Dove's controversial Real Beauty Sketch made me cry, and empowers me to practice being beautiful.
The number one thing a single man looks for in a woman is confidence. Not get-it-done board room confidence, but rather confidence in who she is as a woman, a feminine woman, a sensual and sexual woman who likes herself, values herself, and believes in herself as a lovely complement to the masculine man she envisions by her side.
And yet here's the conundrum that is shown to us through Dove’s Real Beauty Sketch video, now having gone viral. Did you cry when you saw Dove’s Sketch? I did, because the experiment and the video demonstrate how difficult it is for today's modern day woman to love and celebrate her unique beauty.
Every modern day single woman has grown up with the media — TV, magazines, movies, billboards — depicting airbrushed photos that Cindy Crawford admits she hardly recognizes as herself. And yet as women we think that's what beauty is. And can I tell you how many times I've met with men who bring me an airbrushed magazine photo to show me the type of woman he wants to date? No wonder women are insecure about beauty.
If you cried when you saw Dove's initial video, you likely roared with laughter in seeing the farce video, depicting men, who are more likely to think they're better looking than others think they are:
Intellectually we all know that beauty is an inside job. But are we practicing? Here’s how to start:
1. Sit Tall, Stand Tall
Right now, do this fun little exercise. Sit slouched in your chair, let your shoulders slump and your belly pooch out. Feels ugly, doesn't it? Now, pull your shoulders back, tighten up your core and sit tall. Now, stand up and feel the difference between slouching and standing tall. Huge impact, yes?
2. See What's Right vs. What's Wrong
When you glance at yourself in the mirror, discipline yourself to notice what's lovely, unique and alluring about your face and your body. If you catch yourself critiquing something negative that you see, find TWO elements to appreciate. Practice this every day.
3. Breathe Your Beauty
Take five breaths — deep ones — right now, while meditating on the word LOVE. We forget to breathe. Practice bringing beauty and love into the world through your breath. Do this often throughout your day and you'll see the difference it makes.
Walk, stretch, dance, run, swim, get to a yoga class, pop in on a tennis clinic — Get those endorphins flowing to keep your spirits lifted, and your inner glow radiating outward.
5. Choose Your Company Carefully
Initiate play dates with friends and family members who "get" you, love you and who appreciate you. Anyone who brings you down or causes you to feel less than valuable and beautiful — skip those folks altogether.
6. Smile and Connect
Get out of the house, leave your cell phone in your purse and smile at the people around you. Hold that eye contact, practice lifting spirits all day long from the dry cleaners to the coffee shop. Ask questions, make light-hearted, playful comments, and offer up sincere compliments. Making others feel good makes YOU feel good, boosting your spirits, helping you to remember how beautiful and valuable you are, to yourself and to everyone who gets to be touched by you.
There is but one of you, and there is only one person who can deliver your beauty and your uniqueness to the world, and that is YOU. I love the message that Dove shared with us — that we are more beautiful than we think we are. Let's practice remembering that every day.