One Beautiful Thing

What if there is no such thing as flawed bodies.  What if there are only variations.  Different shapes, different sizes, different abilities, but all perfect as they are.  What if, instead of reading another article about clothing that hides those “problem areas”, we realized that our bodies don’t have any problem areas? I was pondering this when I got a comment from reader Amlys with a brilliant idea.  She wrote:

After poking around the SA blogosphere, I started challenging myself to find one beautiful thing about fat women. Even if it was, “I like her earrings”. Eventually, I started seeing beautiful things about their bodies, too. It became an automatic response to fatness–looking for one beautiful thing. I don’t see anything that upsets me–i don’t associate adiposity with being unattractive anymore. Now, I instinctively look for one beautiful thing about every person I see, fat or thin. I truly have found myself to be accepting of all sizes–I don’t see size anymore, just that one beautiful thing that I find about that particular person.

One beautiful thing. No more flaws, no more problem areas, no more body snarking, no more “can you believe she’s wearing that“.  What if every time you looked at someone else, every time you looked in the mirror, you found something beautiful.  Imagine how that could change the world…

Just one beautiful thing.

16 thoughts on “One Beautiful Thing

  1. I ❤ this post, I am going to make it my goal from this moment onwards, thankyou for sharing this post 🙂

  2. I love this. It reminds me of the exercise in Linda Bacon’s book that asks the reader to list all the things s/he has been and done in hir life that s/he’s proud of, pleased with, or that simply satisfied hir–that have nothing to do with body size!

    And while we’re at it, can we look at how we define and apply “beautiful”? I’d like to get away from appearance altogether, not just as relates to size.

    For example, a rhinoceros is ugly by most cultural standards of beauty. And not just because it’s big! But isn’t how it has evolved in its environmental niche beautiful? And the way it carries birds on its back to feed off the lice on its hide? That’s beautiful, too. And isn’t a rhino mama’s love for her rhino baby (and vice versa) every bit as beautiful as any other animal’s?

    If I’ve been run over by a truck and look it, I can still be beautiful because I have spirit, or because of my laugh, or simply because I love something or someone. So can we all.

    1. 🙂 I like your rhino statement. How many in the animal kingdom do we love in their roundness? I love hippos because they remind me of my dog. The beluga dancing to the mariachis on Yahoo! the other day was absolutely adorable. All of those “large” marine life are beautiful, graceful swimmers. 🙂 (I smile as I write this.)

      And Linda Bacon points out all the works of art that are out there with human models of all shapes and sizes. They ARE beautiful! And so are all living creatures.

  3. I got tired of my own body self-hatred, so I started a twitter thanking it for something its done for me, at least once a day. Some days, it’s appearance-based, and some-days, it’s function based, but in the less-than-month that I started this project, I started having the same reaction as Amlys…I see beauty and miracles and marvels all around me now. It’s so /freeing/.

  4. Just last night I was thinking about this. I’m reading The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. He speaks to the barriers that humans have in believing in evolution, especially when it comes to our own species. One is the idea of essentialism: for every species, there is one set of characteristics that every member of that species must possess. Dr. Dawkins used rabbits as an example. If we think of a rabbit, we have this idea of what a rabbit should look like (cotton tail, floppy ears, etc), and any rabbit that does not possess these traits (e.g. short ears that stick straight up) are “flawed” rabbits. Biogolist Ernest Mayr put it best: “Flesh-and-blood rabbits may vary, but their variations are always to be seen as flawed deviation from the ideal essence of rabbit”.

    Of course, essentialism is not true. It’s an archaic way of thinking about variation in species. If you collect a group of rabbits, or dogs, or horses, or humans, there will be a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, personalities, etc. There is no essential form of any species.

    If we combat that idea and instead think of species in evolutionary terms, that within each species there is a wide variety, and every single one of those varied individuals are rabbits, or horses, or dogs, or HUMAN. Even us fat ones. We’re not flawed; we’re just varied. Thanks to variety, we have evolved from single cell, simple life forms to the complex creatures we are today. (Another barrier to the evolutionary thinking that there is great variety within species is that 44% of the US, according to a 2008 Gallup poll, completely deny evolution and believe that each creature was created fully-formed, as-is, which IMO lends to the idea of essentialism, that there is one standard and everything that deviates from that original created standard is flawed, BUT I digress)

    I’m a nut for science.

  5. If people were to stop judging themselves and others, it would put a LOT of buisnesess, well, out of business. Any industry that preys on the insecurities of people would be kaput. I think that would range from the diet industry to most of Madison Avenue. I don’t think that would be a bad thing at all.

  6. Awesome awesome awesome. I run body confidence classes, and I will definitely be suggesting this idea. As long as you don’t mind, of course.

  7. What a great post today; for me it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Since I was directed to this blog a few weeks ago from a friend on Facebook, I have started reading Linda Bacon’s book “Health at Every Size”. I just finished the chapter on Fat Politics today. From this literary work, I had a deep and profound realization: I think as negatively about “fat people” (myself included) as some people think about gay people and people of other races!! (And here, I thought I was a NICE person! Who knew I was such an elitist?!)

    I had NO idea that my belief system was like that, because the majority was criticism about myself even if my thoughts were directed towards others. And I realized that if I think that poorly of myself, of course I wouldn’t have any room for kind thoughts for others in my predicament.

    After this realization, I have committed to changing my world view in this area. Today’s blog post says it all for me and the work I am ready to do.

    I’m so glad that I found this blog, this book, and the wonderful people here. I’m glad that I have been given a wonderful opportunity to grow. Banish fear and hate! Bring on the Beautiful!


  8. I adore this. I have a clothiing shop and all day, people of all kinds of body shapes and sizes come in the door (we do a big size range). It doesn’t take much to enjoy the beauty in every person who comes in. Sadly, most people (and this is across the size and shape spectrum) are very quick to find fault in themselves. I wish that more people could find the beauty in each other – and then turn it right around and enjoy the beauty in themselves too!

  9. Like Ragen I love to collect quotes and inspirational things. I found the following today when I was revisiting Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” ( The second half of his musing on Beauty is as follows (though it’s obviously open to interpretation, I think the first paragraph has interesting meaning for me in the context of struggling against the false media ideals and cultural expectations of ‘beauty.’):
    “All these things have you said of beauty,
    Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
    And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
    It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
    But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

    It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
    But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
    It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
    But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

    People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
    But you are life and you are the veil.
    Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
    But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
    Anyone else have a cool beauty-related quote to share? 😀

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