YourTango Experts provide practical advice on making peace with your looks.
We all love a good makeover show. Why? It's not because we find the subjects particularly hopeless but rather because the end result is oftentimes a revelation. The person suddenly is... MORE! Usually, such reactions are not the result of a dramatic overhaul, but of a careful fine tuning of a person's assets--assets that were previously hidden. We love makeovers because we also dream about suddenly becoming the best version of ourselves.
When we're living our best lives, it's easier for others to fall in love with us, or to feel happier with the life they're sharing with us. But how do you know how to find that ideal, authentic version of yourself? We asked three experts to share their tips.
Take a good, long look in the mirror.
Taking a look in the mirror is one of those exercises that many of us wrinkle our noses at and rarely feel good about. But by being honest with ourselves, we stay true to ourselves. When preparing for this self-evaluation, remember these 5 things:
1. Pick a day when your mood is positive. Standing in front of a mirror when you're upset or depressed will cause the inner critic inside of you to hold court and start yackin'. Keep that negative voice at bay by choosing to do this activity on a day when you can see both the good and the less-than ideal.
2. Be real with yourself. Most women are not a size 2. We're not a size 4 or 6 either. And most men are not 6'2”; they're shorter. When you compare yourself to people, you open yourself up to false criticism and unrealistic expectations. Feeling Ugly Hurts More Than Just Self-Esteem
3. Compare apples to apples. If you're going to compare yourself to other people, be fair about it. If you're a busy mom with no time to exercise because you're busy chasing the kids, keeping a job and maintaining a home, comparing yourself to the single gal at the office isn't really fair. Take a moment to remember the mom down the street who is about your age... how are things going for her?
4. With the bad, find the good. For each area you don't particularly care for, find one that you love. For example, if you can't stand your tummy, remind yourself of how much you love your smile.
5. Finally, remember that you're not just your individual parts; you're the sum of all of your parts. When you really take note of both the good and the bad, my hunch is that there will be a balanced list of things you want to work on, in addition to things you're truly proud of. Take note of that and remember it when your inner critic comes a callin'.
—Melanie Gorman, Counselor/Therapist
Look beyond the physical.
We all have our good hair days and our bad... our "OMG, is that really a pimple on my forehead?!" days and our "Check me out!" days. But there is a way to make your perception of yourself more predictable. Don't just hope for hotness--count on it! But first, you must be willing to honestly and lovingly get to the truth of how you currently feel about you.
This means having a no-BS conversation with yourself in front of the mirror about your (naked) body, your skin, your hair, your makeup and your wardrobe. Study yourself. Examine—with kindness, not scrutiny—what about your appearance brings out the best in you, and what doesn't. Chances are, there will be things that you adore and things that could use a little changing. That's normal. Some of those things will be changeable (clothing, getting in shape, an updated 'do) and some will not (narrow shoulders, your height, a teeny booty). Your goal should be changing what you can in order to become the most authentic and bright version of you. Inner Beauty: What Men Don't Tell You
You see, when we LOVE what we see in the mirror, inside and out, we achieve self-acceptance. And with self-acceptance comes great power in our love lives. We become far more free to be who we are meant to be, turning what we once perceived as flaws into what makes us distinguishable from everyone else. We become less judgmental of ourselves, and of others. We become less sensitive to criticism because we are confident in who we are meant to be. And finally, instead of abusing our bodies, we celebrate them.
—Tristan Coopersmith, Dating Coach
Get an objective critique.
Where a man's self-esteem and ego is often driven through his satisfaction at work, by contrast, a woman's self-esteem is, usually, directly related to how she feels when she looks in the mirror. Often, women visualize themselves the way they used to look years ago. It isn't until they attend a high school reunion or see their photos tagged on Facebook that they realize that perhaps they've gained some weight, or that their clothes don't match their age anymore. If you think that being a perfect size 2 or 4 is the answer, you're wrong.
My suggestion is to have a friend take some photos of you and, then, sit down together while he or she critiques your overall style. It may be that you are too close to the situation to realize that time has gone by. Are your hemlines too short? Colors too bright or too dull? Are you changing your look from the boardroom to the bedroom? When a partner comes home to you, you want to be his sexy other half... not another co-worker.
Take inventory in your makeup drawer: perhaps last year's colors aren't working for your current skin tone. Stop by the beauty counter of your local department store and get a free makeover. Pick up that new shiny lipstick and wear it even when you're home alone to start feeling sexier. 5 Hair, Nail And Makeup Tips From A Guy
—Julie Spira, Dating/Relationship Coach