Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - Love the skin you're in

Corporate America is awash with stupid people. They all think they know what the average person wants. And that's where they get in trouble.

I don't really know any "average" people. I know people who be described by nothing less than half a thesaurus full of adjectives. Those run the gamut from intelligent to evil to dutiful to fun to nefarious to awesome.

What they are really saying is, "We hope that we have dumbed this down enough, because frankly we think you are obtuse." (Wait that's a big word for a corporate suit, let's try - dumb.)

The ads get slicker, the production quality has risen and some have become mini-movies. But still the mentality that we aren't buying their products because the model isn't thin enough or a man's abs aren't tight enough, just shows how out of touch they are. Maybe your product is just crap.

That's why, last year when they launched it, Dove surprised me with their "Campaign for Real Beauty". The women in the ads were everything from thin to borderline obese, but they were real. And all of them were beautiful for one reason - they weren't apologizing for being themselves.

Now, not only do they have the print campaign that sells skin care products, they have an entire website dedicated to self-esteem. The site covers women, but it also reaches out to girls and the women willing to mentor them. The goal is to nurture their minds so that their view of their bodies doesn't define them.

I know Dove's foundation they have set-up to do this world-wide isn't truly self-less, they expect to make a buck. But what they are proposing is something every woman, every person should embrace - be yourself and like it.

It took over a year of losing weight to get me to that point of acceptance. It wasn't the pounds that were holding me back, it was my lack of self-respect. You can't like someone, (even yourself) if you don't respect them. Without self-respect, there is no self-esteem.

One of Dove's projects is sending presentation kits out to volunteers who are willing to take a training and then go out to teach 8-12 year old girls about self-esteem. As I sat wondering, "Where was this when I was young and awkward?" I realized, I have to do it. So, I signed up.

I haven't seen the kit yet, it's coming in 8-12 weeks, but I have a pretty fair idea of what it might have in it. It's the kind of things my mother used to say to me about my abilities and appearance. Only she was my mom, so I thought she HAD to say those things. If a woman had stepped up from outside my family and reassured me, it might have made a difference. And it might not. But why not try?

Since I have learned to love the skin I'm in - mentally and physically - I think it's time to share my growth and probably grow some more from doing so.

Yours in (mental) health, Kate

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