The Dove Made Me Do It

By: Angie Sloan

True confession: I love dark chocolate. It’s a weakness for me. Knowing how quickly I could slip over the edge and overindulge, I limit myself to the occasional bag of Dove Almond Dark Chocolate Promises. Yes, I know there are many other brands out there, many of them a higher quality or better taste. But I like Dove, and here’s why.

It’s the little affirmations.

Dove’s marketing team had a genius idea when they came up with this. Each time you unwrap a square of Dove, there is a little message in the wrapper. Most of them are instructional: “Play a grown-up game of tag with your friends” or “Share your smile with someone” – the list goes on.

After consuming about a half a bag in a PMS-fueled binge, I stacked all of the wrappers together and came up with a plan.

  1. Stop eating the chocolate
  2. Pick 5 of the affirmations and actually do them.

The first affirmation:

Buy something frivolous. Who needs an affirmation to do this one? But I am in a minimalist mindset, so it was a bit more challenging than before. Frivolous? Hmmmm. What to get? New shoes? No, not it in the mood to try them on. Jewelry? No. Just because Dove said it, doesn’t mean I need to spend a ton of cash. I pondered and thought about it.  Chocolate should not be this hard. And then it came to me. I wanted a bouquet of flowers. Nice, bright beautiful flowers. Bought for me, by me. No occasion.

The Peace Palace

Happy Hour at Barbara’s

Call an old friend just to catch up. This was easy. I called my friend Barbara. We’ve been friends for over 20 years and it was great to catch up with her. Later that week, we met up for a relaxing happy hour at her house (what she refers to as her “Peace Palace”) and we talked for hours. It was great fun! (See pics below of the spread she prepared). Thank you, Barbara. (And thank you, Dove.)  

Quote your dad. I read this one and it hit me right in the heart. I’ve not reconciled my father’s death. I’ve not grieved as I should. I haven’t even written about him like I did with my mother.

My dad

With her, it was my coping mechanism. But for some reason, I couldn’t do it with my father. My father had so many wonderful quotes. He possessed a deep wisdom that he kept well cloaked underneath his larger-than-life exterior. He always told me, “Speak to everyone at work, from the janitor to the boss. It keeps you humble.” This little chocolate wrapper made me think back to his words. I could almost hear his voice. It was healing.

Give someone a compliment. I think as women, we should empower other women. So I didn’t stop at one compliment, I did it all day! A compliment should always be sincere. I didn’t just say something nice to fulfill my chocolate obligation, I made sure what I said came from a real place. And it felt wonderful! If I liked someone’s earrings, I told them. If I liked her hair, I told her. At the end of the day, my cup was overflowing with good feelings.

Learn something new about a loved one. My cousin Tammy told me a funny story about her mother, my Aunt Sis. “Sis” as she was called, was a fashionista back in the day. She loved having matching shoes for each and every outfit she owned. But times were tight and she couldn’t afford to continuously buy new shoes. To solve her dilemma, she befriended the guys at the local paint store and began painting her shoes to match her outfits. I laughed when Tammy told me. But it was quite smart. She was trendy like that until the day she passed.

In total….

I plowed through countless numbers of delicious chocolates. Got some flowers. Spent time with an old friend. Reminisced the good times with my dad. Made random strangers happy. Learned a great story to share about my aunt.

This was fun and I was on a roll! I decided to select one more wrapper from the stack. And it read: Why not?

And that was all the affirmation I needed. It was permission…permission to polish off the rest of the bag of chocolate. After all, it provided me with inspiration to write this post. Why not indulge a little more?

One Beautiful Thought

By: Shannon Shull

Well, Dove has done it again. They’ve created a movement to inspire women to think positively about themselves. This particular movement was created by Dove France with the goal of getting us women to have a positive body image.

They actually got women off the streets to record their most personal thoughts about themselves, about their body. Keeping in tune with today’s times, the overall tone of these ladies’ thoughts were unfortunately very negative. In fact, it was a bit heartbreaking to hear what these women thought of themselves. To bring this issue to light, Dove France had actresses act out a scene using the very thoughts these women wrote about themselves. The thoughts these women shared about their bodies were the lines used in a conversation between the actresses. The ladies who wrote about themselves in the journals then overheard these actresses speak to one another using their very thoughts about their bodies. Whew…

Watch the video and you’ll see the results. The ladies who had written such negative things about themselves realized that it was flat-out horrifying how harsh they were to themselves and realized how unjustified it was because they are all so beautiful in so many different ways. Dove has opened our eyes yet again, this time with the message, “If it’s not acceptable to say to someone else, why say it to ourselves?”

ShannonMy response? This is a brilliant reminder to think better of myself. When we struggle to think of the last time we ever had a positive thought about ourselves, we need to make an effort to change that. It’s not easy, but we should make an effort to think positive thoughts about ourselves on a daily basis. And as far as I’m concerned, not just positive thoughts about our body image, but about ourselves as a whole – our intelligence, our personality, our heart. I personally believe that to think positively of our own bodies, to force ourselves to recognize our outer beauty, allows our inner beauty to burst forth ever stronger.

One beautiful thought. Now. Do it. I challenge you to think one beautiful thought about yourself right now and attempt to do this on a daily basis. Open your eyes to the beauty that is YOU.

That Dove Ad

…And Why I Think The Discussion It Sparks Is Really Good For Us All

By: Shannon Shull

One of my amazing sisters sent me a link to this great Dove ad, with a note that said “This is cool! A video of how women perceive themselves verses how others perceive them.”

You may or may not have caught wind of or seen this video, but here is the link:

And now here is the crucial part: make sure to take note of the credits posted after the ad video:

“Credits: ORIGINAL: By Dove. While we really like the experiment featured here, we do have some problems with this ad as a whole. Check out this critique by Jazz Brice and this post from our own Kaye Toal to find out why.”

If you actually take the time to watch Dove’s ad video, which you should, then you absolutely must read the bloggers’ responses to the ad.

In my opinion, all these folks involved – the Dove Ad Campaign people and these two bloggers – are fabulous on so many different levels.

I watched the video first and I admit, I totally cried. Yep, a tears-running-down-the-face, struggling-to-speak-straight kind of cry. Why it struck me so deeply is hard to explain. I was in the moment and the ad did its work – it reeled me in and tugged at my strings.

But… I actually caught sight of the credits note at the end of the post and then proceeded to read both of the links included. Now, here was the “A-ha!” moment for me: to read, consider and truly contemplate different perspectives. I admire bloggers Jazz Brice and Kaye Toal and consider their willingness and openness absolute genius. Whether you agree with their point of view or not is here-say. What matters – what mattered for me – was that they allowed me to think about this crucial topic in a different light.

I won’t repeat all the things I agree with and I won’t try to dissect every little thing about the video and their responses. But, I will say that I think everyone, men and women, should take note of how “beauty” is addressed in this video and the responses to it, and should then address your own take on it.

Self confidenceIt made me take note of the sad fact that a majority of the time, if there is a discussion about beauty among my friends/family and I, the main topic is usually about what things we would change about ourselves if we could. Can you remember a time when the focus of a beauty discussion was about applauding your individual strengths? The things that you feel good about when it comes to your own appearance? I’d bet money that even Victoria’s Secret models have discussions about the things that they DON’T like about themselves.

And think about it, most of us would feel like we’d be perceived as conceited if we actually applauded the things we might consider positive and attractive about ourselves. And that my dears, is just plain sad. But it’s a sad truth about society today.

The main thing that I got from watching the Dove ad and reading these two fabulous responses, is the basic truth that beauty is in the eye of the beholder! And what a beautiful truth that is. People come in all different shapes, sizes and colors and daggomit, we’re all individually attracted to different attributes and qualities.

That’s another beauty in life: what I find attractive, you may not get at all and vice versa. To each his own! And now the kicker: the most important part is that we recognize that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder and then acknowledge our own individual beauty. And when I say that, I mean it… our own INDIVIDUAL, God-given, unique beauty. Not the society-imposed idea of beauty, but the beauty we know that we possess not only on the inside but on the outside, too. It’s not going to do us a bit of good to focus on the things we would change if we could and then punish ourselves over it. We should instead celebrate our own unique beauty and recognize it!  No racist or judgmental attitudes allowed.

Truly think about what your positives and celebrate those lovely qualities. Ask someone you love to tell you the things they adore about you, what catches their eye, what stands out and makes you beautiful to them. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised and most likely gain a new outlook on yourself.

Before bringing this blog entry to a close, I Googled images for “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder.” WOW. When I came across this quote by Salma Hayek I had another tear-jerker moment…

“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I saw that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder.”

How powerful is that?!  You are the beholder!  Talk about a “BOOM Yow” moment!!

There you have it. Liberate yourself, people, and realize that YOU are the beholder!!!  Some days it will be harder than others, but never lose sight of recognizing what you find beautiful in you. Allow your own unique beauty to bring you self confidence and you will radiate such loveliness. Be the beholder of your own beauty!