Criticizing Your Appearance

In a world where social media and pop culture seem inescapable, it can be difficult to avoid passing judgment. Everyone is guilty of judging the behaviour or appearance of others at one point or another, whether aloud or privately to ourselves. In such a critical culture, most people often criticize and judge themselves, oftentimes far too harshly.

When movie stars and famous public figures show off their perfect flawless bodies doning expensive clothing and always wearing a picture perfect smile, it’s easy to retreat to a mirror and wonder why you can’t look like they do. What we don’t see is the team behind the scenes, the unhealthy sacrifices to reach that point, the surgery, the camera trickery, the Photoshop.

Both men and women alike spend considerable amount of time inwardly criticizing their own appearance. “My hips are too large. My muscles aren’t big enough. I don’t like the way my crow’s feet crinkle when I smile, or how my chin looks. I don’t look good in red, I could never get away with wearing that dress.”

There is a difference between taking pride in how you look and obsessing over every small detail. Spending time to apply your makeup or to style your hair in your preferred way are not signs of vanity. It’s the constant, harsh internal criticizing that can be harmful to your psyche over time. Allowing yourself to be incredibly critical of your appearance and frightful of every grey hair or embarrassed about the shape of your body often lead to a low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is damaging to your confidence and can trickle into other areas of your life.

It’s important to put your energy into building yourself up and not tearing yourself down. If you allow yourself to be critical of every imperfection on your body it will become more difficult to notice the beauty you have to offer the world. Take a look at yourself, pick out all of the things you love and focus on those things. People will be more inspired by your high self-confidence and a genuine smile than by perfect skin and hair.

Loving Your Appearance

Define beauty for yourself. Beauty as defined by the media is not only an unrealistic standard, it often isn’t real at all. With the media constantly showcasing what “beautiful” is meant to look like, it’s tempting to compare our own physical appearance to these false standards. Let go of these external standards and create your own definition of beauty. Beauty is so many things – a butterfly flitting through the wind, a child’s laughter, a stunning painting. Why can’t beauty also be found in your smile or the perfect imperfections in your eyes?

Think beyond looks. Learn to define yourself beyond your looks. What you bring to the world is not the colour of your hair or your weight; it is your talents and abilities, your compassion, your sense of humour, your unique outlook.  Unlike your looks, these characteristics will not only stay with you as you age, they will deepen and evolve.

Confidence is beautiful. Sometimes the most “beautiful” people aren’t conventionally attractive, but they carry themselves with a confidence and positivity that is infectious. When you have healthy self-confidence, it radiates.

Health above all.  Do not obsess over a number on the scale or the angles you see in the mirror. Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is what matters. Fuel and cherish your body, mind, and soul with healthy eating habits, good sleep hygiene, and regular exercise.

You are in charge of your own path to personal happiness, so don’t let negative criticism, especially that of your own, dampen how beautiful you feel.