According to Susan Sommers author of "French Chic" young girls in France are taught to "appreciate and to emphasize their most unique and striking, even offbeat, natural assets." They are to taught to feel "bien dans leur peau" -- good in their skin. Sommers says that it is this confidence with their bodies that gives the French woman the power to look chic and lovely no matter what her actual physical features are.
The mothers pass down to their daughters a confidence and natural self-respect and self-appreciation. By believing in herself the French woman radiates poise and beauty. The French girl learns from a young age to be at ease with her body both dressed and undressed, for beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
I am reminded of this lesson when I watched a play at our local theater. The lead actress though very heavy set, appeared in a skimpy negligee. She was confident, and absolutely radiated sexuality. Her beauty was completely shining forth in her attitude alone.
Here in the States we are often bought up to cover up. To be ashamed of our bodies if they are the least bit of what we consider imperfect. So it can become difficult for us, growing up in a society that covets physical perfection, to relearn how to appreciate a variety of shapes and sizes and enjoy them.
What to do? How can we overcome this cultural standard that shuns all but the perfect Barbie form? Start with yourself. Learn to like, even love what you have always criticized because your beauty comes from the inside-out, not the other way around. Remember, "The Barbie" is a fake illusion.
Instead of seeing your body as parts, see your body as a fluid whole. Stand tall and walk proudly. Appreciate what your body has to offer you.
Simple Steps To Body Love:
1. Treat your body like a good friend, by feeding it well, getting adequate sleep, and taking care of it.
2. Pamper your body. Lotions on the skin, manicures - things that make you feel good.
3. Send yourself positive messages (no constant self criticism). And not putting yourself down with other people either!
4. So my (fill in the blank) isn't perfect. Does it really matter?
5. Surround yourself with what you love and enjoy.
Cultivate this attitude of internal confidence and it will show through in your walk, your talk, and you'll notice the difference it makes in how people respond to you as well!