You don’t have to be a psychologist to know that American women are obsessed with their appearance and constantly worrying about their looks. We all want to know how to look pretty, hot and younger.
So why are we obsessed with appearances?
We think that investment in our bodies and appearance will reap rewards. We’ve all considered procedures to help us enhance certain body parts. We believe that our value comes from how other people see us, and we are willing to undergo medical procedures to help us get more “worth.“
Here are five ways to help you stop obsessing with your looks.
1. Find your triggers.
We all have triggers that make us doubt ourselves. You meet an old acquaintance who jokingly remarks that you’re starting to show your age. Immediately, you’re at a mirror looking for the telltale lines, change in skin tone and all the rest. Instead, remind yourself that you know what you look like. You look the same as you did before you left the house when you thought you looked fine.
Someone else may be triggered by a remark about weight, as in, “You look like you’ve finally filled out a little.” Instead of jumping on the scale, you might ask yourself why someone would make such a remark. What are their issues? Did they really mean you looked better? Don’t be pulled into their obsession with appearances.
2. Find triggers from the media.
We’re bombarded by images of young, attractive, seemingly perfect women in film, television, and ads. You know, the ones our partner is staring at, mouth agape. Remind yourself that they are made-up by experts, filmed in the best possible light, often airbrushed to perfection.
You are not 18 anymore, you may have put on a little weight, and you are not perfect. We’re all getting older, many of us are putting on weight and none of us are perfect. You are in the good company of real and amazing women.
3. Decide how you want to look.
You don’t have to be model thin. It’s normal to have life show on your face. Your boobs do not need to be perky or perfect. Your stomach does not have to be washboard flat. Your butt is the way it is and that’s great. Your clothing expresses your uniqueness; it doesn’t have to fit a certain model prescribed by social norms because you’re female.
4. Decide how you want to behave.
Women are subject to different rules when it comes to behavior in work and social settings. Instead, you get to decide if it’s okay to correct the facts in a conversation, be the smartest person in the room and talk as much as you want, even if the person you’re correcting is a man, the person you’re smarter than is your partner and the person you’re providing with a lengthy explanation is your boss.
5. Make a plan to honor your body.
This might mean having an exercise and healthy eating routine. I’m referring to a strategy to be healthy, not one to lose weight or that floppiness under your upper arms. Find some type of movement that you enjoy (walking, running, biking, yoga, anything). As for your aesthetician, moderation is probably the key.
If you’re looking for that sense of well-being, it will never come out of a cosmetic bottle, your closet or your next shopping spree. It will not be attained with a scalpel, an injection or a laser.
You’re far more likely to find improved life-satisfaction from enjoying your work, being in satisfying relationships and engaging in fun, healthy activities.
You are awesome inside and out. You don’t need to be fixed.