. (Forgive my rough translation).
I tend to think I am not a very ‘flaky’ person but I can be influenced easily by what I see and what I hear so I have to be cautious on who I listen to for advise and the things I watch. A lot of things affect me more than other people and then I go through periods when I feel a lot of compassion for everyone and everything – a stray dog, a bum on the street, an article about an abandoned child or a natural disaster. I get so upset that I start to question things in the world and how this could be happening in the World we live in. I then want to jump up and immediately do something to stop all the injustices and try and do anything and everything to help. Of course, its not a very realistic thing to change the world in 2 seconds and some things are beyond our control, so then I get upset again because I feel useless.
This sort of thinking and feeling also makes me look the other way at others and question why I can’t have what they have. A better, skinnier body, a better looking, more symmetrical face, a better job, a loyal group of friends who constantly want to spend time with me. All these things I imagine other people have because they are better and I am not good enough. Like I imagine other people always having more fun than me while I am stuck at home doing nothing that important. Then I go through periods of change – I have to change myself to fit in, to be better, to be good enough. If only I had that skinnier waist, or a straighter nose, a better personality, a beautiful smile or a celebrity friend, I would be a happy person. This sort of though chasing has made me tired lately because I’ve been doing it since I was 12 and I started to really look for answers on what makes me feel this way.
I recently read a book by Haruki Murakami, a renowned Japanese writer who runs marathons. He is talented and writes a lot of interesting books. In this particular book – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Murakami talks a bit about getting older and making that acceptance. It was interesting to read about an incident he talks about when he was 16, when he stood in front of a mirror for a while and made a mental list of everything that was wrong with him – his eyebrows, teeth, nails etc and then he had an epiphany that since the list of all the physical things that were wrong with him was so long, imagine if he started to list all other things like his personality, thoughts, emotions. The list would definitely not end then. It gave me a bit of a realisation that we need to STOP publishing these lists in our heads on everything that’s wrong with us and instead accept that we are who we are. So many times have I heard this – Be yourself, everyone else is taken ( Oscar Wilde), I never really understood the power of doing that within yourself, the inner peace you automatically attain. Now I don’t know if its going to last long and if I will never be unhappy again, no one can guarantee that. But I feel better already and I think that’s what matters most.
Just today I was browsing through Facebook and I do believe Facebook can be destructive to human harmony because we just end up seeing everything and anything all of us are doing at any given point and time and these things have to be personal ads in a way. Our Facebook posts are personal ads on how much fun we’re having, how many opinions we have and how interesting we are. In reality we’re just people who want one fundamental thing – to be happy. Now what amount of Facebooking can give anyone that?
I see things on social media every day that makes me feel like what I am doing in my life is not important enough, good enough, cool enough. The truth is, with the expectations we put on ourselves today, we will never be that. We will never be good enough for the expectations we and society has placed on ourselves – especially us women. We will never be pretty enough, strong enough, motherly enough, smart enough. IT is simply impossible. And if we simply accept those factors as given, stop competing with each other and do our personal best and strive for our personal best, that is what will give us a fulfilling life. Yes, people will judge you, especially other women, will judge you on everything you do. But trust me, either way you can’t seem to win. At the end of the day, you will never be able to please everyone.
Now, when I see a post or an image or a movie and I think, why am I not that, why don’t I have that thing, why don’t I behave that way, there must be something wrong with me, I have to divert to another though – well, am I that person or am I me? A person with a completely different background, family, friends, life, interests, values. After all, aren’t we the individuals that we strive to be? Then why do we always look at someone else for answers on what we need to be happy?
We all need to learn to be a bit kinder to ourselves so that we can express more kindness to each other. Accept yourself and next time you catch yourself thinking – Why can’t I be that beautiful? while watching another Victoria’s Secret parade, take 2 deep breaths, listen to your body and say – I am me, I am me and no one else and I am certainly not that person on television and that is ok with me because I am not her. I am me. (full stop)
“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.”
― Rita Mae Brown
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
Sending all my kindness and hope this helps all of you gain more confidence. Love and accept yourselves so others can do so too!