File this one under #realitycheck.
Dove had women participate in a Real Beauty project and the results showed a significant gap between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us.
FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora sits down to sketch two portraits of women: one based on the women’s description of themselves and the other based on a stranger’s.
When the women looked at the portraits side by side, they realized a stranger’s description of them was kinder, younger, and more beautiful.
Things got real for me when one of the participants, in a moment of clarity, said this:
I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. [How we see ourselves] impacts the choices and friends that we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children… It impacts everything. It couldn’t be more critical to our happiness.
Do you have some work to do on your self-perception?
Remind yourself that physical beauty is a construct. We have a choice to buy into other people’s standards of beauty or not.
Here are three assignments you can do to start working on how you see yourself:
We know that roses seem to be the most popular flower, but there are hundreds of other types of flowers. In researching for this piece I came up with quite a few I had never heard of. My middle name is Angelica so that and the Floss Flower really spoke to me. Both have a delicate and almost regal quality to them… uncommon.
- Research to find some flowers you’ve never heard of before. Pick a favorite.
- Next, study the qualities of this new-to-you flower. Find out about its history and everything you can.
- Finally, write done qualities of the flower that could also describe you
- Let this definition be your new standard of beauty and how you see yourself.
- Bonus point: Frame a photo of the flower and place it in a prominent place in your bathroom.
Pick a new beauty affirmation and repeat it to yourself everyday…
- I am growing more beautiful and luminous every day.
- I’m beautiful inside and out.
- I am the happiest and most beautiful when I love and accept myself.
- I’m beautiful because I’m me: thoughtful, smart and easy on the eyes.
- Everyone with a loving heart is beautiful, including me.
- Even without these heels and lipstick, I’m flawless.
- Every time you question whether you’re beautiful, ask yourself whether leaders of industries or the person you’re trying to be would be sitting around wondering if they’re beautiful.
Our imperfections are what make us who we are. More than what we look like, we are defined by our talents, our heart, our experiences, our values, how we treat others, how we show up, what we think and dream about. These are real.
We can’t make the journey through life the best it can be or keep our motivation high if we’re preoccupied with a construct.
As a black woman, I know something about false constructs. Making them real and identifying with them is like owning someone else’s problem.
You don’t have time for that.