Truthfully, I'd say that around to 40% of the time, I don't think I'm beautiful. Is that strange? I mean, I know that my 'level of satisfaction' with my appearance should probably be higher. I'm working on it daily by tweaking what I don't like and celebrating what I do. Here are some of the things I do and remind myself of to keep my spirits up.
Realize that no one is perfect/there are different kinds of beauty.
Not that I need to add any more fuel to my JLaw-obsessed fire, but Jennifer Lawrence's response to her Dior campaign photo pretty much said it best: "Oh my god, I haven't seen this. That doesn't look like me at all... Of course it's Photoshop, people don't look like that." Exactly. People don't look like that.
We are so bombarded with photos of airbrushed celebrities and tv shows with totally made-up characters that we forget - no one wakes up flawless. (Except maybe Beyonce, she just might). We all rise sleepily from our beds, grumpily and with our eyes half shut. And furthermore, there isn't one particular archetype for beauty. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Beyonce are considered universally gorgeous, yet they look nothing alike. Just ponder that... So if you don't look anything like either of them, it's cool, and it doesn't make you any less stunning.
Identify & play up your favorite feature.
I'm sure that 99% of women can write a laundry list of all the things that they dislike about their figures. We constantly grapple with the imperfections in ourselves, pointing out small chests, narrow hips, big noses and thin lips. But, we rarely take a moment to say, "yeah, all that, but damn I've got a great ass." Most of us need to have many more "damn, dat ass" moments. So, go ahead. Have a moment. Take a second to appreciate the things you love about yourself. We all have at least one (if not, many) once we stop looking at all the negatives.
When's the last time you responded to a compliment with "Oh, no. You're kidding" or some other similar comment? Stop it, now! Not only does it not promote self love, but it can be damn frustrating to the compliment giver, and eventually you'll end up with this response.
I know it isn't easy to just say 'thank you' when someone says you look pretty on a day when you feel like utter crap. I get. Sometimes, you really are surprised when someone hits you with a compliment on the worst hair day of your life. But just learn to accept it with grace. I took this line from my dad (who totally stole it from Jay-Z, for the record) as a way to respond to compliments instead of a simple 'thanks' which, I think, seems too full of myself at times: "Thank you, you're far too kind."
Don't insult yourself.
This little gem is the companion to the tip above. Along with accepting compliments, don't speak negatively about yourself. So much easier said then done, I know. But think about it - there are plenty people out there who aren't going to like you for one reason or another. Why be one of them?
Huffington Post featured an article on how to silence your inner critic. Although I believe that positive self-talk is effective for me, I really like #2 on this list, which leads me to my next tip.
There's always gonna be something that you don't like about yourself. Some of these things, we will just have to learn to love, but there are features that we can do something about. Maybe you have a few pounds to lose or think you'd look best with a bit more muscle. Hit the gym for 35 minutes a few days a week and revel in the results. Feel like your skin or hair is looking a little dull lately? Treat yourself to a new skin regimen or hair treatment and stick to it! Or if you feel like your teeth are yellowing a bit, kick that old smoking habit, put down the 7th cup of coffee and go for a teeth whitening session. Can't stand those dark under eye circles? Sleep more each night. Whatever it is, take the time to create what you think is the most beautiful version of you.
Take an awesome selfie.
There's no better feeling than loving the way you look in a photograph. Maybe that's why 'selfie' was the word of 2013. Now, I'm not advocating filling your Instagram with selfies, but if you're feeling down, treat yourself to a little photo sesh. Style your hair, put on a little makeup or a killer outfit, and snap away. Play with your angles! Most of us look better in photos with the camera slightly above us, but if you know your perfect angle, then work it. Make faces or simply smile directly into the lens. Now, save that picture to remind yourself of how beautiful you are. This is you; don't forget it.
Find beauty in everyone.
I saw this quote somewhere and it couldn't ring more true. "When you choose to see the good in others, you end up finding the good in yourself." I think that's true of beauty too. I try to look for the beauty in others before pointing out the ugly bits, whether that's physically or mentally. Sure, the direct meaning of this quote is that the finding good is makes you a good person. But, I also realize that when you look for the best in people, you are automatically more understanding, more loving and more forgiving, and you eventually learn to direct those qualities inwards. I find that I'm kinder to myself. The lips I once scrutinized in the mirror as unshapely and too large for my face, I now see as full, plump and the perfect canvas for my favorite red lipstick.
Although I'm sure most women's 'level of satisfaction' is higher than mine, I'm interested to know how the readers of my blog feel. Leave me a comment below if you care to share and/or participate in the poll below! (And I'd love it if you encourage the women you know, bloggy friends or otherwise, to respond to the poll too.)
HOW OFTEN DO YOU FEEL BEAUTIFUL?