Archive for November 19, 2012

Good and Bad with Beauty


Beautiful Woman…We all love to look at her, talk about her, wonder about her. She’s got it all, right? The great job, beautiful friends, a date every night, men falling over themselves to be noticed and doors being opened for her — both literally and figuratively. Okay, let’s face it. When we meet someone new a first impression is first about looks; only later do things such as personality, brains and character start to take on meaning. A side note about beauty is that weight isn’t much of a factor, unless the person is morbidly obese or anorexically skinny. The key to perceived beauty is the face. Beauty is absolutely connected with success – well, at least financial success.

Companies that place a premium on hiring very attractive people had on average higher revenues than similar companies which did not. The public clearly rewards businesses with the beautiful faces. Beautiful people in general, most of us, regardless of our professed attitudes, prefer as customers to buy from better-looking sales people, as jurors to listen to better-looking attorneys, as voters to be led by better-looking politicians, as students to learn from better-looking professors.

Beautiful women have it even better and get away with things ordinary people can’t. Try talking an officer out of a ticket or walking in without a reservation and getting a table at that hot new restaurant or talking that male co-worker into helping you move some furniture. Beauty does make a difference. Beautiful women get more smiles, more handsome lovers and better treatment and perhaps they expect it. Sometimes the beautiful woman has a bigger-than-life persona; higher than normal self esteem coupled with the feeling that she is special and deserves the best can become a self fulfilling prophecy.

The cycle is easy to see. The beautiful woman, constantly fawned upon, catered to, approached and presented with numerous options starts to see this as the norm. This sets up a powerful self image and expectations for the best. She starts expecting others to fawn, and expects things to be handed to her on a silver platter — a princess syndrome, of sorts. She is the center of attention, and everyone else is of little importance. Here the power of positive thinking is at work.

So, it’s all good right? Beauty is the bomb and those lucky enough to have it are the equivalent of genetic lottery winners. No, all that glitters is not beautiful. As with most things, there’s a downside. Some would even say a dark side to beauty. How some beautiful women view them can border on obsessive. They cherish their looks and play them to the hilt, but if they find a blemish, a wrinkle or a flaw, it can throw them into a panic. It can even have them inquiring around for a good plastic surgeon, new dietician or workout guru.

Low self esteem is more common in beautiful women than you would expect. Some just don’t believe they are attractive. They have a distorted self image and don’t believe others who tell them how stunning they are. Thus in their mind everyone is a “liar” and not to be trusted. Some are dependent on the first impression reaction of others to define who they are, i.e., someone who has it all because of her beauty. So, she starts to see herself as someone with no talent, no intellect and no redeeming qualities other than her looks.

Then there are the beauties that are truly shy or to protect themselves from constant harassment, they withdraw. Unfortunately, they can come across as aloof, stuck up, snooty and even arrogant. If we take the time to get to know her instead of condemn her, we might find out she’s really kind, conscientious, caring and perhaps just a little bit shy. It’s almost as if we’re subconsciously or for some maybe even consciously looking for a reason to treat her as less than a person.

If she’s beautiful, a new study says, there is often a hidden selfish streak. She’s lucky and she knows it, and she will consciously or subconsciously use her looks to her advantage any way she can. We all have our own talents, skills, abilities and looks. Are beautiful women taken seriously? Research has shown that when women and men look at gorgeous women’s success, they immediately tend to credit their success to their looks, and not any talents or brains they may possess. Actually, beauty has both positive and negative effects on us. Chances are she’ll be taken more seriously by a male, but not by much. If she’s being scrutinized and considered by other women, then the highly attractive woman is at a big disadvantage.

Probably the most difficult thing a beautiful woman has to deal with is social rejection. When it comes to members of her own sex she is often an outcast. As listed by the Top 10 Things that make a woman threatening to other women, the #1 threat is beauty. Whether it’s true or not, other women perceive the beauty as a threat to steal their man away. They may not trust their spouse/boyfriend/lover in the presence of such beauty, and simply prefer to reject her instead. Meanwhile the men think what the heck, what chance do I have with a woman like that? All too often folks think she has it all, and she must already be taken. Plus, what chance would the average Joe have anyway? She can have anyone she wants, someone with money, fame and looks. In essence, the men are intimidated and prefer to stare from afar rather than approach.

Another study shows it isn’t cheap to be a beautiful woman. They spend about one third of their income on maintaining those good looks. Many of these women are spending money they don’t have on creams, diets, products and cosmetic surgery. High fashion magazines feel they need to photoshop even the most gorgeous of models, so does that put even more pressure on the beautiful woman to keep up appearances? After all, in her mind that may be all she has going for her, thus money is no object when it buys self esteem.

So, there is good and bad with beauty and the real question is what exactly determines which woman will parlay it into success and which will succumb to the dark side? The answer is quite simple. Beauty is an asset, just like physical prowess, charisma, brains or emotional intelligence. The key with any gift is in the way that you use it. It doesn’t define you as a person. Rather, it’s an asset to be used judiciously and with an understanding of how it is just a small part of who you are. Those that get this will do well; others that don’t, not so much.

As with most things beauty can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse. As Penelope Lively said, "I’m intrigued by the way in which physical appearance can often direct a person’s life; things happen differently for a beautiful woman than for a plain one." Different yes, but not necessarily better. So, the next time you see a stunningly beautiful woman, enjoy the view, but don’t judge her because she’s beautiful.


Beauty is Best Version of Yourself


Think of the pressure women experience to be beautiful and the lengths women will go too to obtain it—including plastic surgery, dangerous diets, skin treatments and altering their bodies. The pressure couldn’t have been more true or palpable at the L.A. high school Jessica visited. What did the high school girls reveal? It’s no surprise that the main theme kept circling back to feeling “fat.” The self esteem of these girls had been severely damaged by the desire and need to be thin. It reconfirmed how often we measure our self worth in pounds not deeds. We live in a world where 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner, 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat. Who wouldn’t feel the pressure to be thin when the image of the body “ideal” they are growing up with is so twisted?

We’ve seen a glimmer of hope that change might be on the horizon. Glamour and Elle Magazine both ran articles featuring “real” women. These two popular women’s magazines are some of the first to take a step forward. The articles seem to reflect that media is finally catching on to what women may be wanting—to see more women with curves and diverse bodies shapes, not just the thin one. Could we see a change coming? Hopefully! Jessica has been a forerunner in this initiative. She recently received a lot of press for her cover on Marie Claire, which she did without makeup or photo-shopping.

On the show, Ken (Jessica’s friend and hairdresser) asked the high school girls to stand up and announce that they were beautiful. It was clearly uncomfortable and foreign to the girls to speak in such a positive and empowering way about themselves. What can you do if you know a high school girl who feels this way about herself? Operation Beautiful is new initiative to help women turn around this self hate and teach them how to put an end to damaging “fat talk.” In its place, Operation Beautiful hopes to see women tell themselves and others that they are beautiful.

Jessica describes her initiative as a way to “help youth believe in themselves and use their personal strength to change the world.” It is a celebration of “individualism and positivity.” She is planning self-esteem conferences that empower women to be confident about their appearance. Helping women achieve this is going to be a challenge but is obviously well needed. There is so much in the world that tells girls and boys just the opposite about themselves.

So, what is beauty? It is clear that elements of beauty are unique to each culture. However, the overarching theme can be best summed up like this: No matter where you live, beauty means being the best version of yourself—both inside and out.

Thank you to Jessica and the VH1 crew for helping to see beauty from a new different perspective.

We Don’t Get What We Want; We Get What We Prepare For



How often have we felt helpless in the face of everything that seems to hold us back? The past, the present, money, relationships, weight, appearance, self-esteem, education, connections – we can come up with so many reasons for why we aren’t successful. The power to transcend all of that and become who you were meant to be lies within you and the choices you make. Ultimately, you assign meaning to your circumstances; they don’t assign meaning to you. No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve been through, you can start today and make your life an expression of possibility, fulfillment, success, and love.

Preparation is a demonstration of faith because true faith is revealed through action. We’ve heard about the countless visualization techniques out there, but the most revealing demonstration of faith is whether you’re prepared to receive what you say you want. What do you believe to be true about your life? Is there tangible evidence of that belief? Let’s say you ordered a sofa today and it was scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. How would you prepare? You’d move the old sofa out, right? You’d clear out the tables and lamps so that the movers could bring the sofa straight through the door and into the space you had set aside for it. You’d want to be sure you were home so the movers could get in to make the delivery. You would be ready. Are you ready for what you want to receive in your life?

Your blessings are on the way, but are you ready? Are you in the right place to receive your blessings? Your destiny is racing towards you just as quickly as you’re racing towards it! Have you done the preparation for your blessings to come flowing easily and quickly into your life? Remember that we don’t get what we want; we get what we prepare for. Keep your inspiration close. What really inspires you? What makes you feel completely alive? What makes your spirit sing? Even the most successful people will tell you that they’ve had tough days or even tough years. We’ve all been through seasons that tested the very essence of our spirit and left us wondering whether we were on the right path. But you’re here, and you’re still moving forward. Discover what inspires and awakens you and keep it close.

When you feel sad, drained, angry, or frustrated, turn to those things, people, places, and ideas to keep you focused and positive and take consistent action. Now is the time. Think about it: Everything that happened yesterday is in the past. It’s over and done with and can’t be reclaimed. And the future isn’t here yet – it hasn’t happened so your only power over it is limited to a present intention. That means that all you truly have is NOW and what are you doing with your now?

Memories are better than regrets – memories are nothing more than a series of really great "now" – invest your mental and emotional energy into the now and begin to see now as the greatest gift to be, do, and have the abundance life has to offer. When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself, "What am I avoiding now by using up this moment with worry?" Then take specific action.

Your life is your choice; choose wisely.

Rationales Intended For Meditation


I read an article recently that said: "Meditate: Daily relaxation exercises may cut the risk of death from heart attack by 30 percent and cancer by 49 percent." Cardiac death runs in my family. Both of my grandfathers, my grandmother, and too-many aunts and uncles all died of it. But the good news, at least for me, is that I’ve been meditating for 6 years.

The brilliance is that we can all differ from our conditioning, go around from our heredity, and challenge our programming to live imaginative, zealous, and joy-filled lives. I believe that meditation is the groundwork for this change. Our minds are like trap doors that lead to everything stale and old, out-of-date fears, previous wounds, and out-of-focus pictures. By working with the mind, by using patient, comfortable awareness, we shine the light inside that trap door. Things shift, slowly and subtlety. We move to a new state of mind, then another and another. We become the change we visualize, for ourselves and for the planet slowly and subtlety and we have fun along the way.

Here are my reasons for meditating. You better remember why you walked into a room. You smile more and grind your teeth less. You see beauty in the most improbable places–the face of child with a runny nose, a wrinkled old toothless smile, a heap of grass clippings. You develop a sense of humor, especially about yourself. You have the feeling you do after an hour of yoga–but without the exercise. Your abhorrent grandfather/aunt/cousin doesn’t trouble you as much. Your intuition becomes your secret mentor. Your heart heals, and holds more love. You feel stillness as deep as the ocean. You will be ecstatic.

My thought about meditation, which I learned from a wise one, is simple; don’t leave the house without having done it, since the only bad meditation is the one you didn’t do.

Transcend Above Quagmire


Life isn’t unfair… it is always fair! We can see the great rise of faith accepting this idea might require. We’ve all posed the question like "Why me? Why do bad things happen to good people? How can a good God allow such injustices to occur?" None of us is unaffected to apparently negative events, but life’s events become tragedies only if we make the attentive choice to make disaster out of them. The storms in one’s life, while they have the potential of creating devastating disorder in the mind, do not have to. We might just as easily choose to view them as being in perfect order, offering us chances for personal growth. These so-called disasters can actually become the powerful force of transformation. The question then becomes is there really such a thing as a negative experience?

The gift of each of these apparently negative events is a tool from the Divine that can help nurture our spiritual progress. The more intimidating the impediment greater the potential there is for personal growth. From the ancient mystical text of Judaism, the Kabbalah: "The falls of our life provide the energy to propel ourselves to a much higher level." God has never created a storm that lasts forever, and despite the darkness of the most menacing storm clouds, the sun is always shining somewhere. The challenge becomes adjusting one’s perception of events enough to recognize the presence of God within the experience. In doing so, we must look beyond what the mind wants to judge as good or bad. After all, peace is not in finding yourself without any conflict or strife. Peace is the actual experiencing of God’s presence especially when your life appears to be unavoidably in turmoil.

I have found that rather than mourning adversities and becoming victimized by them, I am much better off wanting instead to be grateful for them, embracing and accepting them as gifts from God, knowing that within them lie important lessons that can promote my spiritual development. The difficulties we face can be a source of strength, enabling us to rise above perceived adversity. Accepting that idea, I am deserving of the heartache. I am worthy of the difficult lessons God has given me. The question then becomes not "Why me?", but "Why not me?" It’s all in changing the thought, changing your perspective and changing your outlook. The choice is simple; become the victim, licking your wounds while resisting. This will result in turmoil, pain and immense suffering or you can transcend above the quagmire, choosing instead to be accepting of the noble gift.

The key is to exalt in the falls of your life; Embrace them! For they offer us the situation to transform, giving us the springboard to rise above the chaos, distress and anguish, transcending to the place where understanding, growth, enlightenment and yes, complete healing occur.

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