Archived from the week of 4/16/18 @ The Guilde:
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself."
-- Coco Chanel
Have you ever heard the French expression “bien dans sa peau?” Literally translated, it means to feel good in one’s skin. This is not a state that comes particularly easily to American women, or a perspective we are taught to adopt as girls and young women. In America, our perspective tends to be more outside-in. We define our beauty by how well we are living up to narrow cultural standards at any given moment. And too often, we strain toward arbitrary and unattainable ideals, and deny ourselves the pleasure of truly feeling good in our own skin. In fact, 96% of American women don’t think they’re beautiful. We are acculturated to recognize beauty in others while being entirely blind to the unique beauty in ourselves.
On the one hand, one might think this doesn’t much matter – that beauty is a superficial construct anyway. But the truth is that beauty is a very real part of our human experience. And it’s an intense sport for American women. The sheer amount of time, effort, attention and dollars we devote to the task of beautifying ourselves makes a significant dent in the time, effort, attention and dollars we could otherwise be devoting to other things, like leading the world.
This is why we are so intrigued by the French woman’s perspective. If the goal is to feel good in our own skin, what changes? To us, the phrase implies freedom, the freedom to pull the focus inward, and begin to perceive our own beauty for ourselves. The freedom to experience and enjoy ourselves sensually. The freedom to cultivate our own interesting, complex and completely original lives. To find comfort in and acceptance of our likes and dislikes, our imperfections, our choices and values, and to celebrate them all. To cultivate our own deep self-regard and awareness that the relationship we have with ourselves is at the core of the life we create. Bien dans sa peau is a form of grace.
Finally, the concept of bien dans sa peau reminds us of the spirit we are hoping to cultivate at The Guilde. So often in American life, women devote ourselves to treasuring others, tuning into what makes those around us come alive, and allowing the focus to be always just a smidge outside ourselves. The Guilde hopes to be one place where a women gets to focus on what makes her come alive; to express her own opinions and values freely; to treasure herself and the women around her; and to truly come to feel comfortable in her own skin.
Wishing you bien dans sa peau,
XO, Dana & Kristan