People see what we project. We project from the inside out, so the way we feel about ourselves is paramount to the way we’re perceived. I’ve pointed out my flaws for years by focusing on them. For example, nothing says I feel fat like an ill-fitting, too-big-for-me blouse. But that took me years to figure out, because I was busy comparing myself to other women and nurturing a distaste for my own body. The reality is that many of us have spent our lives trying to measure up to glammed-up, edited, air-brushed versions of real women.
Let’s not make beauty about perfection
So we’re all on the same page, here’s the definition of perfection:
“The condition, state or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws and defects.”
As enticing as it sounds to spend the rest of our lives chasing perfection, perhaps there’s a better way. Maybe we start by rejecting the very notion of working to attain someone else’s idea of perfection and learn to love and appreciate who we are.
Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining
We'll need to spend some time unwinding the constant barrage of advertising that targets our vulnerabilities. But it's more than the suggestion that we're not good enough. There's also the matter of using 30-somethings to sell products for aging skin or a model in her 60s marketing products to her contemporaries - only her image is air-brushed. The implication being that the physical reality of 60-something is too heinous to be televised. That should make us all angry because, if all goes as planned, that's where all of us are headed. Let’s recognize and acknowledge when we’re being lied to and manipulated, shall we?
The truth is that the reality of our physical attributes as well as our perceived imperfections have little to do with what we project to the world. We signal to others what we want them to see by the way we feel about and carry ourselves – by what we project. Turns out, the muscle we should have been focusing on all along is our brain, because that’s where our power is centered. We can use our brains to overcome the negative and to nurture a new way forward with positivity and self-love.
Walk The Walk
I’ve seen women of all sizes and shapes strutting their stuff with their heads held high who have changed my perception of beauty. When a woman carries herself like she believes she's beautiful - when that is what she projects - I believe it too.
After all, we live in a world full of women of all ages, sizes, shapes, colors and persuasions - not a one dimensional world with room for only a narrow definition of beauty.
Strut You Stuff
Seriously. The world will look to you for cues when it comes to how you're perceived. So think about exactly what it is you want to say. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about what you're projecting.
Stop worrying about what other people think. Admit it, we don’t really know what other people are thinking, but that doesn’t stop us from speculating. Put a stop to it and think instead about what you’re communicating with the way you interact with others. Don’t forget to look them in the eye.
Focus on good posture. There’s something about throwing your shoulders back and walking with your head held high. Believe me, it’s a vibe that people notice, because it exudes confidence.
- Look in the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes and repeat after me, “I am beautiful.” Now say it until you mean it.
- Absolutely eliminate negative self-talk. This isn’t a process, it’s a decision. There is no hidden benefit to being mean to yourself. It’s a destructive habit – period.
Go back to the mirror and check yourself out. Look at yourself frowning and then smiling. Trust me, you’ll come away from this exercise with a perfect reason to turn your frown upside down.
- Positive affirmations. Tell yourself what you want to hear – as long as it sounds something like a compliment you would give to someone you love and admire.
- Chin up! No matter your mood, we should all keep our chins gently lifted at all times as a matter of course. And the older we get, the more attention we should pay to this particular detail.
- Practice Self-Care. Of course! Mental, spiritual, sexual, physical.
- Get naked. If you haven't gotten around to it, get to know your naked body. Look, touch and accept. Love yourself as you are right now, because this is you. If you decide to make changes like gaining or losing weight or getting more fit or whatever, go for it. But do not put off loving yourself, because it's separate from all of that. And you might be surprised by the positive impact that loving yourself has on your ability to reach your goals.
In the end, the most important thing is how you feel about you. If you truly love yourself, that is what you will project to the world. And that is a beautiful thing.