I was at the gym the other day putting in my 30 minutes on the eliptical machine when I was drawn to the television hanging on the wall above me. What I saw was the image of a beautiful young woman looking in the mirror, frowning. It was a commercial for a skin care product and my first reaction was how silly — clearly no one would be looking for a few tiny lines on someone so lovely. Then I looked closer and something in her eyes was a little too familiar.
We’ve all been there, staring in the mirror, not at ourselves but at our imperfections. Not seeing beauty but the beast. It’s no wonder. With so much cultural emphasis on youth and the “perfect” body, we have come to equate beauty primarily with our physical form. The truth is however, that while being healthy and taking care of our bodies is important, real beauty is so much more.
Beauty is the radiance that shines through us when we’re feeling joy; it’s the vibrancy we exude when we’re excited about life; it’s the passion that lights up our eyes and the gentleness of our spirits. Beauty is multidimensional. It’s something we all possess at every age, young, old and in between. When we recognize and approach beauty from our four dimensions—our body, mind, heart and spirit—we have the ability to feel and be beautiful right now, today.
Beauty comes from thinking it with our minds, feeling it in our hearts and believing it in our souls. When we do, our bodies reflect it out to world. In time, radiating real beauty becomes as natural as breathing. To help you uncover your unique beauty, practice these steps for 30 days and repeat as needed!
1. Acknowledge your beauty. Identify something about your physical self that you know is beautiful. It might be your eyes, your hair or your hands. Take time each day to appreciate that feature. Add something new every few days—even if it’s something as small as a delicate web of veins running under your skin.
2. Experience beauty. Do something to help you feel beautiful everyday. Get a manicure; rub lotion on your skin; wear something soft or brush your hair until it shines. Identify as many of these “beautifying” rituals as you can and make them a part of your everyday life. The point is not to appear more beautiful to others, but to feel beautiful for the joy of it—for you.
3. Notice beauty around you. Beauty is all around us. It might be in your flower garden, a favorite piece of furniture, a song or a shop window you pass on the way to work. Tuning into beauty helps connect us to our spiritual nature; eases tension in our bodies and attracts more beauty into our lives. Yes, noticing beauty can actually make you more beautiful.
4. Smile. When you walk down the street or into a room, consciously smile at someone. It let’s your real self shine through and makes a connection that feeds your heart. Notice that when you smile at someone it changes their body language and their attitude. It does the same for you!
5. Let go of judgment. The truth is, the only opinion that matters is your own; the only one you need to please is you. This can be a tough one. Most of us are our own worst critic. By judging ourselves as less than beautiful, however, we make it so. Letting go of judgment begins with awareness. When negative thoughts filter in, be aware of them and what they’re doing to you. Did the thought make you frown or tense up? Is that what you want? Now consciously push your negative thoughts aside and refocus on something positive, something that makes you happy, confident or at peace. See the transformation and acknowledge it. Each time you do, it will be easier to stay in that positive space and project your real beauty.
When you believe in and recognize your own beauty, others will too. You might also see old patterns falling away (like eating when you’re not hungry!) that contributed to negative feelings about yourself in the past. Start today to focus your whole being, body, mind, heart and spirit on what you want. When no one dimension is carrying the burden alone, your chances of success are much greater!
Diana LaSalle is co-author of Priceless: Turning Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Experiences (Harvard Business School Press)and a recognized authority on what people value. Learn more about multi-dimensional living and take the free HarmonyFinder test at http://www.pricelessliving.com