The Big Secret

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Let me tell you a secret. It’s something that cosmetics companies don’t want you to know, and retailers hope you never find out, and the diet industry assumes you’ll never believe. But I’m gonna spill the beans anyway:

There is nothing wrong with you.

You are gorgeous and glorious and goddesslike right now, today, just as you are. You don’t need a lick of makeup, or a pair of Spanx, or towering platform heels. You don’t need Botox or the 30-day Shred or Nice ‘N’ Easy to cover those grays. You don’t need Louboutins, or taupe nail polish, or whatever trend is gonna be trendy for the next seven seconds. If you WANT any of those things, then by all means go for ’em. Every sentient human being is entitled to make choices. But you are utterly complete and undeniably marvelous without them.

As Eleanor Roosevelt is oft-quoted as saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And why the hell would you consent to THAT? Yes, there are larger forces at work and it can be hard to remember to love ourselves in the face of all that body-bashing racket. And yes, the global definition of beauty needs revision to include some actual diversity. And yes, it would be easier to believe that there’s nothing wrong with us if people would stop telling us and selling us all of our inexcusable “flaws.”

But belief is a choice. So choose to fight harder.

Start with yourself when it comes to transforming standards of beauty. Train yourself to evaluate the body messages that come in, and disregard the ones that don’t apply. Take some responsibility for how you feel about yourself. It’s not called self-image for nothing: SELF is at the center. Anything you can do for others is stellar, marvelous, above-and-beyond. But this battle starts at home, inside your own head. And you do have the power to accept or deny the messages that get fed into that gorgeous cranium.

You believed in the Tooth Fairy once, and Santa. You believed that your parents weren’t people, they were parents, and regular-person rules didn’t apply to them. You believed your heart was shattered for good, and you’d never love again. But you learned, you grew, you changed, and your beliefs changed with you.

It’s time to outgrow the belief that we are somehow inferior because we don’t look a certain way, wear certain things, live certain lives. It’s time to laugh it off when a magazine tells us we need to firm up and slim down, no matter how firm or slim we might already be. It’s time to focus on ourselves, as we are, instead of the selves that somebody else thinks we should be.

Because the secret is out: There is nothing wrong with us. Not a single, solitary thing.

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  • Cal

    This is my favorite post of yours ever. Love it.

  • eek

    Your blog entry really just made my day! You are so right…I really don't need a Gucci bag to be fabulous…I already am fabulous (the Gucci just helps!)! Have a fantastic Tuesday!

  • Lesa

    I love this post. I was just thinking this weekend that i should stop reading all my gossipy magazines like people with all the size 2 people. And also take on the mindset that mags like InStyle are just for clothing ideas and try really hard not to get into the body image hype. Because, quite honestly I have fallen for every trap and I want OUT!

  • Vanessa

    So true, Sal. I really love this post. It's just so inspiring πŸ™‚

  • Associate Girl

    This post is pure lovely. I think that every magazine cover should come with the pre-airbrushed picture too so that girls and women understand what is real. I wear my laugh lines with pride – evidence of good times. Thanks for this post today.

  • Melanie

    Dear Sal,

    You Rock!! Great message. Again!!

  • Bianca

    That's simply wonderful.

  • H. Brown

    thank you so much, sally! what a great read to start off my day!

  • Mo

    Thank you Sal! This is just what I needed today!

  • LENORENEVERMORE

    Thank you Sal!
    I never believed in Santa, he smells like pee…I guess all the toddlers urinate on his laps! ha*

  • Angela Pea

    Whaaaa! Now I'm sitting here at my desk crying. And that stinks because I have a staff meeting in 16 minutes.

    I have worked really, really hard at instilling this concept in my daughters. I think it worked, but stuffed deep down inside I know that I am sadly lacking in self esteem myself. It's a daily battle in my head.

    I'm actually printing this one on paper and plastering the bathroom mirror with it.

  • Janet S.

    Amen! I realized long ago that the message from "women's" magazines was "you're fat, you have bad hair, and you don't know how to dress". I also realized that if they ever actually helped readers fix those problems, readers would no longer need the magazines. So, I decided there was no point in reading their advice. It's a whole lot easier to appreciate myself without consuming a bunch of negative messages.

  • Trinity

    Hear! Hear!

  • Make Do Style

    Of course not!! I always believe that.

  • A.D

    Most excellent. Thank you!

  • Elle

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • poodletail

    … big sigh …

  • Sabrina

    Amazing post and so true!

    The Eleanor Roosevelt quote is actually one of my all time favorite quotes. It's one of my daily mantras I live by.

  • futurelint

    Yay! You just made my grey day that much brighter!

  • kateherself

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  • Fiona

    You never need to write again. You just said it all, in one beautiful post. Thank you.

  • Lorena

    Thank you for this post.
    Sometimes, it is all we need to hear
    πŸ™‚

  • Ecc3ntricCynic

    β™₯ this post so much.

  • rebcram

    What a phenomenal post. So true – and so often forgotten. Thanks!

  • Jenny

    Beautiful! Thank you. And I try to remember as part of that, that we are gorgeous and goddesslike and perfect even if we have disabilities or diseases. Our culture puts a very strong emphasis on health (don't lose weight for your looks, lose it for your health!) and blames people for their illnesses (oh, she has cancer… did she smoke?) We should care for our bodies the best we can, but disease and disability come to everyone. They don't make us less perfect, or less lovely.

  • Charlie

    lovely post, thank you πŸ™‚

  • Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

    Thank you, Sal. You are one inspiring woman!

  • Stephanie Vincent

    What a BEAUTIFUL POST….if only all women would let it sink in. thanks for being the radical woman that you are!

  • Kira

    Bravo!!!!!

  • lisa

    Yay! You've hit upon a very important difference here, the difference between wanting something because it makes you feel good versus feeling as though you need something to fix an inadequacy. Even when I play around with skincare and beauty products, it's because they're so much fun and I enjoy the feeling of doing something extra special to make myself feel my best. Once a saleslady tried to hawk her skincare products to me by pointing out clogged pores and skin imperfections; I flashed her a tight smile and walked away.

  • WendyB

    Come here and look at me right now and see if you still think that.

  • Karisa Tells All

    Amen! I agree that I don't need the 30 day shred–or at least I don't want it anymore! It's been waaay more than 30 days, Jillian!!

  • Anonymous

    Oh Sal,

    You are just lovely. Thank you for this.

  • Linda

    Love it. Thank you!

  • neighbourhood.gal

    Your post makes me want to shout, "GAME ON! Let's get out there and be fabulously REAL!"

  • K.Line

    I eat this while scarfing down a Skor bar. Not feeling a whit of guilt over the HFCS πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Much love to you and all our fellow goddesses… πŸ™‚

  • Brooke

    Oh Sally, I just love you.

  • Valerie

    Wow, this is so inspirational and so true! We should all count our blessings and love ourselves for who we are. Amazing post!

  • orchidsinbuttonholes

    I love this. I love love love love love it. Thank you, Sal.

  • Audi

    Beautiful post, Sal. I'm glad I read it AFTER I went to the gym though, and not before. πŸ˜‰

  • Ashley

    So perfect. So true.

    I like to leave little positive messages on sticky notes around campus (a la Operation Beautiful), and lines from this post are definitely going up next.

  • Lemondrop Marie

    Thank you for doing what you always do, lift us up and make us smile! Perfect timing as I am finding lots of springy stuff I want to wear. Instead of griping about what designers made that don't fit my body type I will smile at what does! πŸ™‚
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge
    Spring Shabby Apple Dress giveaway

  • Papu Morgado

    I liked it so much that I translated to portuguese and posted it on my blog, with a link to yours to make clear that you were the author. Thanks for this inspired post! The picture is amazing too!

    here the adress: http://curlvelyme.blogspot.com/2010/04/o-grande-segredo.html

  • Jean

    Beautifully stated. THANK YOU, Sal!
    I welcome a helping of this good reminder anytime.

    πŸ™‚
    Jean

  • Carmie, the Single Nester

    Awesome. There is nothing wrong with me – ever!

  • A-C

    I love you. End of story.

  • Rad_in_Broolyn

    Thank you for the great reminder. It so true. And living in such a label obsessed city, it's hard to remember this sometimes. Wonderful as usual!

  • Kate Coveny Hood

    I always love the way that you make this kind of point, yet encourage women to find their personal style and have fun with fashion. There is a fine line between prioritizing style as an expression of self and prioritizing looks as a validation of worth. You do a fantastic job of staying on the right side of that, and encouraging your readers to do the same. Brava!

  • hoobingfamilyadventures.com

    This is so great, so true!! I am new to your blog as a friend just recommended this post. I would love to republish on my teeny blog with a link back to you.

  • Sal

    Gosh, my friends, THANK YOU for all your kind words. I'm so glad this post resonated with so many of you.

    Papu Morgado: Wow, thanks, beautiful!

    hoobingfamilyadventures.com: I'd be honored. If there's a way to reprint partial text and link, that would be great … but if not I understand.

  • elnajay

    Hi Sal,

    Thank you, thank you for this lovely post. For me, it's important not only to hear the part about being fabulous just as I am, but also the part that says I'm still free to partake in fashionable or stylish things if I choose and they make me feel good (for myself, not because I'm following what someone else says should make me feel good).

    I hope you don't mind that I reprinted a bit of your post (with a link and proper credit, of course!) in post on my own blog talking about some of these thoughts… http://adventuresinrefashioning.blogspot.com/2010/04/some-thoughts.html

  • Rosie

    Amen sister…just found your blog…will visit tomorrow to enjoy it more…smile on… Rosie

  • AumTattoo

    Thank you so much for this post. No matter how often I tell myself I'm ok the way I am, I inevitably forget the first time anything challenges that notion.

  • Wendy

    Thank you for posting this .. you're so on the money! Have a stunning day

  • Paula

    I don't agree. When I have zits, they swell, they hurt, they make me feel uncomfortable. When I put my finger on the spot I sense "there is something wrong" because it hurts. It is not just about the looks. Probably it needs to have a bad skin to come to the point to admit there is something wrong. Maybe it's the diet.

  • girlnextdoorfashion

    wow. thank you so much for this.
    i wish i could believe in every word, but i'm going to try.
    thank you!!
    i buy into everything I read in magazines; i always think I just need another pair of shoes, or another jacket to complete me and make me happy.
    you're so right.

    Charlotte
    girlnextdoorfashion.wordpress.com

  • neki desu

    great post,found it via une femme.
    it's sad that we have to be reminded of such things.

  • Kelly

    Thank you for writing this, I have tears in my eyes….I feel like I can breathe again…..:-)

  • Anonymous

    Awesome!! You made me realize the fact. πŸ™‚

  • Kimberly

    Good god, girl. You knocked it out of the park with this one.

  • Elizabeth Jarrard

    beautiful beautiful beautiful post. thank you!

  • Fatimah

    beautiful!!! love this and am forwarding it to all my friends πŸ™‚

  • Kamna

    Thank you πŸ™‚

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  • I used to look at photos and everyone in them would be beautiful except me. My family, my friends – they all looked like themselves. But me? There I was with my big old nose, my mouthful of teeth, my wild hair, my double chins – ugh.

    I don’t know what finally slapped me upside the head to make me realize that maybe my loved ones who looked at me saw ME as normal or even beautiful, too, and if they could see me that way, maybe I could see me that way. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m getting better.

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