Ugly truth about per­fec­tion

Western Times - - LIFE / FAMILY LIFFE - TALK THE TALK ROBYN COURT­NEY

ANY­ONE who knows me well would tell you I don’t get caught up with the way I look. I spend lit­tle time or money on hair or make-up and de­vote the min­i­mum to clothes and shoe shop­ping. I think it’s im­por­tant to have a clean, neat and tidy ap­pear­ance and to be fit and healthy – that’s self-care and tak­ing pride in one’s self – but I’m not into chang­ing the way I look or how I present my­self vis­ually to the world. I am happy in my own skin and, trust me, it’s not per­fect. I just don’t get the word ugly when it comes to ap­pear­ance. For me phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance says very lit­tle about our char­ac­ter or value as a per­son. I hadn’t given this much thought un­til the other day, af­ter go­ing to Pink’s con­cert. This ex­tra­or­di­nary artist brought home this idea in a stir­ring re­count of a mes­sage to her daugh­ter, who had re­cently told Pink she felt ugly. Her words res­onated with me: “We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other peo­ple to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.” Body dis­sat­is­fac­tion, neg­a­tive self-image and self-ac­cep­tance are real is­sues for many peo­ple – both male and fe­male and of all ages. It’s an in­ter­nal process of­ten in­flu­enced by ex­ter­nal fac­tors. Un­for­tu­nately some peo­ple think they need to change how they look to feel good about them­selves. The un­re­al­is­tic im­ages of beauty we are bom­barded with in the me­dia and so­ci­etal pres­sures to look a cer­tain way are hav­ing the big­gest im­pact, es­pe­cially on our young peo­ple. Pink’s daugh­ter is a case in point. At six years of age she said to her mum, “I’m the ugli­est girl I know.” My own teenage daugh­ter has had sim­i­lar thoughts. When in­di­vid­u­als don’t think they mea­sure up in the beauty stakes they de­velop a strong sense of dis­sat­is­fac­tion and the way that man­i­fests it­self can be very ugly. Un­for­tu­nately the un­re­al­is­tic, un­ob­tain­able and highly stylised ap­pear­ance ideals that have been fab­ri­cated will con­tinue to be shoved in our face. The ques­tion is, how do we make a per­son feel com­fort­able and happy with the way they look and less likely to feel im­pacted by the im­ages of so­called per­fec­tion be­ing por­trayed? Don’t look in a mir­ror – recog­nise your in­ner worth. To truly feel good, work from the in­side out. Fo­cus on your strengths. With self-ac­cep­tance comes con­fi­dence and that is true beauty.

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