4 Bold Ways To LOVE The Way You Look (No Matter What Others Say)

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Love the way you look

Sweetie, it's time to LOVE what you see in the mirror.

In a perfect world I would never write this article because we would all live shame free, content in our own skin, and rock perfect confidence in how we look.

Sadly, we don't live in a perfect world and women swim in a sea of mixed messages every single day.  

Ultimately, all of those messages are shame inducing in that women just can't seem to win ... no matter what we do. And few of us feel truly happy with how we look.

Whether we like it or not, appearance matters, both in our society and quite honestly, to a lot of us personally. Is it even possible to actually love the way we look? I think so. And, here are my tips to help you get there:

1. Remember a time you felt truly good about yourself. You felt comfortable in your own skin and happy with what you saw in the mirror. What was it about that time that created those feelings? Was it what you wore? How much you weighed? Or, was it how you were living your life at the time?  

Ask yourself if it is realistic to get back to a similar place. Certainly we can't turn back our age and often even our weight (at least in the short run) so we may have to find other ways to love our appearance. Remind yourself of what brought you happiness at that time and how that happiness led to your confidence in your appearance.

If you don't ever remember a time that you felt good about yourself then you get to start with a clean slate! Think about recent days in which you felt energetic and happy with how you moved through your day. Did you eat better on those days? Get a good night sleep? Exercise? Studies show that more time in front of the mirror actually leads us to feel worse about ourselves. So think of how you felt about your appearance without overly focusing on the mirror or pictures.  

2. Focus on wearing flattering clothes, not the latest fashionSome of the trendiest fashions aren't right for everyone. If it doesn't fit well and feels uncomfortable, don't wear it. Nothing makes me feel worse about myself then too tight clothes, or styles that just don't feel right on my body. I'm the most confident when I wear things that fit my body shape well and allow me to feel comfortable and energetic throughout the day.

This doesn't mean excessively baggy or matronly styles, but rather clothes that you slip on and you feel just right in them. Attractive yet comfortable. Please don't get caught up in size anxiety! Trying to fit into a one size down dress only makes you miserable, both, in the dressing room and moving through your day. The size is irrelevant if you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes.  

3. Shift the nitpicking b*tchy voice to a gracious and loving one. If you look in the mirror and say the following to yourself, "OMG, you look fat in that. Your hair is dry, frizzy, and ugly. You have zits. Your eyes are too close together!" not only are you acting like a nitpicking b*tch but you are also training your brain to look for the negative.

What if you looked in the mirror and found something kind to say to yourself? What if you actually looked for the good instead of the bad? Science states that finding the good instead of bad will reduce, both, stress and the negative feelings you have for yourself.

4. Stop judging other people's appearance. Here's the bottom line, if you constantly notice and comment on other's appearance, you're clearly struggling with those issues yourself. Judging others is ultimately judging ourselves. If someone is too fat, too thin, too ugly, too pretty, then we're possibly those things ourselves.

If how you relate to the world relies on how you and other's look, you are in for a very rough ride. As we learn to start seeing the beauty in others, we begin to find it in ourselves. Start looking for good qualities in yourself and the people in your life. Those qualities will lead you to loving how you look regardless of a bad hair day. I feel most beautiful on the days that I am helping others, focused on my work, and doing things to take care of myself. The mirror can never give me that type of confidence.  

You are in charge of how you feel about yourself.  

Set your own appearance terms and set them realistically and with compassion. Adopt a health and wellness plan that feels right for you so that you feel good and thus look good. Find a look and feel that are right for you and then love the way you look because of the way you feel. The size of your thighs or the shape of your lips can only look good to you if choose to see them as beautiful. If you let the world dictate whether you are beautiful or not, you are likely to end up disappointed in your appearance.

When you're in charge of your own vision of beauty, you can truly love the way you look.

Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com. You can reach her at lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com