friendship

Why being a child is the best time of your life

Our favourite blog from last week’s iBlog Friday has been chosen.

Joanna Lamb of Joanna Writes Here is the winner with her post about body image called, Is Beauty Skin Deep. Congratulations Joanna. Your prize is in the mail!

As children, we are told that beauty is skin deep.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Our mother’s words endeavour to teach us that looks aren’t all that counts; what counts is who you are on the inside - your kindness, your intelligence, your soul.  Life is simple in the playground – if you share your toys, use kind words and don’t hit people, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have friends no matter what you look like.  Children view life quite simply.  My friend recently simultaneously had a pimple and a cold sore on her face, and was lamenting how ugly she felt.  Her four year old daughter looked up at her and said ‘you’re still my beautiful mummy.’

Oh to be a child again.  We are barely out of nappies when we are inundated with ideals of how we should appear, and what ‘beautiful’ really is.  Suddenly, beauty isn’t about who we are, but rather more about how we look.  Flick through a glossy magazine and you’ll have a pretty good idea about what we are supposed to think beauty is.  We should have a flatter tummy and skinnier thighs.  Magazines are full of girls who are slim and leggy with flowing hair and perky breasts.  We see these images on billboards, on ads, on TV shows, in movies.  We admire them on catwalks and in magazines.  We are surrounded by images of high end fashion, flawless skin and thighs that have no dimples.  Not one dimple.  Eventually, these images and ideals become deeply ingrained in who we are and how we feel about ourselves.  And how we feel about ourselves sometimes isn’t that nice.

It takes a huge amount of confidence to reject what our culture has told us since we could talk, when in reality almost every woman I know wants to appear beautiful in their own way.  Even the most intelligent and educated women have chinks in their armour.  My sister, bless her heart, teeters around in heels because she thinks she isn’t tall enough.  A girlfriend of mine is embarrassed by her ‘ugly’ post-baby tummy.  I feel like grabbing her and shaking her, saying ‘you created and gave birth to another human being! How can that be ugly?’

No matter what I tell my husband, I am, in fact, not perfect and feel myself falling into this trap on a regular basis, chasing the elusive beauty myth.  I try to remind myself that a certain shade of lipstick, better hair or an expensive dress will not make me happy.  I make me happy.  Like everyone else, I’m a work in progress.  I try not to be so hard on myself.  Miranda Kerr has a personal trainer, chef, housekeeper and countless assistants as well as a disposable income.  Of course the woman looks so bloody smug.

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Oh it’s a struggle for me, though.  Nothing makes me want to spend money more than walking into Victoria’s Secret.  Everything is so beautiful and smiley and nice smelling, and makes me want to be like that too, badly.  Victoria’s Secret has a lot to answer for, come to think of it.  Watching a Victoria’s Secret fashion parade can make even the most well-adjusted woman feel just a little bit insecure, especially as your husband sits on the couch next to you drooling like a Labrador at a buffet.   It’s not that I’d like to be strutting around in suspenders and giant angel wings, but, come on, these women are ridiculously beautiful.  However, it’s important to remember that they are also genetically blessed and statistically rare creatures.  Ultimately, the standards of beauty that are being presented to us are, on the whole, pretty unattainable.  Oh, and putting on the same bra that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears on the Victoria’s Secret billboard doesn’t make you look like her.  True story.

I think it’s okay to aspire to be the best you.  But that encompasses so many other things as well as looks.  It’s about relationships, friendships, education, work, your brain and your soul, not just how perfect your body is.  There’s nothing wrong with admiring beauty, but understand that sometimes beauty is just an illusion.

It sounds so kindergarten, but really, a beautiful soul shines through, especially when you are happy and being the best that you can be.  One of my favourite quotes incidentally comes from a woman I have always thought of as beautiful.  Audrey Hepburn said ‘for beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.’

So do that.  Oh and take those trashy magazines with a grain of salt.  Everything is photo shopped.

See?

If you’d like to be included in this week’s iBlog Friday weekly roundup of Aussie bloggers, send your entry through to us by midday on Thursday at [email protected]

This week’s winner will score our fabulous “Books You Must Read” pack.

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