(ThyBlackMan.com) Our culture is obsessed with beauty. While some women are purchasing an ethnic standard of beauty with fuller lips, larger eyes, and round, full butts; others are running toward the euro-culture standard of long hair, skin lightening, and fat removal.
As women, we cannot afford to fall for standards of beauty defined in Cosmo. In His infinite wisdom, God put our pieces together. So, who are we to decide that we are not beautiful simply because of an emergent trend? Every woman must embrace her inner Queendom and, thereby, own her standard of beauty. We are Queens!
We certainly cannot pretend that healthy body image can be found in an article or blog. However, we cannot deny that some of those articles tear at the root of a woman’s esteem—her ability to feel perceived as universally beautiful. Ladies, this is the myth, the pipe dream. Beauty is an individual standard, set by you and those with which you surround yourself. The size 2s struggle with the same insecurities as the size 18s. Developing a healthy body image is a journey. Here are the first steps to embracing your own body image:
- Every woman should identify at least two features she loves about herself
Maybe you have long and luscious legs. Maybe you have a proportionately slim waistline. Maybe you have gorgeous lips or delicate hands or a smile that is captivating. Whatever the feature, identify at least two that your favorites. Highlight those features and put them on display. Long legs deserve a sister-dress. Pretty feet deserve those killer sandals. The display is not so that others will find your features beautiful; but so that you enjoy the confidence that comes from believing they are
- Find women who encourage and uplift your beauty
Advice from a senior sister, Mrs. Fannie Mae: “Keep yourself up! Not for the attentions of a man but for yourself. So that when you gaze upon your own glory, there is something wonderful smiling back at you.”
I never forgot what she said. From that day forward, no matter how hectic or traumatic my life was, I paid careful attention to the things that made me feel beautiful and sexy. I still get my nails and hair did regularly; always wear my favorite perfume; and buy only my favorite, pretty “underthings.” Not for anyone else, just for myself, because they make me feel beautiful. Before you take issue, it is not the things that create beauty; it’s the intentional investment I pay myself that makes me feel beautiful. If someone else notices the effort, that’s just a bonus.
- Capture the positive more than dwelling on the negative
Ever seen an adult who was told as a child that her smile was ugly? She grows up learning to dim the beauty of that smile. Years after the awkwardness of youth has faded, she still believes she has that “ugly” smile. We are all carrying this kind of baggage. None of us has had lives so filled with encouragement that we don’t have at least one rogue comment from the past that has wounded us like a punching bag. The impact of those negative comments affects us in new relationships when someone doesn’t celebrate every inch of our bodies.
Those things wreak havoc on your perception of yourself and your body. Just because one person didn’t see the beauty in you doesn’t mean no one will. Whatever you see first, they’ll see soon enough. There is nothing like the power of self-worth. Try this exercise: write down those negative comments. Get them out of your head so you can minimize their power. Then, write down the positive comments that have been said to you. Allow these positive comments to serve as a reminder that someone, somewhere, at some time, has noticed the beauty that is you.
- There is more than one way to be a Woman: thick as well as thin, light as well as dark, natural as well as permed or weaved
God created the ultimate celebration of diversity through humanity: each of us different and whole with every standard equal to all others. Society would have you believe there is only one right nose; only one right complexion; only one right shape/height/build. Since there is only one thing that makes us inherently female, everything after that thing is just window dressing. You are still a woman and still a Queen.
- Feed your inner girl–keep her alive…and listen to her sometimes
The inner girl. For those who may not know, your inner girl is the kicky one. She’s the flirty one. She’s the one who always knows when she’s being checked out, watched, enjoyed, and salivated over. She doesn’t have to see it happening to know that it’s happening. Your inner girl is a thoroughbred. And like all thoroughbreds, she needs to be let out of the fence for a good run every now and then. She’s the one who keeps us youthful, sassy and—depending on her personality—sexy. Be careful: she’s also the one who gets us into trouble. But listen to her sometimes. Feed her and don’t let her die. The moment she does, that’s when you forget what is so wonderful about yourself and your body.
- Keep something special for yourself
A large part of having a good body image is a leave-em-wanting-more philosophy. If every person you meet gets to see and experience all of your assets all the time, then what’s left for those who dig a little deeper & work a little harder to get to know you? Save something for yourself and something to share with those worthwhile people. Let’s be plain: ladies, you do not have to show every curve of your ass to get someone to notice you. You will need to bring more than that to the table if you want to hold legitimate attention. Every woman must never forget she is more than just t&a.
- Get comfortable with your own definition
Decide what kind of woman you want to be. Decide what kind of image promotes that kind of woman. You get to choose. You cannot aspire to be viewed as a professional, when all anyone sees is your ratchet side. You cannot want to be taken seriously as an intellectual when all anyone hears from you is gutter speak. So, decide what kind of woman you are and work it! It’s not faking the funk. It’s about bringing your image to life.
Intellect, conversation, personality and a solid belief system work together with body image to create Confidence. Ultimately, this is the most attractive feature any person, male or female, can have. On this journey of positive body image, some will be closer to success than others, already possessing a positive, rooted body image. If you do, help another woman by complimenting her beauty, by giving her permission to be her real self while she in your presence. Submit your proof. Start here, start now. What are your two best features and how do you celebrate them?
Staff Writer; Jazzie Dixson
This talented sista is a writer from the midwest who writes on a wide range of topics about relationships, including romance, intimacy, communication.