What Makes Us Feel Beautiful

Photo credit: Jessica Felicio

Society’s conditioning is too damn good at making us feel old and fat and ugly.

Yeah, we’d be so much happier if we stopped trying so hard to meet the media’s demands of how our outer shells should appear. Yeah, we’d be so much happier if connected with our own unique expressions of beauty instead. But where do we even start with that?

Even body positivity Instagramers who post all that ‘body love’ online moan privately to their friends about how much they hate their bodies. Not all of them, but enough of them to make us wonder if anybody really, honestly, deeply loves the body they’re in.

So what the hell do real people do when we don’t feel like we’re ‘measuring up’?

Caroline actually does head for Intagram for inspiration, courage and support. But it works for her because she follows what she calls ‘lovely humans’. The con about this she says though, is that she doesn’t share her deepest, darkest bruises with her closest friends anymore. ‘I keep it to myself and I try to “self-heal” which sometimes tends to leave me feeling isolated and alone.’

Sabine dances. She says, ‘When I turn up the music and dance for nobody but me, I forget about all that outer stuff, all those beauty standards that I couldn’t possibly match, and I become aware, instead, of the beauty that resides within all of us, of the magnificence we’re all connected to.’

Daniela surrounds herself with family and friends who make her laugh, she walks in nature, she’ll wear a beautiful dress and go dancing, or paint her nails and get her hair done. ‘And most importantly, I make an effort to start looking after myself one day at a time.’

Terri says she doesn’t criticise herself in the same way since she’s hit 40. ‘I look at myself with all the love I have for myself, acknowledging that life is a journey and I am here because of it.’

Vivienne uses gratitude. ‘I remind myself how strong and healthy my body is. How well and hard it works for me. How lucky I am to never get sick and when I do I heal so fast. All my life it’s been a struggle and I’ve had to realise no matter how skinny I get I will always have that scared little fat girl inside me. She deserves my love and grace.’

Ingrid says that feeling happy in your own skin also comes down to your mental effort. ‘Work with passion. Meditate. Savour the small moments. Be conscious. All that makes for a happy mental state. Embrace who you are. If you are happy in your mind, the rest falls into place.’

And Anne, who is in her 70s, says, ‘Listen honey, you’ll spend your whole life moaning about being old and fat and ugly until one day you’re 60 plus and you realise you really are old and fat and ugly and you look back at the photos from your youth and wish you knew how beautiful you really were, so get your “fat belly” out on the beach right now, love who you are right now, celebrate every inch of your body and don’t come back from that beach till you’ve had some fun!’

And why argue with a command like that? Here’s to loving every inch of our bodies. Here’s to fun. Here’s to now. Here’s to us.

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