I once asked the delegates in a workshop if they could be anybody, who would they be? Most people chose to be somebody else and that shows how distorted our view of ourselves can be.
Related article: What is Excellence?
Our perception of our physical image or our looks has a great impact on how we see ourselves in the world. How we see ourselves in the world determines how we operate in the world. Depending on the perception whether positive or negative, can either empower or limit us to achieve our potential in life.
This happens because many people measure their self-esteem in terms of their looks. And of course even though we may be close to perfect, we inevitably are more conscious of our “defects”. I mean you can ask Jessica Biel what she thinks of her looks, and she would probably say her mouth is too wide or something ridiculous.
Fact is, we can be ridiculous at finding fault with ourselves. On the contrary, what we need to be reminded of is what we have going for us. Just by be able to walk, talk, smile, talk makes you more fortunate to people who can’t.
Taking myself as an example, I have for most of my life thought I was really ugly. With high cheek bones and eyes too close if I looked hard enough, that was all I saw when I looked in the mirror. Once my uncle commented how much I looked like my aunt and that scarred me for life, because if I looked like that I rather wanted to die.
When I met my husband I could not understand what he saw in me. Even when we got married I still felt insecure. Because of the distorted view I had of myself, I dreaded having children, absolutely terrified of giving life to more of me. Being pleasantly surprised by all three of them having turned out bright and beautiful is an understatement.
The thing is, once I accepted myself I started to notice that I was not ugly at all! In fact, I was quite good-looking. There were things about my looks that I had no control over and yet there were so many things I could make better. Like the mousy colour of my hair, losing some weight, straightening my teeth, cellulite treatments, etc. You know, the usual.
Still, my main breakthrough came when I realized that I was me with or without the highlights and smooth legs (they’re never quite smooth are they?). My acceptance of my imperfections evolved into appreciation of my qualities beyond my looks and being in awe of me – my being as a human being!
We can waste so much time focusing on the wrong things that we rob ourselves of life itself. Of living to the fullest we are capable of. Imagine that!