After my last interview with Cate Conway, I got thinking about what she said when I asked her, What tip would you give to stay looking youthful? She replied,
“I would say smiling, it sounds so cliché, but I think when you look happy you look so much better.”
With such a great culture embedded in asthtetical beauty, it begs the question, is beauty skin deep, or does our inner depths and personality really make a difference as to how people look at us and how we look at ourselves and others.
For many years I have been reading self-help books like the great Louise L Hay’s You can heal your life, M Scott Peck’s The road less travelled. These have taught me to look at myself and situations positively in order to change the outcome. But how do mindfulness techniques make us shine and view ourselves and others as beautiful?
We look at what the media feeds us daily as to how we should look and how we then view ourselves as a result of the overfeeding of the size 0 model and the photoshopped pictures. I can see beauty in everything and I am not by any means judging these girls for their choices to get into this sort of career, but would they have chosen differently if the obsession for flawless skin, a perfect body, long and luscious hair weren’t what the media was telling us is what beautiful is?
There have been moves in the past few years to bring the unusual, the different and the obscure, from the dark shadows of the sidelines to the spotlighted glows of the fashion catwalks. I am glad that this has given a voice to the groups in society who may feel different and misjudged, but this is still not the norm for many others.
For these models, it must be an inner self-assurance and positivity about beauty that gives them the ability to see past what is judged as “ugly” or “different” and turn it into something that we can now look at as a different aspect of beauty. Do we look at these pictures and see their positive body language come through which makes us respect a different aspect of what is beautiful and inspiring.
As a mother of 3 girls, I feel that by calling them a “princess” or remarking about their asthetical beauty makes them forget about what I feel is the real beauty, which for me is kindness, empathy, love, and forgiveness. When a child smiles and is happy, how can you see anything but beauty? The beauty of innocence in a child is so endearing, it’s such a pity that these traits can get left behind as social encounters through growing up teach us to defend our selves, be strong and lose trust, making us more protective and defensive.
I was bullied in school for being too skinny, I spent my younger years wanting to put on weight, I would wear 3 pairs of tights to make my legs look bigger, and as I got to secondary school I got bullied for having small boobs and this totally affected my self-confidence. I wore clothes that covered me up so people couldn’t comment on my looks. But the worst thing is I would have been that size 0 model, 5 foot 7inches no waste or boobs, but even if I had been in a position to do a job that would have applauded this body type, the damage was done.
It was only in my thirties and now at forties, that I can look back retrospectively and see how ridiculous this was. None of this was about me, it was about other peoples insecurities, because that is what happens, if you feel bad about yourself you make other people feel bad. Through mindfulness can this be turned around. Can you pivot your own insecurities and not only make you feel more beautiful, more confident and more in control of your own feelings but view others with the love and respect you should feel about yourself?
Well….. I think this is totally possible. But the work starts with you and the changing of long-term mindsets. If you have spent a lifetime seeing yourself in a certain light, it can be a journey that you have to be able to commit to changing on a daily basis.
I have put together a few daily practices that can start to help with this journey and to help us to look at ourselves and other differently.
Mindfulness in beauty practices can change how we feel about ourselves, and that is always where we should start. Whether its depression, .anxiety, self-confidence, self-worth, or your just tired and feel you have given up, it worth trying to change the old thought patterns and learn every day to fit some practices into your everyday tasks to start to look at ourselves differently.
With Mindfulness, the first thing we need to do is, slow down. Drop your shoulders a few centimeters and feel your self-let go of the tension at the back of your neck and down your arms. Breathe into your belly for 5 seconds and out for 7 seconds, repeat this 3 times. Bring yourself into the moment and forget about any outside distractions this time is for you. Now you are in a position to start your task.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, don’t look at yourself with negative thoughts, start to look at your positives and focus on that, say three things about your face you like every day, say three things about your body that you like every day.
“your eyes are a beautiful colour”, “you have good skin”, “you have great lip shape”
Your brain is much less complicated than you think when it comes to changing your opinion, your brain believes what you tell it, so say those words loud and proud and you will start to believe it also.
So now that you have started this transformation, will it change how you view yourself and other people and their beauty? Well, I believe it will, I think that once you start to change negative views about yourself, you will find it harder to find negatives about others.
So the real question I suppose is not is there mindfulness in beauty but is there beauty in mindfulness.
“Looking at the beauty in the world is the first step of purifying the mind.” ― Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations
“Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.” ― Charlotte Eriksson
Angela Morgan from Ms Morgans Beauty Emporium