If you’re human, which I hope you are because I don’t want any spam robots on my website, you have physical insecurities. No matter how comfortable and confident you are in your body, there’s at least one thing you wouldn’t mind swapping for an “upgrade.”
Big news, everyone: “Perfection” in terms of appearance does not exist. It is literally not a thing, and here’s why: A) Everyone’s aesthetic preferences differ, B) the grass is always greener, and C) beauty trends will constantly change because half of our economy depends on convincing people they need a new product to become more attractive.
The fact that we’re constantly striving for an abstract ideal that has no consistency, measurable value, or even one worldwide prototype is mind-boggling and flat out idiotic. Since “perfection” does not exist– but somehow we think it does…even though none of us know what it is– trying to reach it is like trying to catch a unicorn.
Read this quote from Tina Fey’s book, because it’s so good (zoom in if you need to):
This unavoidable failure is why every, single, solitary person– regardless of what they preach– has qualms with their appearance. Some people may be more emotionally debilitated by their “imperfections,” but even those of us who look at something we don’t like in the mirror and say, “Meh, whatever, I’m not worried about it,” still– at the very least– recognize “imperfections.”
[The other side of the coin is that physical “perfection” does exist, and everyone possesses it just for being born. But that’s not the point of today’s post. Sorry!]
Since scrutiny of our own bodies is inevitable, how can we reduce our concern with the “flaws” we see? I’m not talking about overcoming insecurities with tips like “look yourself in the mirror every morning and find three things you like” or “find your confidence on the inside.” Yes, overcoming insecurities is great, but I want to talk about ways to practically reduce our worries about “imperfections” that cause anxiety, no matter how many times we tell ourselves they don’t matter.
Before I start this list, let me give you a quick anecdotal analogy to try and explain the purpose of this post, which is not “feel bad about yourself, but try to act like you don’t.” My best friend in high school told me about a time she went skiing, and felt super insecure about herself on the slopes. She didn’t have on cute ski attire and hadn’t worn any makeup, therefore she spent the whole afternoon wishing she looked more like the girls dressed like adorable snow bunnies. When she came home and told her mom about her insecurities, her mom said, “Okay, well then save up for a new jacket and wear makeup next time.” In fantasy land, my friend shouldn’t have had to worry about her appearance at all, but in the real world, the solution was kind of simple: Just look how you want to look.
Of course, most physical attributes are God-given, not acquired, but I hope that little story helps you understand that I’m just here to give some practical ways to stop feeling bad about yourself, even if you’re stuck with scary toes for life.
How to reduce your insecurites:
1. Don’t share your insecurities with everyone.
Again, this isn’t about hiding body-image struggles and perpetuating our society’s issues. If you stop giving something attention, however, it will stop taking up so much space in your mind. I’ve always been told to never say the word “divorce” during a fight with my spouse (not that I would), because that makes the option more real. Similarly, the less you vocalize what you don’t like about your appearance, the less legitimate those insecurities become. Also, if you don’t want other people (including a guy you’re dating) to notice your flaws…then don’t point them out. I’ve never harped on my least favorite body parts to Aaron, because A) guys like confidence, and B) he hasn’t seemed to notice my “flaws” so far, so why would I help him along?
2. Change what you can change
Should you need to have toned muscles, wear makeup, or blow dry your hair to feel pretty? No. If those things make you feel prettier, though, then why not go for it? It’s a lot more exhausting to hate the way you look every day than it is to go to the gym for 30 minutes and apply eyeliner. Meanwhile, do some soul searching to gain confidence elsewhere, but don’t be one of those people who complains constantly about something that can be changed, then never does anything about it (sans plastic surgery).
3. Downplay what you can’t change
Two things that work well together: Change what you can change, and don’t draw attention to the things you can’t. If you absolutely hate your ears, don’t wear your hair in a tight bun all the time. If you think your butt is gross, wear A-line dresses instead of pants. If you don’t like your legs, put down the booty shorts. If you are in a really low place with your entire figure, choose your favorite facial features and find ways to make them pop. Personally, I avoid body issues by avoiding “unflattering” outfits– even if that means skipping a few fashion trends, because mirrors are everywhere. Instead, I try to highlight my favorite qualities, and in turn feel so much better when I catch a glimpse of myself in a tinted doorframe.
4. Beyonce Walk everywhere
You don’t have to walk exactly like Beyonce all the time…because that could be pretty awkward/exhausting. Take her signature “I Am Woman” strut and use it as inspiration to walk with confidence. Own any room you enter by keeping your shoulders back, eyes up, and smile ready. No one, including yourself, will be thinking about your armpit fat if your presence is demanding and approachable. It’s amazing how your demeanor can completely change how people perceive your physical appeal. And I don’t know about you, but I always feel my best when I portray fabulosity. Fake it ’til you make it!
5. Compliment others
The more you find beautiful qualities in other people, the more easily you’ll see them in yourself. Once you realize how rarely you notice other people’s physical “flaws,” you’ll understand the stupidity of wasting time fussing about your own. This may sound counterintuitive due to our human tendency to draw unhealthy comparisons, but the most beautiful and confident women I know are constantly dishing out compliments. On the other hand, the most insecure people I know often point out other people’s “flaws,” thinking that will make them feel better about themselves, when in reality, they’re only perpetuating their self-doubt.
Now go brush your hair, comment on your friend’s selfie that is annoying but actually a really pretty picture, and start practicing how to stomp around in heels without falling.