With so much pressure on women to be beautiful and sexy, many of us have become obsessive over our appearance. We scrub and peel our skin, cut and style our hair, polish our nails – and we are looking good.
But that is only the shell of who we are.
Society tells us that women better look good, referring to how we appear on the outside. Is outer beauty more important than inner beauty? There is much more to a woman than an attractive face and body. If you don’t know this already, it’s not your fault.
The pressure on women to look good is taking its toll. Nearly 60% of women are unhappy with how they look. We’ve started to talk about accepting our bodies rather than being so self-critical, but that’s a hard thing to do in a culture that shames us for how we look and often profits from our insecurities.
Comparing your looks to models and movie stars is a recipe for disappointment. Who you are beyond your looks is much more important. When you start to see yourself as much more than your appearance, it can lead to greater happiness and confidence in yourself. Take Stephanie, for example:
Stephanie really hit it off with Brian at a party. She’d been looking for a lifetime partner and a man who’d make a good father and he seemed like he might be perfect. It was hard for her to relax and enjoy his company because she was so concerned about whether he would find her attractive enough. She saw herself as a little overweight and was uncomfortable with her big nose.
Brian told one of their mutual friends, Terry, that he liked Stephanie, but that she seemed very nervous which made it hard for him to get to know her. Brian told Terry that he was ready to settle down, but couldn’t tell what being in a relationship with Stephanie would be like. When Terry told Stephanie what Brian said, she was so relieved. He didn’t care about her weight or her nose, he just wanted to get to know her.
Stephanie and Brian were ultimately lucky to have mutual friends to help their relationship get started. Often we don’t get that kind of information until it’s too late. Instead, we’re left with our self-critical thoughts without realizing how self-defeating they are.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, but Dr. Susan, what is inner beauty and how do I get some?”
Inner beauty has more to do with who you are as a person: your feelings of warmth and kindness, your generosity, your willingness to listen when your friends need to talk. Although all women are beautiful in this way, as a psychiatrist, I often work with women who can’t see their own inner beauty. If you can’t find yours, ask your friends. They know what’s beautiful about you even if you don’t.
Can you imagine how much happier you’d be if you weren’t so focused on your appearance? Is it time for you to change the way you see yourself? Do you also want to get more of what you want from men? Find out how NOW in my book, Be Your Own Brand of Sexy: A New Sexual Revolution for Women. Wouldn’t that be a better investment in you than another lipstick or concealer?
If we had support from other women in accepting our looks the way we are and appreciating our inner beauty, we’d begin to expect acceptance and respect rather than judgment and heartache. We have the opportunity to create a revolution that honors the fact that we’re all different from one another. We are all beautiful in our differences, just as each type of flower has its own unique beauty.
Join the revolution! Be your own Brand of Sexy!