The ideal image of female beauty was said to be Cleopatra. She was described as “Slim and nubile, with cunning hips and the mere hint of a belly. Her charms were of a jewel-like nature; there was nothing large and dowdy about her. All men desired her, because all men believed she had conquered the nature of the human body and made it bend to her will, and her will alone. Her beauty was of such a diaphanous nature as to make it seem the slightest desert breeze would blow her away, past the Pyramids and into the Nile. Thus all men wished to hold her and protect her.”
Today’s women are still struggling to achieve what Cleopatra so effortlessly possessed. They diet and exercise, only to binge and become couch potatoes. This see-saw frenzy, this delusional “fat chat,” is a pox on female existence.
No woman can live up to being another Cleopatra, but here are nine ways to end the insanity and begin restoring the image of your body as beautiful.
1. Don’t let body hatred rule your life
People suffering from obsession usually aren’t aware of it. They simply believe they are being “hard-headed” about it, dealing with it as it should be dealt with.
Try to take a step back from yourself and ask “why do I hate my body?” Has it tried to kill you or rob you? Probably not. Next, incorporate this one word into your psychic vocabulary: “Blemish.” Your body is not an abomination, hideous to behold. You merely have a blemish. And a blemish is completely normal and acceptable. If others cannot accept your blemish and treat you with respect and courtesy, then the problem is theirs, not yours.
2. Love your body
You may get a new heart or lung or liver during your lifetime, but you’ll never get a new body transplant. For better or for worse, you have only one body. So learn to love it by learning to appreciate it.
As has been pointed out by countless gurus and physicians over the centuries, your body is a miracle of construction. It houses your spirit, allowing you mobility and passion to experience and enjoy the world you live in. It protects you and houses the organs of pleasure that can take you to heights that spirit alone may never reach.
Fall in love with yourself all over again, as you most likely did as a child. Taste. Touch. See. Smell. Take each sense and find how much pleasure you can wring from each one.
3. Accept yourself
You are absolutely unique. There is no one else on earth, never has been and never will be, who is exactly like you. So why would you want to waste time trying to turn yourself into someone else just because of their great body? Be yourself and damn the consequences!
4. Think your way to beauty
Find a photograph of Mother Theresa and tape it to your bathroom mirror. She is a homely woman, but her thoughts made her a saint. And her saintliness showed through every pore of her body until no one thought of her as anything but beautiful.
You probably aren’t prepared to move to India to minister to the poor and needy, but push yourself to give a smile to a stranger, to share a compliment with a co-worker, give something you’ve been hoarding to your special someone. You can make yourself think beautiful, and, like Mother Theresa, you will become beautiful.
5. Take a personal inventory
Specifically, ask yourself “So, what has all this self-hate done for me lately?” You’ll not find one positive result from self-hate, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to get rid of it.
Like any harmful addiction, the pain of self-hate becomes part of the process. And maybe you deserve that pain — just like any cartoon character deserves that anvil that falls on their head. Do you think of yourself as a cartoon character? Stop it. Think of yourself as mature and meaningful, and invite self-hate to take a hike.
6. Know that thin people are not happier than everyone else
Ebenezer Scrooge was thin. So was Hitler. Inside every thin person is… not very much. They are pretty insubstantial when it comes down to it (in terms of literal quantity, of course).
But joking aside, what makes you think that a thin person’s life lacks the challenges and adversities that you have faced and successfully overcome? Or that skinny people are automatically treated better than others? Thinness, in and of itself, guarantees neither happiness nor unhappiness, riches nor poverty, happiness nor misery. It’s about the same as having blue eyes instead of brown. When all is said and done, big deal — what’s the diff?
7. Use thought control
The culture says to be thin, exercise like a maniac, eat little, and be beautiful — or else you are an awful slug.
These thoughts are hardwired, so they can’t be escaped. But they can be controlled. Wear a rubber band around your wrist. Every time you begin to be weighed down by a bad body thought, give the rubber band a snap. That will break your concentration on the negativity and help you guide your thoughts back to normal and productive thinking.
8. Answer the question “Who do you think you are?”
Your body is not who you are. Feelings, thoughts, and relationships all go into forming who you really are — not your abs or bust size. To feel good about yourself is not to lie to yourself, but to take a self-inventory and honestly examine the good that you’ve done to yourself and to others. It may take some effort, and it may take more than a one-time effort — in fact, it should be an ongoing process, remembering and listing the positive aspects of your life.
Think of yourself as a work in progress: some of the floors are ready to be inhabited, but there are other spaces still under construction, needing your attention to turn them into beautiful suites where you’ll reside in future years.
9. Let the healing begin
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your body image cannot be rebuilt in a day, either. But you should be taking steps each day to repair the damage that a bad body image may have wrought in your life.
This may call for simple meditation and a slight mental adjustment. But you may want to consider further and deeper help. Try support groups, therapy, and/or counseling with your doctor or spiritual guide.
Since Cleopatra’s time, women have been slaves, more or less, to the image of perfect beauty in face and in form. Women today have paid a terrible price for this, in the form of mental depression and desperation, as well as physical torture from liposuction and botox injections. Pills, potions, and starvation are still so common among women seeking physical perfection that the late-night talk shows joke about them cruelly and consistently:
“Beauty’s only skin deep,” jokes Jimmy Kimmel, “but who wants to date a woman that’s been flayed alive?”
Recognizing the problem and seeking help are strengths. And whatever makes you stronger will make you more confident and beautiful.
Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com