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Body Image, Judgement, and Changing Perceptions.

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Old 04-10-2013, 03:22 PM   #1
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Default Body Image, Judgement, and Changing Perceptions.

I just read Mozzy's thread about how the mirror can lie to you and how, instead of seeing her awesomely 40-lbs-lighter self, she was seeing what she described as a "beached whale" in her reflection. Yes, the comparison is a bit dramatic, but I would venture to guess we all know exactly what she is getting at, because most of us have been there a time or two ourselves. If not more! But, as I read along through the thread, I saw all the people coming forward to agree that they too had a similar skewing of self. This makes me really sad. I feel like there are so many people out there who are blinded by their own minds and cannot see their true beauty. I have this difficulty sometimes, as well. And, no, this is not just a trite, sugar-coated string of words, vaguely scented of manure, that I'm shoveling at you...I truly believe that just about everyone is beautiful in their own way.

It is ingrained in us to be judgemental. We have these instincts to be able to make quick decisions about people and situations that, for whatever reason, we should or may want to avoid. However, it's also human nature to apply these tools in a negative or unhelpful way. Against ourselves, especially. I don't exclude myself from this. Even the most righteous or confident of us have our moments. That being said, I have practiced myself from a very young age to decode and uncover what is beautiful in people. I have found that it preserves my wonder in humanity if I just stop and really look at humans for what is still wonderful about them. For example, pick someone out from a crowd the next time you are out and about, particularly someone who you may think of as "unfortunate" or less attractive. Male, female, old, young...it doesn't matter.

Now, take a moment and truly give them the proper attention they deserve without scanning over them like a gavel-happy judge in an overworked small claims court. Watch how the light catches their face, or the breeze moves against their clothes or hair. Imagine you love that person for a moment, and suddenly their face will change. (Remove your preconceptions about this person, and really try to imagine loving them. If not like a lover, perhaps like a mother, sister, brother, or best friend.) You'll notice the soft crinkle in their eye if they smile, or actually notice that they have a wonderful laugh. Isn't that such a beautiful eye color? I wonder if you've ever seen that particular shade before? What about the color brought forth in her cheeks or the inherent sweetness she may seem to have? What about him over there...does he have dimples when he talks or grins? Look at how strong his hands look...do you wonder if they have someone in their lives who cherishes every moment they have the chance to interlock their fingers with his? What if someone dearly misses any of these people and would kill to have the opportunity to stand where you are standing, just to see them one more time?

I think you get the point by now, so I will let your mind wander into what else you might be able to imagine about anyone who walks across your path in life. Someone out there would love, admire, and give their lives for these people on which we pass such quick and harsh judgements. Why are we blind to the beauty that others can so easily see in them?

And, in that same vein, why are we so blind to the beauty that the people who love US can see? Maybe it is because we are not outside of ourselves, watching the sunlight move through our hair or light up our eyes. We can never truly replicate in the mirror the way we look when we smile genuinely or laugh without restraint. We cannot see the subtle ways our bodies move when we lean in to embrace someone with passion. Or, how full of wonder or frustration we may appear with our noses buried in a favorite book. So, we cannot be the best judges of our beauty or expect our perceptions to be accurate....can we? Staring at ourselves unceremoniously in the reflection of a bathroom mirror, flatly and disapprovingly, we will most certainly not find our "beautiful" self. Like children, we will inevitably see everything that may shame us when we see our disappointed faces look back down upon us. Why is it in moments like this where we materialize so many long-standing or even permanent "facts" and ideas about ourselves? It doesn't make much sense, if you really think about it.

All that being said, I honestly do think the key to seeing our own beauty is training ourselves to see the beauty in others. It is there in everyone and everything, despite what our current society may try to force us to believe. You just have to take a single moment out of your day to remove the cynical, judgemental filter we peer through everyday and just...look around. It doesn't matter if you're in the middle of a paradisaical meadow next to a babbling brook glittering in the noon-day sun, or standing next to a garbage-lined city street full of honking cars and angry people, with the steam of the city's underbelly fogging up all around you. There is a sense of beauty there. Challenge yourself to find it, and when you do, take that time to appreciate it with everything you have until that appreciation becomes a part of you. Do this as often as you can and remember how lovely this world can really be. Only then will your eyes open to all kinds of beauty...even our own.

[To everyone here, and everyone who posted in the thread, including Mozzy herself...you all are wonderfully beautiful creatures. Never forget that! ]
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:51 PM   #2
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AWESOME post, Ophelia!
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the post.. It was a great read! I really agree, we are all special and beautiful in our own way! I've had several nice deeds done for me today (and it's still early!). I'm looking forward to being able to pay their kindness in return.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:12 PM   #4
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Loved reading this thread, thank you for writing it out so beautifully.

I can say, in my own experience, that people do treat me different now that I'm thinner (not thin yet). They seem to be friendlier, more patient, kinder. And that makes me sad. Does beauty only qualify on thinner people vs. bigger people?

And I have done small things like you say, noticing how a heavier person has the most awesome hair style, the sparkling eyes when he or she laughs, etc. And honestly, I go out of my way to be nicer to heavier people now as I have mentioned on other threads. People who were nice and kind to me when I was bigger made my day by treating me like a human being, they have no idea what that meant to me on some of my darkest days.

My husband met me thin and loved me then, loved me at my largest and never ceased to tell me how beautiful I was (and I didn't get that, it made me so sad to think he thought that) and now he's getting the thinner wife back that he deserves. And now I know, he truly did love me all along. I'm the same beautiful person to him that I was all along on the inside...
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvislover324 View Post
Loved reading this thread, thank you for writing it out so beautifully.

I can say, in my own experience, that people do treat me different now that I'm thinner (not thin yet). They seem to be friendlier, more patient, kinder. And that makes me sad. Does beauty only qualify on thinner people vs. bigger people?

And I have done small things like you say, noticing how a heavier person has the most awesome hair style, the sparkling eyes when he or she laughs, etc. And honestly, I go out of my way to be nicer to heavier people now as I have mentioned on other threads. People who were nice and kind to me when I was bigger made my day by treating me like a human being, they have no idea what that meant to me on some of my darkest days.

My husband met me thin and loved me then, loved me at my largest and never ceased to tell me how beautiful I was (and I didn't get that, it made me so sad to think he thought that) and now he's getting the thinner wife back that he deserves. And now I know, he truly did love me all along. I'm the same beautiful person to him that I was all along on the inside...
I have the same problem of understanding what my husband sees in me. I know a lot of it has to do with my distorted view of myself right now, but I'm so much larger now that when we met. He still tells me how beautiful he thinks I am and he only wants me to lose this weight for me because I am so unhappy in this body...and he doesn't want me to die. I think that is the hardest thing to take - the unconditional love from others that we can't seem to give ourselves.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Lovely post...thank you so much. It does make me sad to think how much time I waste picking myself apart, complaining about everything that's wrong and wrinkling up my face in disbelief when someone pays me a genuine compliment.

There's so much more to life than skinny or fat or pretty or whatever physical traits occupy too much thought. I am going to make a concerted effort to stop complaining and start being grateful for all the wonderful things in my life.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:36 PM   #7
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Waterworks. Your post is so beautiful. THANK YOU for taking the time to share, a wonderful reminder indeed.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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My goodness, this is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. I certainly need this today.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
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Beautiful post Ophelia, great end to a not so great day. *hugs*
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:18 PM   #10
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Beautiful post!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:59 PM   #11
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:05 AM   #12
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I love your post. Thank you for taking the time to share.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:41 AM   #13
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This actually made me feel a bit weepy. Thank you for saying something I needed to hear.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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It was my pleasure, and I'm really glad to find this post is touching others' hearts. I wish everyone could see things this way!
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvislover324 View Post
I can say, in my own experience, that people do treat me different now that I'm thinner (not thin yet). They seem to be friendlier, more patient, kinder. And that makes me sad. Does beauty only qualify on thinner people vs. bigger people?
I'm not trying to hijack the OPs thread, but this is something I notice too, but I ask myself, "Do people treat me nicer because I'm thinner and more appealing?" or, "Do people treat me nicer because I feel better and appear more confident and more approachable?"

And I don't think you can tease it out!
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