Ladies, this one’s for you! And for me too!
Have you seen the Dove advertisements from their ‘Real Beauty Campaign’? There are many! Pictures of women with actual curves. Some even flaunting love handles. No lie! Ladies with wrinkles and women clearly proud of their age AND the natural gray locks they sport. Even some with an abundance of freckles. Imagine this? I love it! I’d like you to meet my very favorite lady. Although we’ve never met, we’ve been friends for years. Her picture sits at my desk and I look at her frequently, admiring her boldness and beauty. She provides ongoing inspiration.
Years ago, Dove released their Evolution of Beauty video. With millions of YouTube views, it clearly made quite a statement. Dove says, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.” Their argument is accurate and compelling as they take a naturally beautiful woman and not only ‘make her up’, but photo shop her until she’s acceptable for a billboard advertisement. The end result looks nothing like the woman they started with.
Dove’s latest video released last month, Sketches, is already a viral sensation. This promotion exposes the difference between how women see themselves, compared to how others view them. They claim women are their own worst beauty critics. Hmmm….I’d say they’re on to something. Their tagline for this campaign is, “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” GO DOVE!
If you haven’t already, it would be well worth your while to watch both, which are linked for you above.
What is Dove sharing that has us so transfixed? Normally the draw is for the newest, hottest fashions, the trendiest hairstyles, the latest plastic surgery techniques, and frankly, anything that’ll keep you looking young at any cost and noticed by all.
So why is Dove resonating with so many people?
I have my own theory.
Deep inside we want people to love and accept us for exactly who we are. We’re done with the facades. We want to relax and enjoy the ‘natural us’, and we don’t want the exhausting work to keep up with an aging body and an overly critical world. We want freedom from guilt and shame. We don’t want to worry about competition, peer pressure or the world’s opinion of our backside. We long for the emphasis to be on what’s truly important. While we believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and we are absolutely perfect in his image, we desperately seek the ability to genuinely feel this, not just repeat the words. We want to celebrate us ‘as-is’…and mean it.
If our heads know this AND our hearts feel it, WHY do we continue to criticize our imperfections, live with discontentment and shame and long to be someone we aren’t?
Why? Because we’re watching and listening, but we aren’t ‘doing’? We nod our heads with approval when we hear someone espousing a halt to destructive behaviors but we don’t take steps to join them. We connect on some level, but we don’t take action for change.
Have you noticed the following cycle, or some offshoot of it, in your own life? You feel disappointed and uncomfortable with your looks and try in vain to change or hide your embarrassing imperfections. You might have good days, but you never quite accomplish your ultimate goal; total acceptance and love for who you are. You see a Dove ad and your heart beats faster. The adrenaline rushes and you get excited. You long for even a fraction of the confidence and peace these ladies convey. You try to convince yourself you can do this, but then your short lived optimism comes crashing down. You see someone who has exactly what you want in all the right places…and you revert right back to the painful, devastating negative self-images you’ve been fighting for years.
Ladies – it is time to stop this and stop it NOW!
Change will occur ONLY when you stop thinking about something and take intentional and strategic action to modify it. A transformation is in order, a makeover if you will, from the inside out. It’s time to declutter your insecurities and skewed self perceptions. Dove is doing an incredible job trying to change the world’s view of what ‘real beauty’ is, but we have to do our part. They can lead us to water but…
I came up with a plan. At first it sounded like an extraordinary idea, but as it got closer to fruition, I was shocked by my discomfort and fears. Anxiety is not my normal ‘M.O.’, but that just goes to show you how deep our insecurities run and how affected we are; we all are. As the week wore on, so did my struggle. But my desire for the greater good won out, so here goes…
I dare you to take the ‘Love Me Challenge’. Basically, you’ll be telling others not only to ‘Love You’, but that you ‘Love You’ too – as is! Reread that until it makes sense. You’ll then be encouraging them to love themselves as well!
Post a headshot of yourself, smiling (this isn’t a mug shot afterall!). NO makeup or hair fixing allowed! Please share it on our Declutter Now! Facebook page, but more importantly, make it your Facebook profile picture on your personal FB wall for one week. Have I lost you yet? If not, keep reading!
The premise is that a public display forces you to cross the line from thinking to doing. It can be terrifying to ‘put yourself out there’, but think of the confidence you’ll gain, the freedom you’ll feel and the example you’ll set. This could unlock a whole new confident you!
Each day of your one week commitment, post this comment on your page:
Ladies, please join the ‘Love Me Challenge’! Take a smiling, ‘real beauty’ headshot picture of yourself; NO hair styling or makeup allowed! Make it your profile pic for one week and ‘share’ it on our Declutter Now! Facebook page. Encourage others to do the same by posting this comment on your Facebook wall for each day of your one week commitment. Together, let’s DECLUTTER our insecurities and negative self-images forever! For more info, check out http://actionplanministries.com/the-love-me-challenge Love, Me
Frankly, I’m scared to death, but incredibly excited too. Think of the paradigm shift which can occur simply by loving yourself ‘as-is’, and encouraging your friends to do the same.
Can you still do your hair or wear makeup? Of course! We are girls after all! But there’s a difference between getting fancied up and enjoying yourself, and trying to cover up who you are for fear you aren’t pretty enough…or thin enough…or young enough.
By the same token, is this a license to completely let yourself go and live an unhealthy life? Definitely not! It’s a movement to do the best you can with what God has blessed you with, increase your confidence, love yourself and live with joy.
I’m closing this post with the video from A More Beautiful You, a song written and performed by Jonny Diaz. Listen to the words carefully. They make a whole lot of good sense.
Please share this blog with your family and friends and encourage them to take the ‘Love Me Challenge’ with us. We’ve got more work to do, but this is a great start. I’m so grateful for your time and blessed by your support.