The insecurities of us women can be truly endless.
From the dress we are wearing to “Is my hair okay?” to “I don’t know if my idea is really good”, to “I don’t think I have the skills and competences to do the job I want.”, the concerns about our appearance and our other qualities and skills are there more often than not.
The list can be very long. I would say infinite.
“Never ever do I take a pic of me like this!“.
“Ehm the pool? Maybe not because embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit.“
The amount of negative-thought about our body, along with the fear on how we might appear to others can limit the chance for us to enjoy important moments and live a fulfilling life.
Tara Mohr, in her wonderful book ‘Playing Big‘ – which I highly recommend- writes:
“Girls grow up learning that how they look is extremely important. Movies, TV shows, toys, video games, and, of course, ubiquitous advertising tell the same story again and again: A woman’s destiny has everything to do with how attractive she is – especially in men’s eyes. This sends women a larger message about the importance of how we are perceived by others. While the explicit message women receive is, “Be beautiful, be thin, be attractive; that’s what matters”, what this says to us at a deeper level is that how others perceive us is what matters.”
Do you agree?
So, today I want to invite you to a reflection on how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.
Follow me here.
I would like you to stop for a moment and think about a good you spent together with another person.
If you want, close your eyes and visualise as much details as possible of that moment.
- What do you remember about yourself?
- And what do you remember about that person who was with you at that moment?
If you like, write what you have visualised on a sheet of paper.
I’ve done this exercise a few times and I’ve had other people do it too.
What happens with the concerns about our appearance?
Sometimes it happens that while we live that beautiful moment, we worry about some physical detail, about what we wear, or we are busy thinking how not to appear stupid or uncapable. The attention is focused on ourselves. Have you ever noticed?
But then when we go back to remember that beautiful moment, our memory focuses very little on our physical qualities or those of those who were with us at that moment.
We don’t remember if our hair out of place, or if we had stretch marks or pimples on our faces. Nor if the friend who was with us that day had or did not have makeup out of place or the ‘muffin top’ sticking out of her jeans.
We remember much more often how we felt. What was our mood, a perfume, a feeling of freedom, light-heartedness, the achievement of something important, and much more.
We remember how well that person or that place made us feel and how we made the other person feel.
In the same way, when I happen to remember a good time with a friend, or a family member, it usually is a moment when we had a good adventure together, we laughed and joked, or we discovered something important about ourselves in front of a glass of wine.
You can find the result of a reflection I did on myself in the pic below.
I encourage you to do the same by paying attention to your own internal thoughts about yourself and what other people tell you about yourself.
What people might remember about me is a kind gesture from me, or an evening when I listened carefully to them talking about their life, or a good dish that I cooked for them some time ago.
Nobody ever said: “I remember that day you wore that dress and I could see your big belly“.
Or: “I remember that time, yes. You had hair regrowth that day!”
Or again: “Ah yes, that was when you weighed 10 kg more!“.
Nor do I remember these kind of details about them.
Where am I going with this?
If you do not remember others for their physical qualities, and if others do not remember you for your appearance, why should you give these qualities all the importance you do?
Why should you let a concern related to your appearance, the shape of your body or your weight undermine the way you perceive your skills in different areas of life? And, above all, your chance to live a beautiful moment with serenity and carefree?
The next time you realize that insecurity about you appearance is mounting in your mind, try and pay a bit of attention to it for a moment.
You can reverse the concerns about your appearance by reminding yourself that those in front of you do not care about it (not even 1% of what you do), let alone they decide whether your ideas, actions are good or bad based on aesthetic criteria.
And if they do, are you sure you want to spend time with them or make them your friends?
Instead, can you focus on what you have to offer today? On how you can help?
Otherwise, the risk is that for fear of not being in place, you give up many opportunities and life experiences.
P.S.: In case you don’t know yet, this website has a free resources page to help you start your healing journey.
Have a look and get in touch to ask any questions you have. I might be able to recommend an article or another resource to support you.