The Simple Secret to the Perfect Body

The girls on television stare back at us, perfectly placed shadow enhances their eyes, lashes bat effortlessly. Their skin is flawless, every inch a perfect display of artistry.

Women on the screen in tight-fitting gowns, every muscle toned, every piece of their body perfectly tan, skin that glows beneath the sun.

Men with bulging arms, shirt buttons threatening to pop. Neatly trimmed beards. Incredible blue eyes.

We watch them. We see them with jealous eyes. Then we turn to ourselves, and wonder why we aren’t the same. Our skin is crinkled, damaged, not like the ones on the screen. The bodies on the screen are smooth, we are scarred; they are perfect, we are blemished.

There’s a simple secret to those perfect bodies and that flawless skin, and I’m going to share it with you. But before I do, I want you to do something. Make two lists. In the first one, list five things you don’t like about yourself. In the second list, list five things you do. (The second one is harder, isn’t it?) Done? Okay, let’s discover the secret.

The secret to the perfect body and beautiful skin? It’s this: It’s a lie. It’s all One Big Fat Lie.

Because the truth is, every girl on the screen, every woman behind the make-up counter, every man with the perfect beard, is a fabrication, a deception, a lie based on lies.

Those men and women are camouflaged, masked behind bandages and lighting, hidden behind insecurities as deep as yours and mine. And the ones in the real world? Get close, get personal. Look at their faces, layers of colors and chemicals mask their skin, a beauty invented by society.

Society, consumerism, wants us to believe we are not perfect the way we are.

And you know what? It’s true. None of us is perfect. Not one. Even the girl on the screen, she has a crooked nose, misshapen eyes, uneven toes, knocked knees.

We all have imperfections, some we were born with, some we created through decades in our lives. And each of us is insecure about them.

Because we’ve been fed a line, by ads that tell us we are not good enough, by Hollywood that claims we should all be free of jiggly arms, sagging skin, wrinkly faces.

But the fact is. We are flawed. I am flawed. You are flawed. So beautifully, wonderfully, amazingly flawed.

So I think it’s time we celebrate. I think it’s time we lay our imperfections out for all the world to see. Let the world see us as we are, scars that tell our stories, wrinkles that fill the chapters of our lives.

It’s time to fight, for the right to be imperfect, because no matter what we do, how many creams we rub across our faces, how many sit-ups, push-ups, or weights we lift, we will never, ever, achieve perfection.

Perfectionism doesn’t exist.

So celebrate.

Celebrate your flaws.

Beautiful imperfections.

Perfectly perfect scars.

Celebrate the crooked ear,

The one eye that sits lower than the other.

Celebrate thin lips and crow’s feet.

Celebrate you.

Wonderfully made.

Scraped.

Bruised.

Tattered.

Torn.

Beautiful, damaged self.

Remember the lists? I’m not going to tell you to tear up the first, because that’s where your life lies – that’s where your story lives. Tape the first page next to the second, right on that mirror you look at first thing in the morning. Be happy about your second, but celebrate the first. You are a perfect imperfection, a beautifully flawed creature. And you, my dear, have many stories to tell.

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Consumerism – An Age-Old Problem

Consumerism has been around for many years, from the first department store that opened in London in 1796, to the eight-floor department store built on a full city block in New York in 1862, to the mega malls we have today.

In the early 1900s, advertising stepped in, and in the 1920s, we were offered our first credit cards.

During World War II, we were taught, briefly, to be frugal. And when that was over, we were told to buy and consume. Since then, we haven’t stopped.

People that lived before us warned about a society of over-consumption, but we have failed to listen.

Confucius once said, “The Master said, ‘A true gentleman is one who has set his heart upon the Way. A fellow who is ashamed merely of shabby clothing or modest meals is not even worth conversing with.’ ”

Ghandi told us, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”

And E.B. White stated, “To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year.”

My favorite quote is the following, “I think the enemy is here before us…I think the enemy is simple selfishness and compulsive greed… I think he stole our earth from us, destroyed our wealth, and ravaged and despoiled our land.” –Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t go Home Again, 1949

I think Wolfe is right, the enemy lives among us. He has destroyed our planet, taken our money, turned us into green-eyed monsters. He is sucking the life out of every creature.

Maybe it’s time we listen to the wise words of those who walked before us. Maybe it’s time for a change.

Consumerism won’t go away, after all, we need certain things to survive. But this excessive, compulsive shopping is getting out of hand. It’s time to stop, let go of what we don’t need, and cling to what we do. When we stop the insane spending, the constant consuming, we will find benefits we never knew existed. We will find benefits of a life with less. Like these:

1. Time with family.
2. Time for ourselves.
3. Time to volunteer.
4. Less time cleaning.
5. Less time organizing.
6. Less money spent.
7. More money for vacation.
8. More money for retirement.

Let’s use consumerism for what it was intended – to meet our needs. Let’s cut the shopping, and stop the enemy, before he stops us.

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