We know confidence is attractive to our spouse, our significant other, or, if we are single, to potential dating partners. In The Joy Factor, Susan Smith Jones writes, “Living our best life means appreciating our magnificent bodies.”
Unfortunately for me and countless other men and woman this can be a daunting task. We think of our physical bodies and too often instantly become experts in identifying our limitations. We put ourselves through the wringer of self-critique and feel the exact opposite of attractive.
In Notes on the Need for Beauty, J. Ruth Gendler writes “Beauty [or handsomeness] becomes a forbidden quality because most of us feel it can’t belong to us…. often we are blocked from experiencing [our] beauty by feelings of shame and ugliness.”
Our minds interpret the bodies we see in the mirror. This means we all could have the absolutely gorgeous bodies, but if our minds don’t allow us to be beautiful or handsome, we will never experience ourselves as beautiful or handsome. Mirrors may not lie, but our minds definitely create interpretations of what we see in the mirror.
For years I looked in the mirror and interpreted what I saw as disability. Just like I have a nose and ten fingers, it’s true that I’m less coordinated than many people and that my voice is at times harder to understand than the voices of most people.
But the concept that I was disabled and therefore less lovable had nothing to do with the reflection I was seeing in the mirror. My “disability” had everything to do with a painful story I was making up in my head. When I said I was disabled, I was authentically expressing a story in my head, but definitely not authentically “appreciating my magnificent body.”
The same can be said about ideal body weight. There’s a multitude of websites having to do with ideal body weight. We may be over or under the weight we are quoted on these sites. This figure simply reflects how our body weight fits into the tables on the websites. However, we sometimes use this figure to say we do not have magnificent bodies. This assessment is a painful story created in our heads.
When I heard, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” I always interpreted this phrase as meaning I should look for a woman who would find me stunningly handsome and sexy. So for most of my life I have been on an epic search for this woman.
What I overlooked is that I’m the initial beholder of my own beauty. It is highly helpful to be able to recognize my own beauty first, so I can pass this recognition on to others through my ease and confidence.
How do we become powerful first beholders of our own beauty? Maybe a place to begin is by consciously using exciting, invigorating and refreshing language to think and talk about our bodies. Whenever that old, familiar refrain of body image doubt enters your mind, say to yourself and to others, “I’m magnificent,” or “I’m amazingly beautiful” or “I’m incredibly handsome” or go for the gold and declare, “I’m Hot AND Sexy.”
This way of thinking and speaking may well feel uncomfortable and even embarrassing at first. We have often been used to authentically expressing the painful stories about our bodies that we created in our heads.
For a change, why not try speaking in a way that you authentically appreciate your magnificent body.
You and I are our own first beholders. We have the power to celebrate, honor and rejoice in the bodies we see in the mirror.
Game of the Day
Whenever that old, familiar refrain of body image doubt enters your mind, say to yourself and to others, “I’m magnificent,” or “I’m amazingly beautiful” or “I’m incredibly handsome” or go for the gold and declare, “I’m Hot AND Sexy.”