by Dara Chadwick
It’s Monday, and I’ve got great news: You look much better than you think you do!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s the beginning of another week, I’m already exhausted and I just want to collapse on my couch. But please, hear me out.
Recently, I came across a story from the U.K. Daily Mail about a book called, “The Beauty Prescription: The Complete Formula For Looking and Feeling Beautiful,” by two doctors. Ever intrigued, I read about the authors’ “prescription,” fully expecting to hear a lot of same-old, same-old advice. Truthfully, there was a lot of same-old, same-old advice about good nutrition, good sleep habits, exercise, hair, make-up, etc. But I also found myself nodding in agreement with a lot of what the story said, especially this, “Your physical attributes are only part of what makes you attractive.”
We’ve all seen her — a woman who, by all standard measures of what’s culturally considered beautiful, shouldn’t really captivate us, but does so anyway. There’s an elusive quality about her, and it’s one that can’t be measured by a scale, a clothing size or even a mirror.
It’s called personality.
According to the authors, research shows that other people see you as 20 percent more attractive than you think you are. Why? Because you’re looking only at your physical self (and probably picking apart your “flaws,” too). They’re seeing the whole package — your warmth, your great laugh, your caring nature, etc. It’s an entirely different perspective.
Perspective is a huge part of body image. Case in point: At 15, I can remember complaining to my mother about my “huge” thighs. “Look at them,” I told her through tears. “They only look big to you because you’re looking down at them,” she said. “Stand up and look in the mirror.” I did, and she was right. They no longer looked so enormous.
There’s a full-length mirror in my downstairs bathroom that my friend, Julia, calls the “magic” mirror. “I love that mirror,” she tells me. “I look so tall in it.” She’s right; I don’t know if it’s tilted slightly or what, but I look really good in that mirror, too. So whenever I leave the house, that’s the mirror I use for a final glance at myself. It’s like a shot of confidence before I head out for the day. I feel better, and I’m sure I act differently because of that.
Silly? For sure. But it’s all about perspective, isn’t it?
Ever had a “light bulb” moment that shifted your body image perspective? I’d love to hear about it!
Dara Chadwick is the author of “You’d Be So Pretty If…: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies – Even When We Don’t Love Our Own.” She has been interviewed on NBC’s TODAY Show, as well as on a variety of radio and television programs. A former Weight-Loss Diary columnist for Shape magazine, Dara has written about health, wellness and parenting for magazines such as Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, VIV, For Me, Shape, Parenting and Working Mother. Her work has also appeared online at sites such as The Daily Beast and Psychology Today You can learn more about her at DaraChadwick.com.