A Few Words

A Few Words | Diary Of The Day

Why am I doing this? I want to change the way we see beauty through exposing the cultural, social, and personal influences that shape the way we ‘practice wellness’. This buzz word, wellness, pursues beauty through focusing on food, body, appearance, and a myriad of other things. Yet it feels like we are often chasing the wrong target. In trying to appear thinner, younger, and more attractive, we’re missing the only beauty worth having.

This higher level of beauty, what I call radiance, is a more holistic quality. It includes charismatic power, shadows, and humor. Radiance embodies warmth and intellect; it takes all five senses to evaluate and to emit. We all have this power of radiance. But, I would argue, modern culture is getting in the way of its expression. We are focusing on the wrong things, moving without questioning, and our wellbeing, mentally and physically, is suffering as a result.

cultural influences were talked about in 1984 by george orwell which is the book that this girl is reading

On Culture

I believe that the root of these modern issues are shaped by cultural influences. These influences play a major role in shaping our outlook on our life and health. They give us ‘proverbial lenses’ for seeing the world—and ourselves—in a certain manner. These influences create a blueprint for how we act within the world, as well. It is difficult to recognize these influences. And even when recognized, we quickly grow blind to them. This project is designed to constantly confront these invisible forces. In building awareness, it is my hope that we can all become more aware of what thought patterns, behaviors, and messages are affecting us.

“Other species are programmed to “know” how to cope with the world, but our biological endowment evolved to allow us to choose how to respond to our environment. We can’t rely on our instincts; we need an instruction manual. And culture is the manual.”

Louis Menand, The New Yorker: How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity

Cultural influences can be defined as:

  • Historical, Geographical, and Familial, which includes:
    1. Where you are from
    2. Where your family is from
    3. What your background is
    4. What you family thinks and believes
    5. How your friends, family, neighbors, and countrymen act and speak

These factors, and more, all continue to shape who we are and how we think, feel, and act in this world. Our cultural biases go on to influence, among other things:

  1. Self-image, health choices, social health, happiness
  2. Physical and personality ideals in yourself and in others
  3. How you see beauty, and where you find it
  4. Interpretations of behaviors and messages

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cultural influences of looking into the sun while wearing a hat and being female

Yin and Yang

I want a space to explore the troubling and the beautiful aspects of the world shown through the way we live our lives. What has prevented a person from reaching their dreams? What is behind a negative thought? What irritates someone about their culture, and what do they celebrate? And how can we learn to recognize, and embrace, both sides? I will try to avoid placing value judgements of good and bad. Life has darkness, edges, and sorrows, it’s the yin and yang that makes this world what it is. And without recognizing this darkness, we cannot appreciate the light.

 girl staring into the camera on the beach

Critiques Welcome

I truly welcome any criticism, suggestions, or questions anyone has.

I am a sensitive person, but I am not careful—I move fast and I learn as I go.

Things said are not hard facts, they are opinions and observations.

No one is a professionally trained cultural anthropologist or seasoned journalist. But as people, we all should join together to discuss these issues that so deeply influence our reality. I know these external beauty standards have deeply affected my life. The only therapy I know for it is to simply delve into the sensations and discomfort, and see what magic arises from the vulnerability.

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