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How To Let Go

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posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 11:16 PM
I just want to thank everyone for their deeply thoughtful posts. Every single one was heartfelt and genuine and I am deeply appreciative that everyone took the time to write such personal responses. I literally have tears in my eyes after reading all of them. Thank you all so much. I'm going to take the time to get back to all of them.

edit: yes, I did take up the entire second page with my replies

[edit on 7/20/2008 by sc2099]

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 11:27 PM
reply to post by stellawayten

stella, when I read where you wanted me to go out with no makeup I actually grimmaced (LOL). I don't wear makeup around the house and if I have to run an errand and don't have time to put any on I will go without it. But I readily admit that I want to shrink into myself in public without that mask. You're absolutely right about it being embarassing. I don't even want to look people in the eye.

I have tried your exercise of looking in the mirror with no makeup and affirming that I am a great person no matter what I look like. This much I believe, but when I get to the part where I say that I am beautiful without all the makeup, etc. then I just can't believe it. I feel I'm deluding myself and I just feel silly.

I defintitely agree that part of my self worth is tied to my perception of my own beauty. And I know it's exactly the wrong thing to hitch it to. That's part of why I made this thread.

Thank you so much for the helpful respponse and I'm glad you escaped the 'beauty trap'.

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 11:41 PM
reply to post by Orion Crystal Ice

Orion, please feel free to rant at will. I was really hoping to get mens' opinions on this as well as womens' so your thoughts are most welcome.

I definitely agree with your assessment of the modern juxtaposition of fact and opinion as if they are one in the same. To me the media portrayal of beauty is baiscally legislation of what beauty is. It's so hard to fight that bombardment of media and cash that most of us just end up giving in and trying to live up to their standard, myself included.

I also understand what you mean about every man having to 'foot the bill' for his gender and atone for all the cheating exes, wife beaters, and absent fathers out there. We all belong to some group that is still paying for transgressions both past and present, real and percieved. I used to drive for a living and endured plenty of 'women driver' jokes, haha. Rest assured, my makeup is safely on my face before I leave the house.

Your point about the bastardization of masculinity and femininity really speaks to me as well. Lots of people have problems today with men being men. There's actually a thread about it in the Gen. Con. forum. To me, the media portrayal of beauty plays into this because what is the modern beautiful woman if not boyish? The actresses and models dangled before us have no breasts, no hips, and I can count their ribs - front and back. There's nothing womanly about that.

Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 11:59 PM
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

Illusions, kudos to you for being a woman in a man's world. I too have worked in a male dominated field before and I am about to enter yet another one. In some ways it's not easy, but in others it is so rewarding and I thrive on the challenge

You're right about the womens' mags and tv shows. I know they don't do anything at all to help my self image. I once heard the average woman feels bad about her appearance within 15 seconds of cracking a fashion magazine and I totally believe it. Part of my problem though is I do love fashion for fashion's sake. I love to get dressed up and put on makeup. I love shopping and being stylish. My problem is that I feel I have to, or else. It stops being fun stops being fun.

I just want to point out that I am not a jealous person, at all. If I see someone who has something I want, I am happy for them. I aspire to have it, not take it from them. So if I see a woman I think is beautiful I am happpy for her. If a girl has a killer pair of shoes on I will not hesitate to complement.

Thank you so much for the thoughtful response and for sharing the story of your childhood. I also know what it feels like to be discriminated against. While I had a family who loved me it was not a traditional family, and I too was given the snake eye every single day. Today it's cool to have a Latin complexion; when I was a kid in the early 90s it sure wasn't.

It is important to think of those less fortunate. I think that is what keeps my 'preoccupation' from becoming an obsession. When it starts to get ridiculous I ask myself how I'd like to have a horrific scar with a horrific story to match rather than whatever problems I think I have.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 12:22 AM
reply to post by dunwichwitch

Hi, dunwichwitch. Thank you for your heartfelt and personal post. I remember reading about your jaw issue on another thread and my heart went out to you then as it does now. I am glad that you will be able to get it treated soon and I hope it opens up a lot of new doors for you. Your opinion certainly does matter to this woman (and the others at ATS, I am sure

I can't pretend to know what it feels like to have my humanity called into question by my appearance, and I am so sorry that you have had that experience. I definitely agree with your assessment of 'tv ugly'. What a joke. I can't stand how tabloids print the worst pics they can find of celebrities, as if famous people aren't allowed to have cellulite, and god forbid anyone who has cellulite be allowed near a beach. I'd be lying if I said I didn't thumb through the pics in the checkout line though. Yes, I realise my own hypocrisy.

You're right. It is a fantasy world for most people where if you don't look a certain way you don't deserve to exist there. The only people who think that way are horrible knobs, which is why I question my sanity when I acknowledge that these are the same people who would look down on me for not looking perfect. I know I shouldn't care yet it still hurts. I can imagine that for you the pain of dirty looks and s'n-word's is so much worse because you know the people dishing it out are the worst among us, yet it is still hurtful.

I love your comment about the real real world, the real world where we only have our bodies and our wits to keep us alive. It is definitely something I will remember to keep priorities in order.

We are so much more than this body, and we're just a few million celebrity faces, beauty product and beer commercials away from realizing it.

I'm in agreement. I'm so sick of it as well, which is why I want to unplug myself from the beauty matrix. Seeing that Bud commercial with a bus full of hotties 4 times during a tv show doesn't make me want to drink Bud; it makes me want to cry. That was a great way to put it.

And one more quote.

It's one hell of a tough illusion to get past.

That's all I'm saying and that's why I made this thread. Thanks for your help. I promise I wasn't offended by anything you said.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 12:33 AM
reply to post by dizziedame

dizzie, good on you for being able to shake off that obsession with superficial beauty. I'm from the South too and I know how a lady just doesn't feel complete without a tan down there, haha!

Thank you for sharing your obsession about your family. Lots of parents and grandparents never come close to admitting they feel that way so you're already doing better than them.

I loved what you said about getting painted up to attract men and scare off other women - LOL. So true. The only man I'm trying to attract is my husband but I wouldn't turn down a smile from a handsome stranger

You also said

Learning to live without putting on a false front is mind altering.

and that is what I'm after here, a mind altering experience. I don't want to hinge my self confidence on my looks, which are at their peak now, or may have possibly peaked around age 17-18 according to some (it's like oil, we just don't know).

It is so ridiculous to feel like a bum if I'm not dressed up. I'm still the same intelligent, well read, creative, hard working, uxorious, loving, kind, funny, conspiracy theorist and animal lover on the inside. If you want to know the truth, I have always wished so much that I didn't need makeup. I would gladly toss it all in the trash if I felt I looked as pretty without it.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.

[edit on 7/20/2008 by sc2099]

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 12:45 AM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

I totally understand what you mean about putting something 'presentable' over my real face. The truth is I feel like my real face just isn't presentable outside of home. It might sound nuts, but I'm a lot more accepting of myself today than I was in middle school, or high school, or college. Haha, I feel if I could look now like I did then I would be really happy so it makes me wonder a) why was I so down on myself then and b) could it be possible that I really do look fine now? That is what I am striving to find out. That is what I really want to know.

If I really do look good now I want to enjoy it now, not look back on pictures in the future and ask what I was so upset about. So I try to look at my face when I pass a mirror and like it, and I try to look at my body and like it. Am I succeeding? I have no idea. Some days are better than others.

Thanks for your candid response.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 12:59 AM

Originally posted by Sonya610

Originally posted by sc2099
I honestly can't imagine what it would be like to be satisfied about that aspect of myself since I haven't been since childhood. I guess the reward would be that people would view me in a positive light.

I do hope the op does not take this in the wrong way, but its not about “advertising” or makeup or fashion or looking perfect; its about worrying what other people think of you. Your statement above reflects that. You live in a world where you constantly feel on stage, you worry how people see you, if another woman is around you worry she is seen as prettier etc…

No offense taken, Sonya. You're right, I do feel that people are looking at me very negatively if I'm not wearing my 'mask'. It probably seems like I am just ridiculously conceited to everyone, but truly I'm just ridiculously self-conscious. I guess I worry that if I'm not looking my best that I will lose out on something in life, that people won't like me, that it will reflect poorly on my husband.

When you meet people focus on saying something that will make them feel good about themselves. When you see another woman that you suspect might be prettier or better dressed, give her a sincere compliment and give her the gift of an ego boost.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. I love to make people feel good and nothing does that like a good compliment. Telling someone you like their outfit or that they have a great hairstyle can really make a person's day; I know it would make mine. Believe me, I like to keep that positivity flowing.

By doing that you are changing your flow of energy, instead of being a black hole that is trying to suck up all of the energy in the room you are giving what you want so much to others; you are giving them approval and a little boost. Believe me people will like you for that too.

Now you're really making me sound conceited! J/ks...I won't lie. I love the attention that comes with being attractive. But I definitely won't maneuver with anyone for that spotlight. It just feels nice when people give you the positive reinforcement that comes from looking pretty. People don't usually hold the door for someone who looks bad; they just get ignored.

Also as the poster above mentioned, it does become less of a focus as we get older. As women mature we start to care less what others think. We start thinking more about what makes us happy and don’t live in the eyes of the masses.

I think this has to do with not having a choice in the matter. We get old no matter what so it's best just to accept it. If we could look young until we died I think there would be a lot less acceptance by women, haha.

Thanks, Sonya, for the thought-provoking response.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 01:00 AM
Letting go takes time. It takes pendulum swings back and forth to find the comfortable place for that issue to settle. I have dealt with this issue, like most women. We do compare ourselves, but it can be a useful tool. If you see someone you think is beautiful, you might want to add a certain element of that to your own life. Say you walk by someone while shopping and they smell good. So you tell them so, and ask what it is they are wearing. If it is enjoyable to you you may wear that perfume for a while. Or you see an outfit that looks like something you might like, you buy one similar.
But, if you do it for any other reason than something you want to experience, you may just be trying on a different you for a while, eventually going back to what is comfortable. I was not into fashion while I was in my teens. When I got to college, I discovered it for the first time. ( I was from a small town, with not much selection to choose from) I arrived in College with my jeans and cowboy boots, and had never heard of argyle and penny loafers. I tried fashion from then on, and I must say I looked pretty good and was a trend setter. I was attractive in those years, and attracted men that appreciated that kind of thing. I spent a lot of time in front of the mirror too. I acquired a large collection of all things "beauty". I modeled for Nordstrom, had a lot of jealous encounters with women, hung around with the beautiful people. Worked in a tanning salon. Drove a nice car. blah blah blah. I dated shallow men that weren't interested in what I had to say. I chose those men because they appreciated my so called "style". Then I married one of them.
I became increasingly unhappy with my "materialistic" situation. He did not like the friends I chose because they didn't fit in the pretty picture. He wanted to hang around the people with money and status. We owned a car dealership together, had a boat, a nice house etc. I left him when my first daughter was born. He was upset that I had gotten pregnant, after trying for years. He acted like he wanted them to appease me. When I suddenly became pregnant all things changed.
The idea of having a child changed me. I wanted something totally different for her. Something real and meaningful. I wanted my daughter to have a good father. Something I lacked as a child. My father is a doctor who is all about beauty and status as well, and left my mother for a younger nurse. There is a lot more to this story, but i don't want to bore everyone.
I dated frustratingly for 8 years as a single mom, (had some fun along the way) never meeting anyone who fit my ideals. I was still attracting men who wanted sex and superficial beauty. Then I gave up and concentrated on a little cottage I bought, that was my grandmother's. I devoted myself to my daughter. I stopped wearing "fashionable" stuff, and it was comfortable for me. I had a problem with cysts in my face. I went to a mad plastic surgeon who cut up one side of my face when I had asked for a couple removals. He bound my arms and began cutting more than I had asked for. When I asked why he said "they had to come out". They got infected and healed open. I went back to him to have the stitches removed and the cuts had healed open. I cried in the office at what I looked like. The nurse kicked the door shut behind him when he said there was nothing more he could do for me. She called him a "#ing asshole". I was horrified, angry, frustrated, scared. My looks had been taken from me. It took me a really long time to get over it. A year or two went by before I could get the courage to go back to another plastic surgeon to have it fixed. He fixed it as best he could. This time he gave me antibiotics to keep it from getting infected. He wanted to do some more work to help it, but I have never gone back.
But to end the story, I finally met the nicest man I have ever known. He is extremely handsome. He looked past my scars, my issues, my fears, and went ahead and loved me anyway. My scars may have been the only reason I began being more myself, focused more on my personality instead of my looks, looked for people who liked me based on real reasons and not for the superficial ones. It was a hard lesson, and I still don't like looking in the mirror. But in those moments when I forget, I feel like I am pretty again. It is all in the mind, feeling beautiful is something that comes from within.

This was very hard for me to write.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 01:08 AM
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

Oh Illusions, Thank you for such a sweet reply. I had tears in my eyes from reading the others but this one almost sent me over the edge. And thank you so much for the lovely compliments. The feeling is mutual.

Haha, I wouldn't lynch you for calling me superficial and shallow. I know how I must look after posting all this. I probably seem a conceited, whiny brat, which is why I was hesitant to post after I typed up the OP. But oh well, people will either like me or they won't, right?
There's more to me than this and it is evident to people who wish to see it. Yes, I realize the irony...

I would say that it is very important for you to give others the chance to like you for yourself. I bet more people do than you realize.

Thank you for that vote of confidence. Perhaps you are right and I only need to give others the chance. I guess that's what I'm doing by posting this thread. I'm laying it out there. If I can take this baby step online maybe I will be able to accomplish something similar in real life. Funny how it all comes full circle.

Thanks again everyone for the wonderfully supportive, thought provoking, and sincere replies.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 01:26 AM
I can relate to what you are experiencing, as I used to go through it too (and still do fall victim to it occasionaly).

For me, the first step started by getting rid of "fluff" magazines that deal with celebrities and such. I will still read them if I'm in a doctor's office, or getting my hair done, but I no longer subscribe to them. Therefore I am not tempted to have to have the "it" item of the moment because I am not constantly staring at it.

The less you compare yourself to other women (and imparticular gorgeous super models that have all been air-brushed) the better off you'll be.

Start doing things for YOU. Don't dress in what you think a guy finds sexy, etc. Don't choose a dress in a style because you know your bff would love it. Choose clothes that YOU really like, regardless of if they are the trend of the moment. If you like them and feel comfortable in them, that's all that should matter. I think everyone admires an individual that doesn't follow the herd. So stand out in a crowd, or blend in, but do it for you--not anyone else.

Meditation can help you get to a place of self awareness. It has helped me. I realize now what is important in life. It is not the stuff we have, but what is inside you and the actions you take and the decisions you make.

Step back from yourself and be mindful. Act as a witness to your behavior and ask yourself WHY you are doing these things. Be honest with yourself.

It takes time, but with practice and mindfullness and of course the WANTING to change, it can be done.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 01:35 AM
reply to post by seagrass

Good advice to adopt things for ourselves that we like in others. Comparison is not always a bad thing, you're right, because like you said it can be very useful. We need not only look to our friends for insight, but also our competitors and even our enemies. After all, if no one ever copied anyone else we'd all still be living in caves.

Argyle and penny loafers? Girl that must have been the 80s LOL!! I don't care what anyone says, I still love argyle.

Your story is so deeply personal and thank you for sharing it with us. I know what you mean, it is so easy to get wrapped up. If you get into that 'in' crowd, you're just happy to be there and don't spend much time analyizing until later on. And isn't it strange how you ended up with the same type of man as your father? We really can draw unto ourselves that which we least want.

And then the dating. You couldn't pay me to go back to dating now, but as a single mom? It's like a moot point. And then your face. I honestly don't even know what to say. I want to say I'm sorry but it sounds like I'm offering pity when I'm not; I admire you. You have some brass ones kid to keep pushing through life.

But here is my favorite part of the story.

I finally met the nicest man I have ever known. He is extremely handsome. He looked past my scars, my issues, my fears, and went ahead and loved me anyway.

Wow. You deserve it. It's hard to believe that things like that do happen. Thanks for proving to all of us that they definitely do. I think it's important to mention, though, that he loved you but that you also allowed him to love you, which is not something you can do if you're not comfortable with yourself. I'm glad for your happy ending.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 01:48 AM
Hell yeah it was in the 80's, and I have pix of my big hair to prove it. I call it My Madonna Years.

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 02:18 AM
i have very much enjoyed reading this thread, kudos OP.

new perspective.

my sense of self is very much tied to my music. with a degree in songwriting and a decade of production experience, i still have difficulty creating what i feel is "valid". so i hide it. very few people get to listen to my work.

this relates to the OP's sense of beauty in that, all of my efforts are in order to create externally what i know to be true internally. i am a wonderful musician, and i know this to be true. but until there is equanimity between my internal and external state, i will never be satisfied.

additionally, during the highest moments of my life i have always gotten the distinct feeling that "everything is as it should be."

dont worry too much....or not enough. but know that "everything is as it should be."


posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 10:58 AM

Originally posted by sc2099

Originally posted by Sonya610

Also as the poster above mentioned, it does become less of a focus as we get older. As women mature we start to care less what others think. We start thinking more about what makes us happy and don’t live in the eyes of the masses.

I think this has to do with not having a choice in the matter. We get old no matter what so it's best just to accept it. If we could look young until we died I think there would be a lot less acceptance by women, haha.

LOL..I didn't mean we stopped caring "cause we are over 35, shriveled and so hideously unattractive there is no point in trying". I meant we literally stop caring so much what strangers think. It's a hormonal thing, our hormones change when we hit 30 or so, and our insecurities change too.

For instance if I go to the grocery store to buy cat food I don’t care what the strangers at the store think, I don’t care if I have minimal makeup on and am wearing a baggy tshirt. I do not have any reason to impress them. Now on date, or in a business environment, yes attractiveness does matter.

But the strangers at the grocery store; I don’t know them, I will probably never see them again, or develop any sort of relationship with them, their opinion means nothing to me.

[edit on 20-7-2008 by Sonya610]

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 03:35 PM
reply to post by sc2099

Being a woman aging in our society is hard. Being a beautiful woman aging in our society is hard to the point that it is a personal challenge that must be met with thought, care and a concerted effort not only to not lose your sense of self, but to grow as a person in the face of the inevitable, namely the passing of the beauty that the world so strongly identifies you with.

I made a very lucrative living from 13-30 that centered around my personal appearance, and wielded an unreasonable amount of power because of my looks. I also knew by 15 that both the beauty and power assosciated with it was going to be a trasnsitory thing and it was more important to be ready for its demise than to revel in it and grow accustomed to it. In my field there were ample exaples of unhappy women -- women who had no reason for the amount of despair and delusion they foisted on themselves -- simply because they could not, would not or did not prepare themselves psychologically, and in the actual fact of how they constructed their lives, for the reality that time passes, things change and change needs to be embraced, not denied.

It sounds like you are a beauty in your late-20's who is asking herself the right questions at a good time, but may be resisting what keeps being presented to you (and what you are literally asking about, i.e. already know) which is that you are going to have to 'let go' of so strongly identifying yourself with your appearance and youthful looks or you may well end up wasting a lot of pointless emotional energy in the near future.

There have been many thoughtful and constructive suggestions about how to begin to embrace the beauty of being 'yourself' in this thread, but if you cannot get your head around your value outside of, and exclusive of, your appearance they're not going to be of much help. There is no reason to despair aging if you have constructed a life for yourself that is about who you are, not what you look like.

On a lighter note, there is lots of 'hotness' after 35... trust me. And try to remember that having a birthday is always better then the alternative

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 06:55 PM
This stuff doesnt require words imo, but emotional processing. If you wanna try this meditation Im writing for you, you might want to speak it on tape or mp3 and then listen to it while lying down

Lie down, close your eyes and come to rest. Breathe softly and just lie until you are at peace and need nothing. Gently spread your attention through your body, feel your body, breathe with your body. If you notice pockets or resistance or tension, relax into them and release them with the outbreathe. Go on like this for a minute or three.

Feel/Imagine/Remember (any of these three is fine) your not-perfect-self...the part of you you put down, critisize, label as "ugly" and "not good enough". (Optional Energizer: Put your left hand to your heart-region and your right hand on your forehead, gently and lovingly). Feel the pressure and expectation you bestow upon yourself. Feel the pressure and expectation others bestow upon you. Feel the expectation and pressure society bestows upon you. Relax. Notice pockets of resistance, breathe into them, relax them. Seeing your "ugly"-self lying there, whisper: "Im sorry". Take a deep breathe. Whisper: "I forgive you". Take a deep breathe. Whisper: "I love you". Take a deep breathe. Whisper: "Thank you".

Next, merge with this "not-perfect" version of yourself, release any misgivings or resistance you have and fully and totally embrace her. Breathe with her. Be with her. Love her. Accept her. Imagine you are going to be her for the rest of your life and there is absolutely nothing you can change about it. So might as well fully accept her.

Once you feel well and accept yourself as you are either take a short break or switch over to Feel/Remember/Imagine the most beautiful, attractive, shining, powerful version of yourself. Imagine this beautiful version of yourself lying beside you in the bed.

Realize that since you are preoccupied with wanting to be her, you are not her. If you could fully merge with her and be her, you would not constantly be preoccupied with her. Therefore, once you have a good impression of what she is like and what she looks like, roll over with your body and take in her position. Merge with her. Be her. Breathe as her. See as her. You are not looking AT her but AS her. Feel what it feels like to be fully merged and identified with her. Create an inner smile at being her.

Next: Being her you no longer need to concentrate, so let go of feeling/remembering/imagining her, let go of trying to be her and just relax as your normal self.

This is to be repeated at least three times in the next few weeks. Alternatively you can have both selves merge at the end of the meditation.

posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 02:52 PM
reply to post by sc2099

I think of it this way: beauty is overrated .

Some of the prettiest people I’ve know are the cruelest. Do I dress up occasionally, dye and straighten my hair, and try to be hygienic? Yes. That’s about as far as I’m willing to go with my vanity. Recently I’ve been loosing weight, but only because I want to be in a healthy range and because I’m 5’ 3” a few extra pounds cam make a big difference. I also want to be able to run and exercise like I did when I was in my ideal weight range.

For the most part I’m more interested in working on my flaws that do not affect my appearance. I’m more interested in the way I interact with or treat others. I’m more interested in becoming someone who can reinforce the way they want to change the world.

I get obsessive about things but I realized a long time ago that being beauty obsessed isn’t worth it. Everyone has a different idea of what beauty is, luckily I’m okay with the way I look and have learned I don’t have to be movie star pretty or model pretty for others to love me or find me attractive.

posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 02:59 PM
reply to post by rapinbatsisaltherage

Thanks for the response, rb.

You say that beauty is overrated and that makes me wonder: is it really? Is beauty and all the privileges that go with it really overrated? I'm not so sure...otherwise, would some women really devote so much time to a useless enterprise?

I love what you said about improving flaws that have nothing to do with appearance. We could all stand to learn from this example. I'm really glad you have the confidence to not need all the accoutrements of beauty to make you feel lovable and attractive. That's what I'm striving towards.

posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 03:05 PM
you are the ORIGIONAL IDIVIDUAL, your unique, theres only one of u, be proud of who u are and how u look, after all, theres nobody quite like u on this earth.
nobody even comes close.

[edit on 30-7-2008 by crystal_maze]

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