Have you ever, even once, looked in the mirror and thought less than kind things about the image staring back at you? Noticing every fine line, dark spot, sagging skin and then perhaps researched lotions, potions, or even possible treatments and/or surgeries to correct them? How about when someone gives you a compliment about how beautiful you are or look and your first reaction is to laugh it off, sound familiar?
My hope is to inspire people to improve their self-confidence, provide a fresh outlook on what “beautiful” means and feel empowered to define your own sense of beauty.
But first, how did we get here?
In 2015, a study from Common Sense Media discovered that teens spend an average of 9+ hours per day looking at the media – social media, television, magazines, etc.
Another study conducted by the Florida House Experience, a healthcare institution, uncovered that that 87% of women and 65% of men compare their bodies to images they consume on social and traditional media.
“87% of women and 65% of men compare their bodies to images they consume on social and traditional media.”
Whether we like it or not, media unconsciously sets standards of beauty by which we compare ourselves. This unconscious comparison has contributed to battling identity issues, serious mental health issues, and even body dysmorphia in trying to emulate unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards.
Overcoming the standards of beauty
When scrolling through social media, try to start noticing when you see an image and what your thoughts are about it. Are you admiring the appearance of someone else in a way that makes you insecure or jealous? Are most algorithm-driven ads you see on your screen showcasing plastic surgery, cosmetic enhancements or maybe the next diet craze? Are you enabling your own unconscious comparison of unrealistic beauty standards? Remember it takes a team of professionals to produce a perfectly-curated image. Trust me, I know because I’m one of them.
Notice the quality of time you spend looking at yourself in the mirror. How much time are you focusing on the fine lines around your eyes or perhaps lamenting the baby weight? As you begin to notice any less than kind self-talk about your own beauty, practice stopping as soon as you notice. Then take the time to embrace the reflection looking back at you. Acknowledge and celebrate the challenges it’s been through, the time in the sun laughing with loved ones, the extra desserts with best friends that nourish your spirit.
Here’s the bottom line
There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel beautiful or look good. Take care of your skin, make healthy food choices, watch makeup and hair tutorials on your laptop, spend two hours getting ready because it brings you pleasure and joy. Take the time to honor and celebrate yourself because it makes you feel good and not because you think there’s something wrong that needs to be fixed or changed about you.
Defining your own beauty
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. Start to let the people in your life know how beautiful they are. Not only because their hair looks nice or you covet the fullness of their lips, but for how confidently they walk into a room or how courageously they asked their boss for a raise. Let them know it’s beautiful to see how committed they are to their children’s school or starting that new business or the way they make you feel calmer when you’re worried about a problem. And, as you begin to shift, the women around you will too. And, beyond that, are those young girls, teens, and people who are watching you, listening to you, and emulating you, that will begin to shift how they relate to themselves and others as beautiful.
These are some of the first steps in empowering your own beauty. Try it on as a practice and see what difference it makes. I encourage you to share the practice with everyone in your own life. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed sharing my practice on social and by hosting virtual seminars and workshops. It’s going to take all of us to shift the conversation of “beauty” from a physical judgement to how we act and express ourselves in the world.
I appreciate and acknowledge the effort and courage it’s going to take to alter the negative self-talk and increase the celebration of your own beauty. Just know that by taking this on, you will significantly impact and empower how we relate to the concept of beauty for generations to come.
Please send me a message to share your experiences challenging your mindset, and I encourage you to share your newly empowered beauty practices on social media. Please make sure to include #EmpoweredBeautybeginswithme so others can follow along on your progress.