Season 1 episode 7
Beauty is relative. It’s definitions are endless. When it comes to human appearance some say that height and structure are the main aspects of beauty. Others believe that skin tone makes one beautiful. Still some believe that the eyes hold the power of true beauty. What’s your definition of beauty?
Hi friends and welcome to today’s episode of Seams Fabricated. I’m your host Lilli and today we are doing a little bit of a different episode. I usually love to deep dive into the dark alley ways of fashion and beauty, exposing the secrets and exploitation, but I’m not going to lie, it’s been a rocky start to the year, so I wanted to share something more positive and beautiful from my heart to yours.
Let’s take a moment to check in. How’s your body image going? Do you believe you’re beautiful? Do you believe that you’re worthy of love? No matter what your answer was I’m here to tell you yes you are. Let me show you why.
I can’t count how many women have stood in the dressing room and said to me “I’m sorry I’m bloated today” as if their natural bodily functions are something to apologise for. Or worse still silently stared at their bodies pulling at parts on the mirror, wishing some things would just disappear.
It makes me so sad that for a lot of us our automatic response to someone looking at our bodies is to apologise for it. Let me tell you, as a dressmaker, I have dressed a lot of bodies and I have never found a body unworthy of love. That is a narrative we tell ourselves, but no one else in the world is thinking that about us like that.
As humans we can have preconceived ideas of beauty thanks to culture and fashion. A mindset that if we aren’t like them, then there’s something wrong with us. And with the rise of social media things are very different from what they have been throughout history. Photoshop and unrealistic beauty standards are a real problem and have become a huge danger to young women especially and even girls as young as 7 years old are having body image issues. This isn’t about feelings anymore. It’s about physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The need to be accepted, loved, valued, and approved of is so very human. Our biological makeup gives us a huge emotional need to be accepted by society, to be part of a larger group. This is something that we cannot change. We all need to have companionship, whether with our friends, relatives, or groups we are a part of. In fact a sense of belonging is vital for our emotional and mental health, which is why we all seek it out, whether consciously or unconsciously.
We are surrounded by influences that tell us if you use my product, look a certain way, act a certain way it will bring you approval and you will be truly happy. The truth is that that is a complete lie. Advertisements, social media and influencers all exploit our natural need for acceptance. Happiness and approval does not come from the way we look, rather it comes from who we are as a person.
Have you been outside recently? Amongst actual nature? Where the trees are green and it smells like rain? Where there are tiny insects buzzing around pretty flowers and a nice breeze carries away your worries? Do you know makes flowers so beautiful? Is it their colour? Their softness? Their height? Their scent? Well it is all of those, but none specifically. Because all flowers are beautiful, but no flower is the same. What makes them beautiful is that they are all different. Can you imagine a world with only yellow daisies? Yellow daisies at all the weddings, yellow daisies at all the parties, yellow daisies from your love, yellow daisies for your baby shower. Yes yellow daisies are gorgeous. But where’s the variety? Where’s the spice of life?
Nature is like that. It’s abundant with choices. It doesn’t pick favourites. In fact every species alive today has a special and vital role in our eco system. Sunflowers for example are a symbol of joy and sunshine. They provide food to pollinators and seeds we can eat. Amazingly they also are able to cleanse the soil of radioactive pollutants. A highly valuable flower. The milkweed flower is tiny in comparison, and has a sweet beautiful scent, it is the only plant in the world which monarch butterflies will lay their eggs, and feed on. A vital plant for the butterfly population.
No we aren’t flowers. But we are a part of nature. A vital part, and you my dear, are the spice of life.
The ancient Greeks were very big on sexuality, fertility, and beauty. I love the statue of Aphrodite, her chin sticks out a little, I can see a little bit of fat between her arm and breast area, her stomach is nice but certainly not flat. This is a literal goddess, yet she is so very human. And if she was good enough for the ancient Greeks to worship for her beauty, then I think we are all good enough to accept ourselves, and embrace our own qualities.
If you had no outside influence, if you had never seen another human before, and then you stood in front of a mirror and opened your eyes, what would you see? What would you love? Your existence is a literal miracle. Celebrate it! Your body was designed so perfectly. To keep you alive, to help you thrive and enjoy the fruits of life. It is a gift. Be thankful.
If you are in the mood to add one more goal to your list for 2022, add this. Cherish your body.
And because I’m a checklist kind of person, here are some steps to help you accomplish that goal.
1. Limit your media influence. You are in control of what you feed your brain. You are able to filter who you follow, and which posts you see. If you are coming out feeling worse than when you went in, then something really needs to change. And if you find yourself mindlessly scrolling, do something else. I’ve gotten back into reading these last couple of years and I love it. The best part is it’s like watching a movie, but the characters are up to you to picture in your head. They aren’t perfectly airbrushed models, they are real people with flaws and I think that is really, really cool.
2. When you eat, eat to nourish, and fuel your body. Recent statistics show that people on average take up 2 fad diets per year and most are abandoned before the week is up. I know a lot of people who do this more than twice a year and only see negative results like fatigue, headaches and hunger. If you want to eat better, or loose weight, please do your research or ask a professional dietitian, not a product consultant. There is no magic pill or magic shake that’s going to change your life. Nourish your body, give it the energy it needs to function properly. A balanced diet will help you not just to manage weight but also give you clear skin and more energy.
3. When you exercise, do it because you value your health and strength. Not because you hate yourself. An hour at the gym should not be punishment for eating that piece of cake. Do not punish your body because your brain doesn’t think it’s good enough. I’m not going to lie, I’ve done that before. But that mindset is toxic, and there’s enough toxicity in the world without beating yourself up. Instead of exercising because we hate our bodies, lets exercise because we love our bodies. There is nothing wrong with wanting self improvement, but setting body goals for exercise can be counter productive. Instead of setting fitness goals for “I want to fit a size 8 again” try setting a goal like “I want to be able to run a full mile” or “I want to learn how to tango.” Most of us work behind computer screens or desks all day, but our bodies were made for so much more. We are able to run, jump, dance, kick, throw, and laugh. Physical exercise isn’t about staying thin. It's about keeping our body running smoothly, and feeding our brain with positive chemicals.
4. Fight the negative self talk. We are often our own harshest critics, and we certainly wouldn’t speak to our best friend the way we speak to ourselves sometimes. Become self aware of your intrusive thoughts. If you find yourself having a negative thought about your appearance or self worth, challenge it. Remember that thoughts are just thoughts and they are not reality. Sometimes we might have a tendency to focus on the one negative instead of the 99 positives. A good way to fight this is to write down every day 3 things you like about yourself today. It can be as simple as, my smile, the colour of my eyes and my legs that are strong enough to walk me to work.
5. Cloth yourself with love. A huge mistake I’ve seen time and again, especially with online shopping, is expecting the clothing on the model to look the same on us. The truth is that not one body in the world is the same, even if you’re the same clothing size, it will look different on you, not necessarily worse or better, just different. Pay attention to the styles and colours that compliment you and try not to focus too much on trends.
6. Reach out for help. If you are struggling with feelings of ugliness, unworthiness or anything similar, reach out to a friend, family member or professional. You will be surprised how many people are going through or have gone through the same feelings. There is no shame in reaching out for help, if more people were able to get the help they needed, the world would be a better place.
So what happens when you come across someone who’s beauty makes you feel like a toad in mudpile? Well if you think a person is beautiful because of their thick eyebrows, strong bone structure or their contagious smile, here’s what you should do. Admire them, compliment them, and move on. We are not here as competitors or rivals. We don’t need to let jealousy tear each other or ourselves apart. Rather, we should build each other up and appreciate each person’s unique qualities including our own.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. The perfect body doesn’t exist. Please don’t ever think that your body isn’t good enough because it’s not trending. Bodies should never be trending. Never. Let me say it for the people in the back. Our bodies are not trends. It’s not okay to exploit or exclude anyone’s body.
Nature doesn’t pick favourites. And neither should we.
To end todays episode I’d love to share this poem that I found on Pinterest, unfortunately I’m not sure who the author is but here it is
Look at your hands – they have pet so many cute animals and dried so many of your tears
Look at your feet – they have walked you to some of your favourite places and walked you away from the bad ones
Look at your belly – think of the days when it’s been full and warm with your favourite foods
Look at your legs – they have held you up when you thought you weren’t strong enough to stand
Look at your eyes – they have seen so many beautiful people
Look at your mouth – it has told so many people that you love them
Your body has been there for you since day one. Love it. It loves you.
I hope this episode has brought you some comfort today. Thanks so much for joining me here, please share this episode with anyone who may need a self esteem boost, or share it as a way for you to reach out for help. Perhaps you and a friend can both make Cherishing your body a goal for 2022. As always I hope you have a great day and I will see you next week. This podcast is available to listen on Spotify, google podcasts and apple podcasts. You can also find me on Instagram @seamsfabricated