Monday, March 9, 2009

Woman in the Mirror: Why Don't We Love Her?

If we can let go of our idealized selves, we'll discover peace and joy. At least that's one of the points I made in a BlogHer post on obstacles to happiness, "Happy is as Happy Does."
Flowing from the understanding that expectations of perfection from the self can lead to bouts of sadness, it's reasonable to say a lack of self-acceptance is also one of the roadblocks to happiness. We don't like ourselves as we are and we can't let visions of the ideal self go. (Blogher)
Today I spotted an inspiring article at CNN from O Magazine by Noelle Oxenhandler. The article's title is "Why Friends Like Your Least Favorite Pictures." In it the writer talks about why loved ones love our imperfections and how we could benefit from doing the same.
When my own daughter was small, she adored her grandmother Rose. Though Rose was wrinkled, white haired, and stoop shouldered, my daughter saw her as physically beautiful. Rose's white hair was luminous to her, like the fine-spun angel's hair that goes on a Christmas tree, and her wrinkles were what made her cheeks as soft as the velvety petals of a flower.

Once, while sitting in my lap, my daughter stroked my cheek and said, "You're pretty, but you don't have enough wrinkles."

We say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," but what would it mean to look at ourselves as though we really believed this were true? The Tibetans have a saying: Who looks not with compassion sees not what the eyes of compassion see.

Today, when the suspicious stranger looks into the mirror at her own reflection, I'm going to remind her of that. And who knows? If she can summon enough compassion to let go of her critical gaze, maybe she'll catch a glimpse of a woman dissolving in laughter-and see her with the eyes of a friend. (CNN)
I gather the article is part of Oprah's lessons in self-appreciation project. The older I get, the more I realize that much of our discontent is not about others and what they do or have done to us, but what we do and think about ourselves.


Babz Rawls Ivy said...

Ah YES! We are our own jurors...condemning and harder than any jury of our peers!

I am coming to embrace all the imperfections...and GOD knows there are a million (see what I mean...I am harder than I shoud be)

Good post :) Ah come on the show and talk about this!

msladyDeborah said...

This is the first post that I have read today. I must say that it is refreshing to my work-weary mind.

Too many women are duped into believing that they are not acceptable as maturity sets in. To that notion I say bulls***!

One of my favorite editions of Essence is the Ageless Beauty Edition. The women who are featured in that spread are examples of how to age with grace and still look good.

If a woman cannot love her self with her smooth and nappy edges as part of the package, then she definitely is short changing herself.

This was a good read VP!

Vérité Parlant said...

Babz, good idea. Why didn't I think of that.

Thank you, Deborah. :-)