The Real You
By Steve Goodier
One woman describes herself as "Five feet, three inches tall and
pleasingly plump." After she had a minor accident, her mother
accompanied her to the hospital emergency room. The admitting
nurse asked for her height and weight, and she blurted out,
"Five-foot- eight, 125 pounds."
The nurse pondered over this information and looked over the
patient. Then the woman's mother leaned over to her and gently
chided, "Sweetheart, this is not the Internet."
If you could change your appearance in life as easily as you can
make one up on the Internet, would you remake yourself? It's
tempting to think so. We live in an age when most of us are
increasingly dissatisfied with our bodies. We want liposuction,
face lifts, tummy tucks, silicon implants and cosmetic surgery -
too often for no other reason than to look like someone else!
And don't think I am only talking about women. Men too place
great emphasis on their bodies. Studies show that in 1972, one in
six men didn't like their appearance; today, almost 50% of men
surveyed reported being unhappy with their looks.
Of course, our bodies keep changing. I have less hair on top than
twenty years ago. An older man who happens to be bald looked at
my head recently and said, "It looks like you go to the same
barber as I do."
According to the book THE ADONIS COMPLEX (The Free Press, 2000),
more and more men are feeling insecure about their appearance. In
1996, over 700,000 men had some cosmetic surgery - often in an
unhealthy attempt to fix a perceived flaw that nobody else
noticed. Eating disorders and steroid abuse are common among
The book's authors Harrison Pope, Katharine Phillips, and Robert
Olivardia did an experiment in which men were asked to take a
computer image of an ordinary man and add muscle mass to him
until he was the size these men wanted to be. On average, the men
packed about 28 more pounds of muscle mass on the computer image;
women, on the other hand, only added a negligible amount of
muscles to the image to create their ideal guy.
Poet Khalil Gibran said, "Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a
light in the heart." When you and I choose to believe that our
most attractive qualities lie within, we can let go of those
unrealistic expectations of our bodies.
Let's care for our bodies; we'll keep them for the rest of our
lives. Let's be thankful for them and treat them well.
But remember, the real you, the essence of you, cannot be
improved by a bottle or a pill or a salon. It is a beautiful and
glorious light shining from your heart to the heart of the world.
Cherish the real you - it's pretty terrific. And let it shine
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