The beauty industry all around us – not to mention all our friends, relatives, and our very own ‘inner voices’ – often leads to a situation where we start to believe in some very faulty notions about our own appearance:
- How I look is central to who I am
- Anyone who sees me first notices what’s wrong with me
- Only if I can look better, I can make more friends/get a better job/do better at relationships/be happier
- My appearance decides who my social circle is and how I feel inside
- The only way I can ever get to like myself is by changing the way I look
Case story: Dove’s experiment with how women think about themselves
An ad from beauty giant Dove released in April 2013 shows a forensic sketch artist who is asked to draw a series of women based only on own their descriptions about how they look.
The artist doesn’t get to see the subjects, he draws them from however they describe themselves. He asks the women a series of questions about their features. “Tell me about your chin,” he says. Crow’s feet, big jaws, protruding chins and dark circles are just some of the many physical features that women “describe” about themselves.
After he finishes a drawing of a woman, he then draws another sketch of the same woman, only this time it is based on how someone else describes her. The sketches are then hung side by side and the women are asked to compare them.
In every instance, the second sketch is more flattering than the first.
“I’ve come a long way in how I see myself, but I think I still have some way to go,” says one of the women as her eyes fill with tears.
Quoted from The New York Times
You are better than you think you are!
In short, here’s the truth about the way you usually think about your appearance:
– How you look is just one part of who you are. Your abilities, your nature, your skills, your language – there are many factors that make up the composite of who you are.
– Anyone who sees you notices what’s most noteworthy about you first. Have you noticed how people often complement each other on something good they see?
– Your looks cannot decide or impact your overall life circumstances, including your relationships or your happiness.
– Your appearance is just a factor of who you are, not the other way around. It can never decide how you feel or who is in your social circle
– You can like and even love your body and your appearance regardless of how you look. The world is made of a very diverse set of looks and you make up the diversity.