4 Steps To Claiming Your Most Beautiful Self
When you stop to think about your appearance, if you spend more time being critical than affirming of your attractive qualities, relax for at least a few minutes as we delve into how to shift your perspective and claim your beauty. By reassessing your thinking of what beauty is, you can learn to acknowledge your appeal and spend more time cultivating what makes you dazzling in the first place.
I can’t deny that we are all drawn to beauty. We’re attracted to what pleases us aesthetically. This is primal—wherever our ancestors found beauty, there was likely to be pleasure and inspiration.
So, there is the reality that we have a built-in and subjective view of beauty, all of which comes with the package of being human. Just think back to when you were a young child, and you were totally comfortable with the loveliness that was you. Everything about you—including your shape, size and appearance—was wondrously gorgeous and yours.
That was short lived, wasn’t it?
With time, peers, and the world at large, we’ve had our heads robbed of that subjectivity since. Along with the advertisers and entertainment industry, our perception of beauty has been hijacked. The message is drilled into us that beauty is defined as one specific thing, and advertisers pander to our fears of being unlovable such that we pursue this idealized beauty with desperate despair toward how we naturally are.
In fact, the missive is so loud and pervasive that we don’t question it anymore. We’ve learned to compare ourselves and measure our worth based on this standardized and monetized value. It’s painful to think how most of us “know” this isn’t true, and yet we’ve formed habitual thoughts about this cookie-cutter and objectified beauty just the same.
To prove this point, take a moment to consider and list ten people you truly admire in your life.
Now look at that list and reflect on how many of them you admire solely for their appearance. I’d bet money that your ten include people you love, who happen to love and support you, which is a very attractive quality indeed.
I’ll also assume that there are some people on your list whom you find beautiful for their talents, their actions and their passions. All of these qualities have NOTHING to do with this societal standard of beauty we seem tethered to and defeated by.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEAUTY
It’s easy to get lost, though. Take a moment to ponder the media that leaves you feeling less-than, and start by questioning their objectives. What are they trying to sell, and are you buying? Don’t slay yourself if you are, either, because it’s been a long and constant onslaught.
There has been a supposed shift in messaging the last few years as marketers and entertainment try to pick up on the march for self-empowerment, but they can still miss the point. In the excellent article by Megan Garber over at The Atlantic, she breaks down the contradiction in Amy Schumer recent film, “I Feel Pretty.”
Schumer’s character becomes possessed of self-confidence that alters how she perceives herself and changes the course of her life. However, as Garber points out, the subtext of the movie’s message is, “Love yourself despite your flaws. But remember that they’re really massive flaws.”
4 MENTAL REDIRECTS TO CULTIVATING YOUR BEAUTY
Hopefully it helps to recognize that you are up against a whole lot of conditioning when it comes to thoughts about beauty and being able to recognize your own. So, here are 4 steps to journal through to change the direction of your thoughts. Remember, these are exercises, and it will take practice to reframe your thinking, but you are worth it.
- Focus attention on your values: You may already know what you value most, but for reinforcement take a look again at those ten people you listed. What it is about them you appreciate? Chances are these qualities are aligned with your values.
It’s easy to get lost in the fray of our daily life and NOT live to our values. Remember there’s lots of noise and distraction today, so take the time to journal to yourself about what you value. For me, this would be ideals like kindness, effort, love, and intellectual pursuit.
Keep your values top-of-mind and then plan activities that embrace these values and let you showcase how beautifully you can live them.
- Tend to your beautiful aspirations: When you find you’re comparing yourself to the curated lives of others, you’re really tearing yourself down in the process. Remember that these are distorted views based on you feeling bad about where you struggle—and those curated views of everyone else’s life isn’t even half the truth, anyway.
Transform a comparison into the aspirations you have for yourself and then work in small increments toward the changes you want. Note your aspirations and journal about them, and remember that the journey is key here. You are beautiful in aspiring to grow, and you will feel it as you work in small ways to make progress.
- Tend to your biological beauty: Too much body shaming does not serve you and can even bypass the truth of your body. Your body is a gorgeous work of physiology. All that makes you function and live is a marvel.
Whatever your size and shape, stop thinking about being something other than healthy. Affirm your biological beauty by striving to feed that body of yours with healthy food and doing healthy activity. Remember to start very small and work toward bigger habits.
In the article “11 Scientific Ways to Make Yourself Look and Feel More Attractive” over at Independent, as with thousands of other publications, their top suggestion is to exercise. Not only does this work to help improve your health, but the activity releases endorphins that transmit feelings of euphoria—and that is very beautiful.
- Beauty is an attitude: When I was a teenager, I was convinced I’d be popular if I were beautiful. Of course, as I matured, I realized I suffered from the plight of being socially awkward, and this impacted how I felt about myself and what I projected outward. Between childhood and adolescence, we learn to see our flaws and invest in criticism rather than being our own cheerleaders.
This is the adolescent cliché, but it points to how long we carry the baggage of what it means to be beautiful that haunts us in adulthood. And what really does us in is what we project—our thoughts of who we are blink like a neon billboard to others.
Sit up straight and repeat some positives about yourself each day. Try journaling a list of positives and repeat it often. It might feel goofy at first, but remember, you have to counter a lot of habit here.
Think again about those ten people you admire. Let them be your guide as you reframe what it means to be beautiful. Chances are, if some of those ten who love you recognize your loveliness already, so practice allowing yourself to believe it, too.
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