I don’t have any tattoos. I figure one of the many veins in my legs will eventually burst and it’ll look like I had a butterfly inked into my skin at one time. The point is . . . veins–I’ve got ’em! Lordy, I’ve got ’em, under the most translucent, fish belly white skin and I’m vain (not vein–ha!) enough that the combination kept me from wearing shorts and skirts for a long time.
Speaking of skin, I always wanted olive-colored skin with dark eyes and dark curls. Sultry, no? Instead, I have fair skin with lots of sun damage and deep-set, pale blue eyes that can’t open in the sunlight–they just squint–making lots of wrinkles around my eyes, akin to the spokes on a bicycle wheel. When I was 26, I had a piano teacher in her 60s who told me I looked older than her and directed me to the Lancome counter.
Around the same time, a sister-in-law told me my smile was too gummy (I thought it looked like Marie Osmond’s) and I needed to change it, so she taught me how to smile the way she’d learned how to smile in pageants. Instead of using my gummy smile to tell her to kiss my Salty ass, I let her teach me how to smile differently.
I’ll stop there. Here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with my smile or the skin on my legs or around my eyes. It’s me and I’m fine. I only think about how weird or ugly those things might be when I compare myself to other people (or let other people do it for me) and comparing ourselves to others is a recipe for disaster.
It doesn’t matter our age, if we pieces-part our bodies out and compare the pieces-parts to everybody else’s, we will always lose. Somebody else will always have smoother skin, shinier hair, bigger boobs, a smaller butt, more stamina, a brighter smile, whatever.
Stop playing this game. If you look at yourself overall–the big picture–you are a beauty! We all are.
When I was a kid I believed a t-shirt that told me God Don’t Make No Junk. I think it might have been the determined face of the little boy on the shirt more than the words, but I believed him.
I lost some of my belief as I got older. For women my age, our confidence lags when our body sags and I know it can be hard to not compare ourselves to others and wonder why we don’t look like the 30-year-old we feel like inside.
We live in a world that constantly draws attention to our flaws and if we’re not young, we’re not good enough. Even if we are young, there are unrealistic ideals projected at us from all sides. Keep focusing on your little this and your big that and your ugly those and less-than these, and I promise you will learn to loathe those things. We live in a culture that thrives on pointing out our flaws and we tend to believe that if we just “fixed” our physical selves, we would be . . . richer, smarter, desired-by-all, invincible. Definitely bikini-worthy and happier. Definitely.
So, what to do? Besides staying healthy and having a pretty good time discovering great lotions and potions, I have to go back to my last post. I wholeheartedly believe in positive self talk.
It’s a weird little marvel of nature but when you focus on something that’s pretty great about yourself–your eye color, how well your legs carry you, the line of your shoulders–you’ll start to like them. It’s true, and you’ll also probably notice more things you like and appreciate. Positive thoughts can be very powerful.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned to appreciate my physical self.
Pay attention to the good stuff. It’s just like finally believing the repetitive positive self talk–you’ll eventually recognize and believe you’ve got a lot of good stuff going on. Challenge yourself to focus on the things you like about your physical self and then . . .
Play up those things! If you know your body looks great in an a-line skirt, get a couple. If red lipstick makes your teeth look like they glow in the dark and you love that, get some! If your face looks better framed with a short cut, find a stylist.
Pay yourself a compliment. Do this regularly. It might not feel sincere at first, but you’ll get there.
STOP comparing yourself to others. It’s a waste of energy. We’re all unique and uniquely beautiful. Our differences are our super powers!
What do you do to focus on the great, beautiful things about yourself?