Post On: October 1, 2019
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Hey friends, I'm really excited about this month's topic, but before we dive in, I just want you to consider that you are only ever five steps away from a sustainable solution for any life situation when you approach it using the principles of a gap year mindset. And it's my hope that you'll come and visit us at thegapyeargirls.com to learn more!
So, now with that wonderful sponsor info out of the way….
Hey friends! As I've been going through my notes, researching and refining our content for the Gap Year Girl's membership site this month, we are diving into transforming our relationships with beauty, and I wanted to share in this public podcast for all of you guys listening, some of my reflections, insights, and takeaways for you to think about and integrate into your own life, to empower your relationships to beauty as well.
Shall we dive in?
Now, the first thing I noticed is that when I think about beauty, my mind immediately goes to my own personal image. I think about beauty as an industry that profits off of my own insecurities, and I believe there are a lot of negative stories that come up for women around beauty, because of the standards for it that are so unrealistic and unattainable for most people.
Standards that many of us are always being marketed to as being the epitome of what our life purpose is as women - which is a bit ironic because the standards themselves if you look back throughout history, have always been changing. One decade, it's in to be curvy, the next, straight and narrow. One decade, it's all about being soft and dainty, the next, having a superstar athlete body.
When we attach our self-worth to other people's definitions of beauty, we are SURE to struggle. I know I have. But what I want you to walk away with from listening to this podcast, is that beauty is RELATIVE in the eyes of the beholder. And it's up to you to discern whose eyes actually matter when beholding YOU. (Might I suggest that the first and most important pair of eyes, are yours?)
Now, if you consider the movements that emerged as a backlash to these unrealistic expectations, there is a whole other conversation that really sorts of condemns beauty because it is this unattainable or superficial standard. If women are expected by society to aspire towards becoming beautiful objects to behold by successful men. Then in order to reclaim our power as women some feminist movements preach the complete opposite message, saying that "beauty does'nt matter, what matters is that we are smart, what matters is that we speak our mind, what matters is that we pursue our career dreams…"
And somehow, because it is something that society values on a superficial level, if I desire to be perceived as beautiful, then I am somehow diminishing my ability to be recognized for anything else. We are sort of given two polarizing views on beauty and women's empowerment, because on the one side, beauty is sold to us by an industry that to be beautiful is EVERYTHING and our sole purpose as women, and the opposite is that beauty is entirely worthless and a distraction from our real goal which is __________ (fill in the blank)
But I'm here to propose, why can't we be all of those things? Why can't we embrace being courageous, independent, brilliant, and beautiful too? And I realized that many of us don't ACCEPT our own beauty because somewhere along the way, we picked up a belief that it was more safe or strategic to diminish our beauty instead of own it for the power that it is. We are afraid of who we might offend if we dare to say with confidence that I am a beautiful woman. Not placing our entire sense of self-worth on that statement, not basing its legitimacy on how well we measure up to current fashion trends, and not using beauty as a tactic for manipulating others.. But simply no longer resisting the beauty that we are and instead, seeing ourselves as valuable, worthy, powerful beings with incredible things to offer and contribute.
The deeper that I dive into beauty, the more expansive my definition of beauty becomes. I meet new people and notice, okay, who is it that I'm attracted to? Not just romantically, but what kinds of personalities am I attracted to? What kinds of character traits am I attracted to? I am looking beyond the surface in others because I dare to look beyond the surface with myself. I start to notice and value the glow of someone who lives with integrity, courage, compassion, and reverence for life - THAT is beautiful to me. And that level of appreciating beauty goes so far beyond what is currently trending for superficial appearances on the cover of a magazine.
Having that sense of appreciation for the aesthetic and intrinsic beauty of our life is something I have grown to find more and more value in. I value the feeling of experiencing life as beautiful and make it a priority to see the beauty in the ordinary and seek out opportunities to create more beauty in my environment.
The turning point is really when you start taking permission to validate your own self, and that's when you stop getting trapped in the feeling of needing to measure up to please or be good enough for someone else. Because you take responsibility for being the most important person that you want to impress with your thoughts, words, and actions each day.
Because really, and this is what I want you to understand, beauty is POWER - right? Think about it. When something is perceived as UGLY, we give those things the story that they hold 'no value.' When something isn't valuable, we stop paying attention to it, and we cast it aside to essentially disappear and never be heard from again.
On the other hand, when something is perceived as BEAUTIFUL, we give those things the story that they are extremely 'valuable.' And when something is seen as valuable, we pay lots of attention to it, we focus on it, care for it, and protect it fiercely.
Think about the implications that this has from a global perspective now for a moment. If you, as an individual, chose to rebelliously decide that the world was a beautiful place worth protecting, you would align yourself with a story that would guide you for the rest of your life to act in a way that honors that your world is inherently VALUABLE and therefore take care of the earth that you walk on because of your intrinsic appreciation for its beauty.
And what if everyone did this? What if everyone chose to walk through their life, choosing to see the earth's living systems as a beautiful place? Right now, it is obvious that so many of us don't because there is such a massive crisis of environmental destruction… and why is that happening? It's happening because the people currently with the power to make those destructive decisions believe that there is more VALUE in destroying and pillaging the earth for her resources than there is in preserving and enjoying the natural beauty of our earth's systems working in harmony.
We value and take care of what is beautiful because there is value in it for us in the feeling of experiencing and beholding what is beautiful in all of its richness and splendor. Remember that beauty is simply a matter of perspective.
This is just as true for yourself, as it is for the planet we live on.
And, we tend to disregard, ignore, and even make worse the things that we presently see as ugly. For example, all of the plastic pollution washing up on ocean shores all across the globe. For many of us, we see that as ugly and look the other way. Or, we see it as trashed and decide to just pile more on because 'it's already gross.'
It takes a special person to remember the truth that beyond the garbage, there is a beautiful beach worth restoring, and the beauty of that beach when it is clean holds a value that is worth protecting. When you choose a perspective that values beauty and the potential to create and restore beauty where it has presently been lost, you hold power to transform the world.
You are the only one who can make that choice, but once you do, it will be a paradigm for living that will encourage and support a lifetime of taking care of yourself and the earth that is aligned from a place of love and appreciation, instead of a place of fear and obligation. That is true leadership. That is powerful. And that is the choice that I am committed to, and I hope you will make for yourselves too.
So that's what we are really doing with beauty this month on our membership site. And I just wanted to share some of these thoughts with you. That beauty starts with yourself, yes, but when you can heal these different disempowering stories about feeling like you're not good enough on the outside, once that clutter clears away, you can come back to stillness and intentionally look at yourself in your reflection and choose to see beauty.
From here, we begin to notice how much more can we appreciate the beauty in our lives and appreciate the beauty in other people too. Because if you can imagine, if you are always focused on what's wrong or what's ugly when you look in the mirror, what do you think you're going to habitually focus on when you look at other people? Right? You're going to focus on what you think is ugly and what you judge to be not good enough in other people or in the world too.
It's all about what are you choosing to focus on. Because it's not wrong to see a blemish on your face or trash on the road and label it as ugly. But does it serve you to give that label? How do you feel when you walk through the world, focusing on everything ugly and wrong, versus, choosing to write a new story and decide to focus on what is beautiful.
Whether it's in your personal reflection, or how that reflection is then projected into your external environment. Beauty brings us to the present moment to appreciate whatever is right in front of us. And that is a skill worth learning.
That's the journey I've been on and why I'm so passionate about sharing these insights and applying the Gap Year Mindset for transformation in our membership site so if you are curious or interested in joining us, then please do yourself a favor and sign up and go through The Intentional Gap Year workshop! Give yourself the gift of a deep dive within yourself to reflect on where you are at and where you want to be going, and empower yourself with the tools and I've to get there no matter what circumstances you face. We'd love to have you join, thank you for listening, and if you've got any thoughts or insights from the ideas shared in this podcast, please comment them down below, I would love to hear them, and I look forward to connecting with you and hopefully seeing you inside the membership!