Women’s Month – Reclaiming Beauty, Redefining Success

Women’s Month- Reclaiming Beauty, Redefining Success
It felt like cold water slapping my face. The first time I watched, it made me uncomfortable. The second time, I cried. Now I’m all fired up with positive energy about healthy female power and want to share that with you.

“It” is a 60-second video at CampaignforRealBeauty.com. Go to “Evolution film” and click on watch the film (please note: I’m not talking about the pro-age video that automatically plays).
You’ll see that this film represents a form of violence against girls (and women) that we need to be more conscious about.

Research* reveals the good, the bad and the …

o Dr. Susie Orbach has discovered that spending just three minutes looking at fashion magazines lowers the self-esteem of 80% of women.

o Distorted expectations and pressures of physical beauty effect self esteem. This leads to introversion, a withdrawal from normal life and a waste of potential.

o 6 out of 10 girls think they’d “be happier if they were thinner”
Like many of you, I recall being a young girl, cruelly teased about my looks nearly every day at school. Now I can appreciate that this urged me to develop my intelligence and other talents. Today my heart goes out to any girl feeling disheartened by mass media pressure that feels more intense than my youth era. (In my twenties a friend encouraged me to get a nose job, which helped eliminate an obstruction to my confidence.)
Good news*:

o 87% of women agree that “a woman can look beautiful at any age” and 81% agreed with “every woman has something beautiful about her.”

o 75% of women agree that beauty does not come from her looks, but from her spirit and love of life.

Author and feminist, Naomi Wolf says in 1991 most American women were still feeling bad about not looking like the thin, blonde Barbie with big breasts. She writes that now women “DO see themselves as beautiful when they are being loved or engaging in meaningful activities, involved in spiritual experiences, helping others or doing creative work.” Wolf astutely points out that when women are no longer preoccupied with “external shortcomings, they can get on in forceful ways with their internal development and creativity.” I would add, and thus be able to wake up inspired and make a difference in the world while feeling more in love with their lives.

This leads us to not just challenging what defines beauty, but what is true success?

Studies show that 80% of professionals say that balance and fulfillment are top priorities. Yet, in real life, they are still not experiencing enough balance or meaning. Professionals come to me seeking their higher purpose much more than just higher paychecks.

There’s a healthy revolution brewing– towards becoming whole and experiencing a harmony between who you are deep inside, and how you function in the outer world. “Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” has a renewed echo in our hearts for the 21st century. The first feminist initiatives were about “Life” — I exist. I have a say in the world. I count and get a vote. “Liberty” overlaps nicely with the push for the freedom to pursue financial independence and equal opportunity to compete for the corner office. Now, we have a grand opportunity to revamp “The Pursuit of Happiness.” Let’s pray we are wiser about what “happiness” entails and realize that she who dies with the most toys is probably spending too much time on eBay.

More women are ready to redefine success in order to include well-being, spirituality, and meaningful work rather than sacrifice these elements while trying to climb ladders and compete in ways that are often out of sync with her true nature. Who wants to keep pushing to break through a glass ceiling if this leads to more stress and a shattered spirit? We are at the threshold of redefining success and reclaiming joy.

One of my clients, a 40-year-old television producer, puts it this way, “I define my own success now. I used to put a lot of energy into pushing for the next promotion, competing and getting caught up in what everyone else thought was success. Now I’ve given up chasing in favor of seeking. I realize that, yes, you can have fulfilling work, be a mom, and not kill yourself–as long as you define success yourself.” Rather than push for network exec titles, she’s now more intrigued with making a difference in the lives of others, especially education for girls.

If you are reading this, you are a person of power. You have choices to make and a voice to use toward a world that works for all of us. What would you love to experience for your own unique story of joyful success?

Satria Permadi

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