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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Inner Beauty Movement / Are Self-Love Blogs Fluff?

My daughter checking out her reflection. (It's a child-safe mirror, which is why it looks a little distorted.)
If only we all kept the same friendly relationship with the mirror as we got older!

Let me be honest. Because I always am here. :) And I'm not fishing for compliments. Sometimes I can start to wonder if this blog really means anything to anyone or if it actually makes a difference. How's that for ironic: the self-love blogger feeling insecure about her blog?! Just like anyone else, I can start to let a lack of comments make me question my purpose here. Just about the time I start wondering that, I will receive a comment from someone I've never heard from before saying that something I wrote meant something to them. (You'd think I would learn by now.) And the truth is, whether this blog ever reaches an audience on a wide scale, it has helped me more than I ever thought possible as well. The simple act of constantly thinking of self-love posts I want to write about naturally induces more of it in my life. As a mom, I don't have the time I used to have to devote to it, but it's never far from my thoughts. Every time I watch TV or hear a song or have a conversation with a friend, my mind is thinking of how I can weave a post from some sort of nugget I got because my goal is simply to help people. And if people can glean something positive from my bad experiences (and my good ones!), it adds more purpose to things I went through.

This is not the only blog out there that talks about self-love. There are quite a few of them out there. There is somewhat of a female self-love movement going on in our world right now, and not just from Dove. Even though as far as I can tell, we started this project before the big movement started, sometimes I wonder if I actually have anything valuable to add to this movement when there is already so much going on towards it. Some of those other blogs are so, so good. But then I snap myself back to reality and remember that no one else can tell this "story" the way I tell it. Someone might read my blog and get more out of it than another one because something about it resonates with them more. Someone might read mine and it doesn't resonate with them, but it propels them toward another blog that does. Maybe someone doesn't regularly read this blog but happened upon one particular post that mattered to them that day. All of those things are great. What's important is that the person is actively seeking that journey. My blog isn't any better or worse than the others and vice versa because, while we may all be discussing the same basic principle, we're all doing it in our own unique ways.  I am not jealous of the other, more successful blogs in actuality. I am just happy if people find something that makes them see how beautiful they really are inside and out. 

I recently read on another self-love blog, however, that blogs like mine are essentially fluff. That you can't develop more self-love simply by focusing on it. That you really need to take her e-course to discover how to love yourself more. Now, her course might be a total awakening for some people, and if so, I think that is wonderful. I will not call her out because I sincerely believe that her purpose is the same as mine: to help people. But I don't think it's fair to downplay blogs like mine that promote self-love or try to convince all women that they're beautiful. All of us self-love bloggers have our place in this movement, a place that only each one of us can fill in our individual ways from our unique experiences in our lives. I do believe the more you focus on something, the more it becomes your reality. If you're reading my blog and/or some of the others, I think it's naturally going to start to rub off on you. How you get there isn't as important as the fact that you are trying to get there. There's no one right way or right answer that applies to all women.

My daughter and me.
She's beautiful inside and out,
and I want her to always know!
I really love, LOVE, LOOOOOVE Lifetime's new show, "The Conversation." I have been keeping some notes and quotes from every episode as I've gone along and am just waiting for the right way to convey my thoughts, but sum it up now to say: IF YOU ARE A WOMAN AND YOU ARE NOT WATCHING THIS SHOW, YOU ARE DOING A GREAT DISSERVICE TO YOURSELF. So anyway, I've been perusing their web site now that season one is over, and there is some great stuff there. I came across this post, and it so beautifully describes how I feel - that the inner beauty movement does not have to exclude outer beauty. Let's not get so caught up in the inner stuff that we convince ourselves the outer part doesn't even matter. We're women. We're human. To some degree, for most of us, it does matter. And as the post points out: "By relying on your inner beauty to get you through the long days and cold nights, you might miss a very valuable truth: you ARE beautiful... Here’s the lie: You are either beautiful on the inside or pretty on the outside. Here’s what I say: That’s a load of bull. You as a woman are inherently both." That's why one of our TCN mottos is "Inner AND outer beauty promoted here." They aren't mutually exclusive. 

I'll leave you for now with a list of some of my favorite self-love blogs/sites run by some courageous and inspiring women - all of whom, like me, probably started out in a place of insecurity and worked their way out...I dare say we all still struggle, but we have learned how to fight it better and just want to help others do the same. You don't even have to agree with everything they or I say; you can pick and choose what resonates with you and build on it. There are a wealth of other blogs and sites that are great; these just happen to have found their way into my list.

I also have what I think is a really great Twitter list I've made public of all my favorite self-love tweeters (many of those above, plus others). Check it out and make your own...and don't forget to add us, @narcissisters, to your list. ;)

What is your opinion of the self-love movement? Do you think it is working? Do you believe in promoting or diminishing the importance of feeling beautiful on the outside?

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