The Beauty Myth and You

by eHarmony Staff

The Beauty Myth and You

They are everywhere. You can’t escape them. They bombard us daily.

Stylized illusions of perfection. Unrealistic standards of youth and beauty. Airbrushed images that make us feel less-than, destabilized or insecure – take your pick. Intellectually, we know they are ridiculous, sometimes even unhealthy.

And yet, most of us buy into these societal standards of what is attractive on some level. We buy the teeth-whiteners, hair products, pricey shoes, new jeans. After all, we have multi-billion dollar industries and a relentless media machine pushing them down our throats.

In today’s world, no one is immune. Men and women alike feel the pressure. Both sexes are told they need to be younger, thinner, blonder, wealthier. All these messages can be especially hard to filter when we are single and looking for the best ways to attract the opposite sex.

Here are the three most important tips to keep your sanity and self-esteem in check when you are single.

Stop criticizing. Start Appreciating
All of us have an inner critic. It’s that nagging voice that focuses on the negative. That voice tells us we aren’t enough and focuses on our weaknesses. If you want to effectively resist external pressures, it’s crucial to start silencing this internal voice. You need to develop more positive “self-talk.”

So how do you turn your worst critic into your biggest cheerleader? First, cut yourself some slack. You need to accept that you are human and that by definition you will never be perfect. Ever. Perfection as a goal will just lead to failure and disappointment. Stop making that your beacon and start allowing for your imperfections. This shift in perspective will make you more open, less rigid and ultimately more attractive.

Stop fretting. Start Owning It
We all have an Achilles heel. We all feel self conscious about some part of ourselves. It’s natural. But keep in mind, how you handle these inevitable insecurities determines how others perceive you. A sure-fire way to combat anxieties is to identify and actively affirm your personal strengths. Start by taking stock of all the aspects of your physical and inner self that make you unique and fabulous. It helps to get your friends to weigh in and share positive feedback that you may not automatically see. After all, we are rarely objective about ourselves and any kind of genuine ego boost is never a bad thing.

With your list in hand, start letting go of the fact that you don’t look like a movie star or have that six figure salary. Instead, appreciate the fact that dates always comment your beautiful eyes or your ambition. Find beauty in your individuality. Own who you are and what you are. Work that bald head. Don’t apologize for your intelligence. Flaunt those zaftig curves. Too often, we strive for a measure of sameness that is bland and boring and fake and exhausting. Remember that what makes you who you are is ultimately what makes you stand out from the crowd. It is also what will ultimately attract the right person.

Stop Comparing. Start Improving
There is nothing more toxic than negative comparisons. Remember you will never truly know the intimate realities of another person’s life. No other person shares your genetics, experiences, opportunities, tragedies, etc. Thus, measuring yourself by someone else’s yardstick is always a dangerous proposition.

Instead of focusing outward, focus inward. You’ve looked at your strengths and started appreciating yourself more. Now honestly assess what you can improve about yourself. Be realistic and set out to make some changes. Again, none of us is perfect. But most of us can fall into a routine fairly easily and develop bad patterns. Instead, start challenging yourself to grow and develop.

Try this exercise as a positive way to begin approaching your personal growth. Create three columns. In one column, capture the things you do exceptionally well. In the middle column, list the things you feel are average at in your life. In the third column, write down the things you think you don’t do well at all. Choose one thing from each column to devote more time to. This can be a simple approachable way to begin some healthy development.

At the end of the day, self esteem is the name of the dating game. High self-esteem is more attractive than any hair color or number on a scale could ever be. If you want to attract, keep, and enjoy real love, it’s important to start shifting your perspective to insulate your self esteem from all the external affronts. We can guarantee these cultural pressures aren’t likely to change anytime soon so it may be best to change your perspective on them.

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