I apologize for neglecting my blog for the past few days, but I have had a hard time pulling myself away from the news coverage of the chaos that has taken over Boston. The events that have unfolded are horrific and surreal. I never imagined that a city, like Boston, could virtually be shut down, but Boston’s finest did it and we caught him! My heart is always with you Boston and we will persevere. We are too strong and too resilient not to.
On a more uplifting note, which I think everyone could use right about now, I highly recommend that you watch this link:
The other day one of my best friends sent me this link to a Dove campaign entitled “Real Beauty Sketches.” I was truly moved by it and swear that it is beyond inspirational. I also found that this ad is pertinent to women, like myself, who suffer from low self-esteem and varying extremes of body dysmorphia. Every women can learn a lesson from this social experiment conducted by Dove.
Collectively, as women, we need to learn that we are more beautiful than we think, or know, and we must start seeing ourselves in a brighter (truer) light. We must try and view ourselves in the same manner as others (strangers, friends, acquaintances, etc.) already do. Once we are able to do this than we will finally see just how amazing and beautiful people we are, both inside and out. Dove’s ad shows us how we are our own harshest critic, and in a sense, our own worst nightmare. Ladies (and gents) we need to ease back A LOT.
*SPOILER ALERT* please only keep reading if you’ve already watched the ad!
I personally thought that the part in the campaign, when the forensic artist reveals the sketches, to the people involved in the social experiment, to be eye-opening. I felt like I had an “ahhh-haaa” moment. It’s truly shocking, as well as disheartening, to see just how skewed so many women’s perceptions of themselves are. I hope that this statement doesn’t make me sound self absorbed, but I kind of thought that I was the only one who was so harsh on myself. I really did not know, prior to viewing the campaign, that low self-esteem is a rampant epidemic among the women of the US. I mean I’m a sociology major, and have learned a lot about how women constantly are influenced, mainly by the media, into comparing themselves to unrealistic beauty standards. I know this might come as a shocker, but the models and celebrities in ads are photoshopped (please note I am being sarcastic). I really should know better, but I too am affected. It was not until I heard how harsh and negative some of these women were when they described their features did I finally realized just how much change needs to occur within our society. We have to start seeing the beauty in ourselves, we just must.
As part of my treatment I have actually been working on trying to view my physical self more positively. This is really tough I’m not going to lie. One of the most significant stressors in my daily life is actually when I have to look in a mirror. I know this may sound crazy to most, and you might think that everyone can find something they don’t like about themselves, but my disapproval with my appearance is an extreme case. It probably comes as no surprise that my affliction towards mirrors stems from my ed…my fear of gaining weight greatly affects how I see myself and just how critical I am on myself. So, in order to combat this destructive and harmful behavior of mine, I have started doing “mirror work” in my therapy sessions. Performing this task involves me standing in front of a mirror and describing, using shapes, textures, colors, etc. (I must consciously avoid using negative or critical words) to my therapist. She than writes down everything I say and we dissect it after I’ve finished this painful, but completely necessary process. It is hard and I’ve left my sessions near tears a few times, but I need to do this to get better. Just like the women in the Dove campaign I am my harshest critic and need to learn to see myself how the rest of the world does. This I think is one of the most important, parts of my recovery.
Here are some inspirational sayings and images that help me, when I would rather poke out my own eyes than stare at myself in the mirror for an extended period of time:
why is it ok to be mean to yourself when you are nice to everyone else?
think about how much happier your spirit will be once you rid yourself of negative thoughts.
real and true beauty is internal not external.
looks should not, and will not, define you. other qualities are stronger and more important.
at the end of the day I need to be happy with me. i am uniquely beautiful no matter what others think.
(hopefully I believe all of this in the near future)
My wonderful daughter, I have seen your beauty every day of your life and I couldn’t be more proud of the new perspective you are gaining in seeing it your self. You are so strong and so wise.