This happened. I was climbing the stairs to my office and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and there it was: a subtle crease on my cheek just above my jaw line. At first, I thought this must be a shadow but upon quick and deliberate inspection, I saw it was real and worse yet, there wasn’t just one of them. There was no denying it. Whispers of my age were surfacing on my face and they did not match the “forever young” image I held of myself in my mind. In fact, how long had it been since a patient inquired about my age and experience and when did the checkout boy at the market start calling me Ma’am?
Yup, the gig was up…the girl was gone, and in her place, there was me: a woman aging.
Ever have those distorted image moments where you’re obsessed with one small flaw—whether it be a wrinkle, a blemish or an extra pound of flesh—and it overrides your entire perception of yourself as a beautiful and worthwhile Brazen Woman? Suddenly, you find yourself feeling defined by that flaw and in one swift second, all your accomplishments, talents and kindnesses vanish under its weight. Here are some tips to fight back when meaningless imperfections assault your vanity and you need to quickly restore your sense of beauty and worth.
BEING BRAZEN: 5 QUICK TIPS TO FEELING BEAUTIFUL
1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
You positively impact the way you see yourself on a consistent basis by the way you treat yourself. Every time you engage in any self-care behaviour, you’ll feel better about how you look. From getting a blow dry to going to the gym, these choices send important messages to your brain that you’re worth taking care of. The more challenging the task—eating healthy or committing to exercise—the greater the benefit to your self esteem.
Insider Tip: Every time you build your self esteem, you weaken the part of you that tries to diminish you and define you by that flaw.
2. GIVE THANKS
Consciously focus on expressing gratitude for all of your gifts no matter how large or small. Every day there are endless amounts of things you can be grateful for whether they are personal attributes, people in your life, a magnificent view or good news. When you focus on gratitude, you defend against negative thinking and diminish the significance of body image challenges.
Insider Tip: Make a gratitude list that you can call on when you’re in that mood where you can’t think of anything positive.
3. PUSH YOURSELF
When you do things you’re proud of, you feel better about who you are. You’ll be especially proud if you push the boundaries of your everyday activities. By stepping outside your comfort zone to do something that is a bit uncomfortable, you end up feeling courageous and proud. Those feelings strengthen an important part of you that will trump a body image issue every time.
Insider Tip: Think about what you’ve always itched to do. Try something with a friend to make sure you’re committed.
4. INVEST IN YOUR BEAUTY
If something about your body really bothers you and you can and want to change it, go for it! Complete self-acceptance, particularly where body image issues are concerned, is hard, if not impossible, for most of us. Sure, it’s fantastic if you can achieve it without doing a thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to. As long as you don’t become addicted to cosmetic procedures, overly aggressive in weight loss goals, or disrespectful of your pocketbook, investing in your beauty can help you feel better when you look in the mirror.
Insider Tip: Focus on what’s right for you, not anyone else. Don’t take opinions too seriously and stay away from judging others. We’re all doing the best we can.
5. CHANGE YOUR VOICE
We all have negative tapes in our heads that threaten our self esteem. Challenge yours with positive internal dialogue. Do this by developing a more forgiving complimentary and considerate voice that challenges the critic that always seems to fixate on the physical. So the next time you say something nasty to yourself, step in quickly with a compliment and quite frankly tell that mean girl that lives inside you to stop whining.
Insider Tip: Tell yourself that the girl inside may be gone, but she did not hold the wisdom, experience and confidence that you’ve found without her.
Do you have a ‘flaw’ that obsesses with you? How do you deal with it?