Alright, so maybe looks are equally important as inner beauty, but where do we draw the line? How essential is that expensive cream really, or those leather shoes while you just donated money to an animal protection organisation? It’s time for a makeover of the seven beauty ideals.
Gratitude is a more potent beautifier than any cream on earth. Pausing to consider the miracle of your body will smooth out all the wrinkles of dissatisfaction. Be grateful for how your organs digest your food, how your muscles take you where you need to go, and how your mind, eyes and heart enable you to be in touch with the world. You could almost trip over your body – it is that close – so don’t take it for granted, even if it doesn’t always exactly do what you want.
Being pretty at the expense of something or someone else is obviously not great. Choose products that are made with respect for humans, animals and nature.
The best way to find a balance between your so-called outer and inner appearance is by regularly going to extremes in one or the other. Give yourself a crew cut. Do a week of meditating in the same jogging pants. Attend a party in a killer outfit. You are guaranteed to learn a few new steps in the tango of form and content.
Self-confidence was beauty tip number one, psychologist Dr. Vivian Diller discovered in her study into what makes women beautiful from the inside. As a former top model, she could confirm this from personal experience: ‘Early on I learned that being the prettiest doesn’t determine the success of a model, because everyone was beautiful. Being perfect wouldn’t do it either, because nobody was perfect. Your success was determined by your behaviour and confidence.
Here’s another tip from Dr. Diller, taken from her book Face It: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change (highly recommended, incidentally). You may tend to be upset by the parts of your body you don’t like, but the key to confidence is to put emphasis on what you do like. Do you have good posture? Beautiful hair, radiant eyes? Build your outfits around them and focus on those parts. N.B. this also works in all other areas of life.
One of my teachers emphasises the importance of stylish behaviour, even when being alone. To me, this was a life-changing lesson. Can you behave with as much dignity when you’re lying on the couch in a onesie as when you’re attending a posh dinner? How much self-respect do you show when you’re in the toilet? Act stylishly at all times, and see how it makes you feel.
This is the ultimate beauty tip. Approach your look with all the noble qualities that you also use for you inner hygiene: kindness, respect, creativity and compassion. Treat your skin, your heart, your home and your hair with the same joyful appreciation.
Text: Geertje Couwenbergh – Photo: Caroline Hernandez
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