With the presence of perfectionism and certain ideals on Instagram, in magazines and within the celebrity culture, it can be very challenging for women to look in the mirror, see something different than these ideals and still feel self-love.
Let’s talk a little bit about authenticity. If you pay attention to the study of personal growth at all, you may have noticed a recent movement about authenticity and how being authentic to your true self, your preferences and your strengths will bring happiness.
I talk about this a lot in terms of my focus on personal style rather than following the latest trends and the philosophy can extend to all parts of your physical appearance. A focus on embracing your authentic physical self can really boost your self-love and acceptance. This might mean, if you have curves, work with them, show them off, wear things that are flattering to your curves rather than hiding them or trying to exercise them away; this might mean, embrace the ethereal beauty of your pale skin this summer with flowing bohemian looks or a contrasting bright lipstick rather than working on your tan; this might mean, style your hair with it’s natural texture rather than blow drying.
It’s great to focus on your health and it can be fun playing around with different hair styles or beauty products, don’t give that up but, if you’re starting to feel like you’re being weighed down by these rituals or feel a bit of self-criticism creeping in when you don’t go through with them, try taking a step back and see what you could simplify by embracing a more authentic part of yourself. This doesn’t mean you don’t put any effort in, but perhaps, if you normally straighten your curly hair, you try a new curly hair product for the summer, or perhaps you go to a yoga class with a friend instead of the tanning salon, whatever feels most authentic to you, leaning in to strengthening and improving your true self, rather than trying to change it.
And, with the right clothes (and, yes, even swimsuits!), you can create a fabulous figure even when you feel a bit imperfect. Even when your weight fluctuates, your body type usually stays the same so spend some time getting to know it and what flatters your shape rather than worrying about, what you perceive as, extra pounds. Embrace your physical authenticity, then work to refine it and you’ll be so much happier with your appearance than if you try to change it into something different. (And, if you’re not quite sure how to do it, that’s what I’m here for!)
The words from one of my son’s kids books comes to mind, “For never before in story or rhyme (not even once upon a time), has the world ever know a you, my friend, and it never will, not ever again…”. (from On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman)