Beauty: Self-Gratitude, by Kristen Ma

In my line of work, I have had many people admit to me the cosmetic procedures they have had done or are planning to do. From clients with grand blueprints for how they will reconstruct their faces to little timid guilt admissions, I have heard some pretty amazing things.

But the other day, one of my closest friends told me she was considering getting a pretty intensive treatment done. To respect her privacy, I won’t go into details about what it is, but I will say that even after the procedure, the way she cares for herself and her body would change forever. I was surprised, because she is not only an incredibly grounded person, but also an extremely attractive one. Also, while I understand how looking good makes you feel good, our whole conversation made me wonder when beauty supports confidence and when it promotes masochism.

Of course, I delved right into my holistic speak… beauty comes from within… health is beauty… life doesn’t end at 40… To which she replied, “Kristen, I’m not a client.”

I hadn’t realized I was being preachy, and that was a moment of truth when I had to admit that there were things that bothered me about my own appearance as well. While I’m all about being holistic, I can’t say I don’t empathize with being tempted by prospects of “perfection”. However, I also know how important it is not to let ourselves get swallowed up by our insecurities, and that perfect beauty is a moving target. I have treated clients who hid in their homes when their faces broke out. I have spoken to clients in their twenties who have done unnecessary botox – and each time I am surprised, because even I, a person who sees skin day in and day out for sometimes eight hours a day, cannot see the flaws they are so fixated on.

And while it’s a cliche, I think it stems from our culture which focuses on results rather than process, competition rather than community, and the idea that somehow self-love is arrogant or something to be embarrassed about.

This month, we should announce what we love about ourselves. Sure, it will make us feel funny and a bit sheepish. But maybe that’s what we need – unabashed self-gratitude. I, for one, am thankful for my straight teeth – I’ve never needed braces, and they’re perfectly straight. I also like my shoulders – they are really broad, and sales people always marvel when fitting me for shirts – but they make me look powerful and strong.

What are you thankful for?

Kristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine. She blogs regularly at Holistic Vanity.