THE PRESSURE TO LOOK GOOD AND IMPRESS OTHERS: How it all starts and how we can overcome it, by Rebirthing Breath Master Katia Boustani
Recently, a well – respected friend of mine whom I consider stunning and who has worked in the fashion industry for years, approached me and asked me if I’d be willing to be involved in a new organization called SMASH THE MIRROR.
She had started this as a project to raise awareness about the pressures of body image while growing up and aging in modern times. Initially, the project was to be directed towards teenage girls and the barrage of information which they receive on a daily basis about how they should look, dress, act, what accessories they should have (the best phones/ computers), basically the impossible array of unrealistic demands they need to adhere to, to look and feel cool.Having two teenage daughters myself and being the witness to their insecurities, as well as their successes, this was certainly a subject that touched my heart! It really would wrench at my guts sometimes to watch them feeling miserable because it was near impossible to attain this perfection and seeing how important it was to them while simultaneously feeling that to me, they were gorgeous and perfect!
So obviously I was very excited about accepting to be involved in this project…
As time went by however, I started to realize that as important as it was to bring this information to the attention of the world about teenage girls, nobody I had ever heard of had ever addressed this issue for teenage boys, young men, middle aged people, older and aging people, as a matter of fact… ALL PEOPLE!
What is it about us that makes us so eager to impress others and do almost anything to accomplish “fitting in”? Both men and women these days will do almost anything; including surgery, taking harmful pills, undergoing excruciating and even sometimes dangerous procedures, from as simple as body hair removal (often the whole body), to injections and fillers, spending an absolute fortune on cosmetics and clothes, personal trainers and gyms, diets and fads, … the list goes on and on!! Will it ever end??
When I was a teenager in the 80’s, obviously pressure to “look pretty” existed as much as it does now… I loved the gay scene in Sydney where I grew up. It was theatrical and exploding and we would spend hours getting dressed in front of the mirror, teasing our hair and creating a theatrical image, becoming whoever it was we wanted to be…. For me it was Madonna I wanted to look like! I would follow whatever new style she created and admired her so much! Truly an icon, she systematically influenced generation after generation… I LOVED her! J Still, I was dark haired… not blonde! I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t a good dancer, I had pimples, a big nose, a long chin, there was always something wrong and though I tried my best with make – up (we used to wear a lot of it and make – up was very dramatic back then), truth is, I was never good enough or pretty enough in my own eyes… Actually I hated myself! In hind sight I look at my photos and think “God, I was gorgeous”! What was it then, that ate me up and sent me on the downward spiral of thinking I was ugly, unlovable, undeserving, un – cool?
WHAT WENT WRONG?
As babies we were pure and perfect, with no ideas about ourselves or others… We realized we were divinely perfect and demanded attention just for being. All we had to do was lay there and we would be showered with love and affection. All of our needs were met and even though (of course not everyone’s infancy was this idyllic) we really didn’t know better, accepted what was given to us, giving back unconditional love to our caretakers was for granted. We also observed their behaviour and made unconscious decisions about how we could “fit in” to this “family dynamics”…
As we started to explore our world and became mobile, we were impacted with approval or disapproval, we were no longer loved for just being. Love could be taken away from us and we could even be punished for not behaving in a certain way which was appropriate for our then environment. We quickly learned that having love taken away from us was excruciatingly painful and instead of knowing we are always perfect and divine in every way, our environment showed us that if we weren’t what “they” wanted us to be, it felt really awful…. We also learned that to hold our breath numbed the pain and so started disconnecting from our true nature… Pure LOVE!
This was the beginning of realizing self and creating self – image… Most people don’t recognise that this is where it all starts. With disapproval and the disappearance of unconditional love, we start to think we are unlovable and our search for love and approval to fill that awful void of painful disapproval begins.
These core thoughts are compounded repetitively, as depending on how much disapproval you have received, you act out with desperation to attract approval from others. This very desperation is what pushes people away as it reminds them of their own pain… what they don’t want to remember and face in themselves.
Of course, society, schooling, media, religion and the rest, play a major role in proving to you that you are less; that if you studied harder, wore better clothes, had more money, had better looks, were more athletic, cleverer, more, more, more, you’d finally be lovable…. This disease eats us up forever unless we go for the solution….
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Reconnect with your emotions and open up your heart again with love and compassion for your own self!! It is easy to see someone (a friend or even a stranger) and have compassion for what they are going through…. Or even disagree with the image they have of themselves and think they are wonderful! But what about YOU? Take a deep breath and bring yourself back to the present moment. Pull the love that is present all around you into your own body and heart… Go on! It only takes a second!! J
DROP THE JUDGEMENT!
The most judgemental people are the ones who have been the most judged/ disapproved of when they were children (Be careful what you tell your children, it becomes their inner voice)… Realize that all of those judgements/ voices going on in your mind are like a tape recorder of things you’ve picked up… IT IS NOT A SIGN OF INTELLIGENCE TO BE JUDGEMENTAL either towards yourself or others. The tape recorder goes on and on and the truth is, every time you judge someone you show your own low self – esteem. The judgement somehow makes you feel superior on some level and you do it because you NEED to feel superior… Why? Because at your core you feel inferior. Every time you are tempted to judge someone, love them instead…
- COME FROM A LOVING, NOT A FEARFUL PLACE WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOURSELF.
Pay attention and accentuate the things you like, instead of hiding the things you don’t like. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in other words everyone has different taste. Remember you are lovable no matter what you’re thinking or feeling about yourself.
- REMEMBER BEAUTY COMES FROM WITHIN
The more you treat your body in a loving way, by fuelling it with the right nourishment – whether food, exercise, pampering, enough sleep, allowing yourself to be successful, having fun, dancing, laughing, acting childish, being really kind to yourself etc., the more you will glow with happiness and relaxation from the inside out… This is what it means to have presence; to treat yourself with love and glow because of it!
- COMPLIMENT EVERYBODY
Be kind. Pay attention to peoples beautiful assets not their “flaws”. Become a part of the solution. Love people as they are and understand that everyone has their own brand of beauty. Just because YOU are not physically attracted to them, doesn’t mean you are the expert on what is beautiful. We are all divine beings and one… every person is a part of it. PAY ATTENTION and go into agreement with their beauty and affirm it to them so that they start seeing it too…
- SPEND TIME WITH THE ELEMENTS, IN NATURE:
Have you noticed how gorgeous people look after they’ve been for holidays to the sea – side or the mountains – especially if they have been swimming, hiking, skiing or really involving themselves in nature? This is because we are a part of nature and the majority of us who live in cities are disconnected from something that is so integral to our well – being, but we have no idea. Being in nature makes us beautiful because we ARE HOME. Appreciate nature consciously and actively take part in merging with it instead of fearing it.
- REMEMBER YOUR BODY IS A MIRACLE IN ACTION WHATEVER IT LOOKS LIKE.
Our bodies are a miracle in action. They are functioning brilliantly despite our mistreatment of them in so many ways. They are miraculously self – healing, continuously rebooting without our awareness. All they need is love and our decision to make life enforcing choices to stay youthful and fit for as long as we want to…
AFFRIMATIONS: “MY BODY IS A MIRACLE IN ACTION. I LOVE, APPRECIATE AND APPROVE OF MY PERFECT BODY. THE MORE I AM GRATEFUL AND APPROVE OF IT, THE BETTER IT WILL RESPOND TO ME AND WHAT I ASK OF IT.”
“I CAN KEEP MY BODY AS LONG AS I WANT AND I CAN ALSO TELL MY CELLS TO YOUTH INSTEAD OF AGE”
Now take a deep breath… And so it is!
Rebirthing Breath Master,
Master Breathwork Trainer,