Claim Your Beauty!
Updated: Jun 15
This is exactly what happened to me several years ago. I had agreed to spend a couple days helping two colleagues who were facilitating a workshop in Vancouver. At the end of the first day, the three of us went out to supper to discuss workshop events and plan for the following day. Naturally, the conversation moved to our personal lives. Because I was single, Doreen asked how I was doing in the relationship department. I revealed that I had recently enlisted the services of a matchmaking company.
“The thing is, I don’t like writing my own profile,” I admitted.” The sample profiles I saw all started with, ‘I am attractive, I am beautiful, and I was advised to follow this approach because men often use appearance as a key factor in selecting the women they want to date. But saying ‘I’m beautiful’ just did not feel right to me.
“It’s not that I think I am ugly,” I clarified. “I just don’t look at myself as beautiful. I’m really uncomfortable writing, ‘I am a beautiful woman.'”
Doreen looked directly at me, eyes fixed on mine, and declared, “Margaret, you have to claim your beauty!” I began to squirm. And then I did what I generally do when I do not like where the conversation is going – I changed the subject.
Over the next three days, my mind kept drifting back to Doreen’s assertive statement: “Margaret, you have to claim your beauty.” She was right, of course. Why was I so reluctant to stand up and acknowledge my own beauty? Why did the very idea of it make me uncomfortable?
Somewhere along the way, we learned that it’s wrong to judge people by their appearance, and we’ve carried that lesson one step too far. Some of us are even reluctant to acknowledge another woman’s beauty. Somehow, this seems inherently wrong.
On the last day of the workshop, my attention kept shifting from one group to the other, and then suddenly I noticed her. There she was – across the room, looking radiant.
It was several seconds before I realized the woman who looked so gorgeous was me. Yes, me. I had glimpsed myself in the mirrored panel of a piece of furniture halfway between the two groups. And in that moment, I saw myself as beautiful.
When I shared my discover with Doreen, she was delighted with my news and hugged me tightly.
Elated, I arrived at my dinner engagement that evening with a friend I hadn’t seen in months. Her first comment was, “You look absolutely wonderful!” Twice more through dinner, she said, “I can’t believe how terrific you look.” I beamed.
Later the next day, my real estate agent showed up for an appointment. She walked in and started talking. Halfway through her first sentence, she stopped, looked closely at me and asked, “Did you get a haircut?” I replied, “No.”
She continued talking as we walked to my kitchen. When we got there, she asked, “Did you lose weight?” I replied, “No.” She kept talking but suddenly stopped and looked at me more intently. Then she said, “Well, whatever you’re doing, don’t stop. You look absolutely terrific.” Patricia’s comments decorated my life like cherries on top of a sundae. A smile crossed my face – you know, one of those smiles that go from ear to ear and almost hurt the kind of smile you give when you’re in love.
I would like to say that euphoric feeling has lasted even to this day, but I have to acknowledge that it has faded, just like being in love can fade. The human mission, it would seem, is to seek flaws and flush out imperfections. Of course, if that’s what we’re looking for, that’s what we see. That’s why we have to keep our attention on our beauty, the magic that naturally radiates from each and every one of us.
From that day forward, I vowed to see much more than my imperfections. Now when I look in the mirror, I wink at myself and say, “Margaret, you are beautiful.”
Not only does this help me appreciate my own radiance, but it also helps me appreciate the beauty of other women as well. Five years ago, I would have felt uncomfortable telling a woman, “You’re beautiful!” But now it just flows out of me, a genuine and heartfelt expression of appreciation. Isn’t that beautiful?
As a coach, I recommend:
1. When you receive a compliment, graciously accept it and “take it in.”
Don’t resist it, don’t argue with it, don’t deflect it or bounce it back to the person who gave it. Take a deep breath and savour it. Smile and say thank you!
2. When you look in the mirror, break the habit of checking for flaws. Instead, wink! Say something complimentary. Then blow yourself a kiss and say, “I am beautiful!”
While this may seem silly or self indulgent at first, it will lighten your spirits and remind you to focus on your beauty. Try it – it works!
3. Let the mirror tell you to just “be” beautiful
Our lives are so filled with “doing” that we rarely take time to enjoy “being” by acknowledging our own beauty. The next time you get ready for the day, tape a note or write directly on your mirror: “I am beautiful.” Because you are.
4. Be bold enough to acknowledge another woman’s beauty
We see ourselves so often that we tend to lose perspective. Go ahead, empower another woman by telling her how attractive she looks. It will give you both a lift.
5. Share Beauty Affirmations with your Girlfriends
Spend an evening with your close girlfriends over a bottle of wine (or any other favourite beverage) and take turns sharing what you find beautiful about each other. Focus on outer and inner beauty! This exercise encourages me to give complements more often. You will come back to this evening many times in the future, guaranteed!