flowerI read some staggering statistics yesterday.

50% of commercials aimed at girls spoke about physical attractiveness.

Each year, the average adolescent sees over 5,260 advertisements mentioning attractiveness.

Four out of five women in the US are dissatisfied with their appearance.

This astounded me: 80% of the female population is unhappy with the way they look.  This means that more than ¾ of US women are trying to change something about themselves-striving to lose weight, buying new clothes, wearing more makeup, changing their body, etc-all in order to be satisfied with their appearance. I shockingly thought to myself: when did being pretty, attractive, and thin become the goal we long to achieve? When did wanting to be attractive supersede wanting to be a smart, conscientious, caring, driven, independent woman?

How much time and energy have we spent on trying to tone our bodies, lose extra flab, tighten our stomachs, zap away our zits, buy new clothes…all in the hopes of being thinner, prettier, and more attractive? Our society’s obsession with physical appearance has caused us to care far more about looking good than working to be a loving mother, a kinder person, or a successful business woman.

What if we honored women for their achievements, their dreams, their desires and hopes? What if we stopped evaluating women based on size and appearance, and instead chose to see the qualities that make each of us unique? We can begin to view women, including ourselves, for who we are on the inside. It is not the size of our body or the attractiveness of our face that make us who we are. It is when we peel back the physical layers to see the richness of the spirit-THAT is who we really are.

Next time you find yourself judging a woman by her size or physical appearance, catch yourself in the moment. Can you just notice? Observe without judging.  Notice the variety in different body shapes and sizes. The endless assortment of hair colors and styles. The beauty and individuality each woman brings to the earth.  Imagine her as a mother, a sister, a daughter. She is you. And you are her. We all have the same fears, thoughts and worries.  Starting with ourselves, we can begin to create a culture where 4 out of 5 woman ARE satisfied with their selves. Because when we decide to make our appearance come second to cultivating creativity, passions, intelligence, and inner radiance, that self-satisfaction and appreciation arises naturally from within.