You're Beautiful - Just As You Are

Perfection Perception

The problem with perceived "perfection" - and the pains one goes through to attain it - is that it is a false ideal; a puffy cloud of false hopes, distorted truths and impossible goals that fades further into the distance the closer one thinks they are getting to it.

"Perfection" of the type that most are seeking in the present, fleshly guise is an anomaly. Certainly, it can exist, but not in the world of plastic. Perfection doesn't mean bottle-tinted hair, colored contacts, big boobs and pinched stomachs. It isn't about long eyelashes, well-done nails, or full, pouty lips.

A recent study, published in the journal Epidemiology, found that women who receive breast implants have a higher-than-average risk of suicide. They were found to also be twice as likely to take their lives as women who'd had other cosmetic procedures.

Why is this? Why are women who desire - and then acquire - bigger breasts still unhappy enough to kill themselves?

The fact remains that people who feel bigger boobs, fuller lips, and slimmer hips are going to magically make them happy - and feel better about themselves - are mistaken.

There's nothing wrong with a healthy desire to change your appearance or to look nice. The problem is with those that aren't happy with themselves inside. If you don't like the "inside-you", no amount of nips, tucks and enhancements to the "outside-you" is going to change that. Bigger boobs aren't going to make you love yourself, or the life you're living, if you don't already have a solid and established self-love before deciding on such drastic measures.

The trick is to learn to love yourself inside - then work on fixing what you are unhappy with on the outside. What you will be surprised to find is that when you love your inside - the real you - you learn to love and accept some of those outside parts you previously despised.

There is no "perfect" - there's just happy with yourself and working with what you've been given; then your real, true beauty will shine through.

Negative Impact of Bad Body Image

The devastating affects of this barrage of artificial beauty are becoming more evident than ever. Young children are becoming victims of eating disorders and self-injurious behavior at an alarming rate. People, male and female, young and old, are going under the knife and needle to improve their looks.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2003 alone, 1,781,191 people underwent cosmetic surgical procedures such as tummy tucks, cheek implants, lip augmentation, liposuction, breast implants, and rhinoplasty. Another 7,401,495 had cosmetic procedures such as Botox, chemical peels, cellulite treatment, microdermabrasion, and soft tissue fillers.

In 2004, the number of surgical procedures dropped a bit (1,740,236), while quicker and less invasive procedures became more commonplace (9,210,627 people had non-surgical cosmetic procedures - up 5% from 2004 and and an amazing 40% since 2002).

The rise in using needles and knives to fix perceived imperfections is not the only indication that the image of "the perfect body" is having an extensive negative impact on our society.

The Statistics on Eating Disorders site says:

According to US estimates from The National Institute of Mental Health, between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of girls and women (i.e. 5-10 million people) and 1 million boys and men suffer from eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or other associated dietary condition.

Not only does poor self-image and unrealistic expectations of beauty cause young people to fall into the horrors of eating disorders, a noted rise in young people self-injuring shows a growing trend of self-loathing and low self-esteem.

PRP Online notes in Understanding Self-Injurious Behavior that:

...It is estimated that one to two million people in the United States intentionally and repeatedly bruise, cut, burn, mark, scratch and mutilate different parts of their own bodies.1 This estimate represents only the adolescents and adults who actually seek help for the behavior....1 Favazza, A and Conterio, K (1988) The plight of chronic self-mutilators. Community Mental Health Journal, 24:22-30

and that:

...In recent years, however, there appears to be a dramatic increase in the number of younger and older adolescents who engage in self-injurious behavior...2 Pipher, M (1994) Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. New York: Ballatine Books

This article is about self-love and loving yourself regardless of how you look. Whether you be skinny, fat, hairy, one-legged, male or female - it's all about loving who you are; not how you - or others - perceive you.

You'd be surprised the beauty that shines right on through to the outside when you truly love your inside.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be fuller, thinner, or even slightly different. There's nothing wrong with a healthy lifestyle and healthy dieting. Wanting to change yourself is okay. Wanting to change yourself to the detriment of your well-being is not. You should want to change because it's a healthy, positive thing to do for your body; not because you feel that you "look ugly".

It's hard, no doubt, to love yourself every day. I try to practice what I preach, but it isn't always easy.




Self-Love is the Key

More people than we'd like to think about will never be able to love or appreciate their naturally beautiful perfections and unique imperfections. More and more people are undergoing surgery and medical procedures to be something they are not - to attain this false, plastic perception of perfection. More and more young people are making themselves sick or are outright physically injuring themselves because they do not like who they are or how they look.

This is a huge problem, and it's only getting worse.

The focus needs to be taken away from false images, negative attitudes and ridiculously impossible goals in appearance. People need to be reminded how to love themselves, their special and natural bodies and all of the beauty that is inside of them!

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Comments 18 comments

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

This is a great reminder to those who forgot - or never thought - about this. I also think the roots of the problem are much deeper than it seems to be.

I think it all comes from Christianity, which teaches us from the childhood that we are bad and sinful and don't deserve any love just because we exist... We don't love ourselves - and our bodies, too...


RFox profile image

RFox 8 years ago

Excellent and beautiful hub! Your advice is right on. :)

Misha: Interesting perspective on the cause of our issues.


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana Author

I don't want to knock the Christians (though I am a recovering one, myself) but I do see your point. Certainly it started a very long time ago, and was pushed out and expanded by the media and its perception of "what is" beautiful and acceptable. In American society, if you aren't near perfect (too thin or too fat), you're almost worthless.

I remember being a young teen just hitting puberty, and being aware of my burgeoning body for the first time - and I, in all honesty, thought I was "misshappen" because of my growing curves (I was not at all overweight, mind you, I just developed large breasts and an ample bum). I looked at the girls in my Teen and Cosmo mags with their perfect, svelte bodies and thought I was supposed to look like that. Since I did not, I concluded there was something terribly wrong with me, and I loathed my body.

Thankfully, wisdom and maturity has fixed that misconception in my mind, but I can only imagine what young girls today must go through, where the problem is much worse and much more "in their face".


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana Author

Thank you, RFox - that's very kind of you! ^_^


Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

You sound remarkably wise, especially for the age :)

And I think if you look around, you'd be surprised how many seemingly mature adults still hate themselves... I for one is working on this problem for more than a handful of years - starting from the point I actually realized this problem exists for me :) I had to live more than 40 years just to acknowledge its existence!

Not that I was brought up in Christianity, but communism is not much different in that sense, probably even worse...


Iðunn 8 years ago

what an excellent hub.  the funny thing is you see these women, and it is usually women not men, criticizing anyone they think is more attractive like it's a group sport.  they slag and criticize and spend hours obsessing about other women's weight or appearance.  

for example, you can tell usually by multiple hubs on 'skanky celebrities', 'anorexia', 'stupid dancers' or whatever.  you just know the person writing that stuff weighs 250 pounds.  to them, the opposite of morbidly obese is anorexic.  they cannot conceive of the real deal. the real opposite - general good health.

if the women who spent all their time obsessing and dissing other women who are total strangers or irrelevant to their lives in any way went instead for therapy or to the gym, and pursued real interests, perhaps they wouldn't be as miserable and prone to suicide and other self-destructive behavior. 

but since to them other women actually existing in the world and breathing is viewed in their warped perspective as some kind of 'personal attack' on them, they don't improve themselves hence actually ensuring they have nothing to offer anyone in the way of personality either.

listening to some bitter woman with low self-esteem slag pretty girls isn't really very attractive, to men or anyone besides other women with low self-esteem. 

having hobbies, interests and a full life is attractive.  


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana Author

Thank you, Iðunn. I have to agree, too - usually anyone going on and on about others in a negative fashion represents things they dislike in themselves.

For a time I ran a couple of celeb-gossip-bash rags/blogs - I never poked fun at weight and fashion, moreso focused on lack of actual talent and the nightmare we have to go to for "talent" these days (most celebs today are created by the studios rather than rising up through the ranks with any actual skills or natural-born gifts). My main goal was to point out to the young and impressionable that these waif-thin, self-destructive, shallow starlets they looked up to were not all glamorous and perfect; that, in fact, they were *not* someone to emulate. But, after awhile, I realized that negativity only spurs further negativity and whether my intent was good or not, I was going about spreading my message in the wrong way and nixed both blogs.

So, yes, I see your point - bashing on others only highlights our own insecurities or, at the very least, makes us just as wrong and disappointing as those we are ridiculing.


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana Author

Thank you, again, Misha - I've always gotten the "wise beyond your years" comment, so I suppose you're on to something. Honestly, I think its just part and parcel of what's known as "Oldest Child Syndrome" - they say the eldest is usually more mature and responsible. Not always true, of course, but as a general rule; I sort of had to rule the roost in my lovely yet dysfunctional family growing up and I believe a lot of it comes from that.

The rest is good genes, a voracious love of reading, and the blessed ability to express myself in words (not to mention surviving a hard-knock, street-wise early 20s). I have never once not been thankful for my gift of writing; everyone has a natural talent, mine just happens to be playing with words. ^_^


akeejaho profile image

akeejaho 8 years ago from Some where in this beautiful world!

very well done and said. I admire your work.


BipO Lars profile image

BipO Lars 8 years ago from Lake Stevens, WA

Wow, fantastic piece. I have a daughter with bipolar disorder and obsessive disorder. She also is very overweight, and as a teen-ager that's a tough combination. I think your words are very important to people like her, as well those who suffer eating disorders. Thanks for this hub!


Blogger Mom profile image

Blogger Mom 8 years ago from Northeast, US

This is a great hub. Really makes me think - especially now that I have a daughter.


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana Author

akkejaho - Thank you, I truly appreciate that.

BipO Lars - My heartfelt best wishes for your daughter, who has a long, hard road to travel. The world can be cruel and harsh for children without the extra burdens she must endure. Remind her that even seemingly ill-fated conditions are often a blessing in disguise; her hardships will help her grow into an even stronger and more wise and empathetic young woman than her peers. I wish you both all the best.

Blogger Mom - Thank you. Remember to always teach your daughter to love herself just as she is, and that she doesn't need to live up to some false perception of "perfection" just to enjoy life or *be* someone. True beauty comes from the inside, always.


sdorrian profile image

sdorrian 8 years ago from Chicago

Interesting Hub, although I have to disagree with Misha blaming Christianity for young girls' negative body image. Christianity is about loving yourself and others ad God loves you. Also, if that were the case, negative body image would be common to all Christian cultures such as those in South America or Africa. I think it's a cultural phenomonon primarily in the West caused by the media's obsession with pencil thin models and actresses with bodies built up (or down) surgically.


sealion457 8 years ago

this is a awsome hub.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

skatoolaki. This is a great hub highlighting such important issue! you give good advice too...


feeweewv profile image

feeweewv 8 years ago from Between A Dream And Reality

Your hub is right on.  I grew up in an environment that did not promote my self worth completely. It wasn't all bad, but the reinforcement of my self-esteem was not prominant.  I agree with your article in most  senses but I have to say that Misha's comment about this coming from Christianity, I don't agree with.  I think that our knowing that we are all sinners and are in no way perfect in the eyes of God is completely different than the knowledge we are given in today's societies.  Our perfect image in the world is attainable but I know as a Christian, no matter how hard I try, my perfection in the eyes of God is unattainable.  This is my opinion completely, Kudos for your openess Misha.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West Virginia

It's all in the media--and just who runs the media? Just tka a look at all the commercials on TV and in the magazines and newspapers and such--they are all Barbie Doll people. Do you ever see a normal person in any of the ads? Now, and I wonder why? We are the people and we hire those who put these images out there for the kids and they think that this is what the norm is. It starts when the TV or the media enters the home when the children are pre-puberty. How they see those perfect bodie in commercials and in ads is what they think they should look like. We need to give children a better representation of what is really out here. It is said that only 10 percent of the pupulation is what you see in the media---only 10 percent. Children think that 10 percent is everyone.

No -adults have problems with self image too--lots of us!


Travis Pyle profile image

Travis Pyle 7 years ago from Vineland, New Jersey

OH YEAH IF IM SO PERFECT WHY CANT I WALK ANY MORE

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