I have never met a client (or anyone for that matter who has spoken to me about it) who has been 100% happy with their physical appearance. We all have parts of ourselves that we like but the parts we don’t like seem to dominate in our minds. We compare ourselves to others and to the (often false) facade that others put forward – a confident show that isn’t always how the person really feels on the inside.
We live in a society obsessed with physical attraction. Evolutionary psychologists would say this is natural as better looking, healthier partners would be more likely to produce strong, robust offspring – survival of the fittest. But surely, as humans with higher intelligence, we should be able to see the bigger picture? It would appear not. We are conditioned from an early age to admire and seek physical perfection. Never before has the cosmetic surgery industry made so much money. Never before have I seen so many people with stretched cat-like eyes, puffy faces and lips far too big for their faces. What are we doing to ourselves?
It has less to do with how we look and a lot more to do with how we perceive ourselves. We tend to be a lot harsher on ourselves and our perceived imperfections than we are on others. We focus on what we don’t like instead of maximising our good bits. The media adds to this problem by bombarding us on a daily basis with airbrushed images of perfection. Images that many of us feel unable to reach.
The important thing to remember is that most of what we see in the movies, on TV and in magazines is an illusion. People are made to look thinner, less wrinkled, less blemished and more toned than they really are – thanks to airbrushing. On top of that, the photographer has chosen the best image out of probably more than 100 images. It’s a long and well prepared process that leads to that final image.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of physical perfection and we can end up miserable our whole lives, chasing this illusion.
Ways to love yourself as you are:
1) Focus on what you do love about yourself and maximise these strengths. There will always be people that look better and look worse than you do. Forget about others, and make the most of what you have.
2) Choose not to place such a high importance upon the way you look. Looks fade for all of us and the best way to move forward is to develop yourself holistically. Exercise your mind, develop your character and work towards self enlightenment.
3) It is erroneous to believe that looks open many doors. Looks may help to a certain extent but it is wasted energy to believe this especially if you do not feel attractive enough. Focus on the fact that people who are happy in their own skin get to open doors for themselves too. Liking who you are is infectious and makes more of an impact than looking great but not feeling it inside.
4) I have had many beautiful models and actresses as clients and ALL of them have said they feel insecure. Being good looking means that from a very young age, you are praised for how you look and this gets internalised. Good looking people begin to feel that their looks equals their value. This in turn makes good looking people even more insecure. Being good looking is really not the magic elixir that many believe. It fits along the same lines as people who believe money will make then happy. Yet, when you have the money, there is something else to worry about – the goal posts move. Our false beliefs about money and looks causes us unhappiness and dissatisfaction – challenge this thinking. You can choose what to believe.
5) Look after yourself and care for yourself. You may not always like the way you look but you can thank your body for working well every day. I used to hate my body and the fact that I had Cystic Fibrosis (CF). I allowed thoughts of inferiority to dominate. Now, I have learned to reframe and look at myself differently. I have so much respect for my body as it has coped with many tough times,yet I am still here going strong. Having CF has resulted in my body having to work much harder than average to get oxygen to my cells, my liver has had to work harder to deal with all the medication etc. When I look at it this way, I am in awe of how resilient my body is – plus I have a gorgeous 15 year old son to show for it as well.
6) Physical attractiveness is only a problem if you allow it to be. Try not to let ideals of perfection leave you feeling inferior. This is a state of mind. Learn to love what you have been given. Celebrate the fact that every day your body functions well for you, allows you to do what you want and express yourself. Reject society’s obsession with the superficial. Yes, it matters – we all want to look good but don’t allow it to undermine the way you see your wonderful self.