Affirmation: I choose to see myself as beautiful.
What is your reaction when you look in the mirror? Do you look? I know some people who avoid mirrors at all costs and I know others who can't seem to turn away when they see their image. What if I told you that you can make a conscious decision about how you perceive your image?
As I write this it's Spring. North Carolina looks like the Garden of Eden or a fairyland right now. Everything is in bloom. The Dogwoods are breathtaking. The flowering pear, cherry and apple trees are awesome. The Azaleas, pink, white and rose colored have just gone into full bloom and all the bulbs, daffodils, crocuses and tulips to name a few are up and showing off. Along with all this beauty comes the natural instinct of the birds and the bees. We have a flock of Robins living in our wooded area and one of them has gone insane. She, we believe, is protecting her nest. She's doing this by slamming her beak and her body into any of our windows that she perceives harbor an enemy. It's been going on for weeks. All day long, thwack, thwack, thwack. There isn't a solution other than to wait it out. I know, I've researched it and tried half a dozen suggestions. None of them work. Her bird brain defense towards her reflection makes me wonder how often my perception is so skewed that I too see what isn't the truth.
Did you hear about the Dove beauty patch? It's an ad on You Tube. Normally I skip the ads but this one caught my attention right away. I was intrigued. It showed a psychiatrist interviewing several young women and applying the Dove beauty patch to their upper arms and explaining to them how to use it over the next week or so. The ladies videoed their reactions and the first few days they reported no significant changes but by the end of the trial period, they all reported an increased sense of well-being. They felt more beautiful. The psychiatrist then showed them the secret ingredient in the patch. Can you guess what it was? Nothing. It was empty. They felt better because they believed they were going to feel better. Several of them began to cry. They were actually pleased that their thoughts and not some random drug had been the key ingredient in their new sense of beauty.
One of my dear friends told me that as she aged she was startled to see her mother every morning looking back at her from her bathroom mirror. Then one morning she woke up to find her grandmother looking back at her. She decided right then and there to put an end to that reflection. She did not go get a face lift, Botox or any fillers. She did something a lot cheaper and probably much more empowering. She decided to greet her daily image with the phrase "Hello beautiful." She said at first it was hard to say but after a while she realized it was causing her to smile and she found it easier and easier, until she actually began to believe it. When she writes me a note she always begins it with, "Hello beautiful." It makes me smile too.
"Beauty is only skin deep" "Don't judge a book by its cover" and, " Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" are some of the adages about our outside appearance. But, the truth is most of us live in a society that has a standard for attractiveness and few of us are able to completely disregard how we are viewed. The Twilight Zone with Rod Sterling had a show that revolved around a society that forced every young woman to choose a physical model from a menu of womanly styles when they reached the end of their teenage years. One young woman refused. She didn't want to look like everyone else. She liked herself the way she was but this was not an option. She was forced to undergo the procedure. Her parents chose from the menu for her and the powers that be took her away for the process. When the last scene is shown we see this Barbie like woman looking in the mirror and being very pleased with what she sees. Yes, it was extremely disturbing but like so much science fiction, it is becoming a present day reality. I'm not against getting some "help" if that's what someone needs to do to feel better. As a cancer survivor I know the importance of looking good in order to feel good. My friend Greta Schiffman has presented the Look Better, Feel Better program to hundreds of women cancer survivors. The Duke Cancer Patient Support Program provides wigs, turbans and prosthetics for cancer patients. There are times in our lives when we need to take a few extra steps to enhance our sense of well-being and that's just fine.
The lesson learned from the Dove beauty patch is fairly obvious; we can feel better about ourselves if we think differently. If we think we are beautiful we will feel more beautiful. I'm not talking about a narcissistic obsession with ourselves. I'm talking about a healthy view and appreciation for who we are and how we look, regardless of another's opinion. We can decide to feel better by changing the way we think, by changing what we think. We aren't limited to our outer appearance either. How we choose and shape our thoughts affects every aspect of our lives. It affects our relationships, our work, our health and our spirit. We get to choose what we want to focus on and what we want to believe about ourselves and the world and with those choices, we determine the quality and maybe even the quantity of our lives. What's your choice? Do you want to look in the mirror and see ugly and sad or like my dear friend, do you want to see happy and beautiful or perhaps, handsome? Give it a try, "Hello Beautiful!" or "Hi Handsome!" Maybe you can avoid ever becoming a crazy Robin and banging your head into something that won't ever make you feel better and only makes you feel worse.