Being Beautiful Is A Mind Game
From picking partners to choosing political leanings to hiring employees, there is unfortunately enough research that supports our bias towards those who are good-looking. Our appearance is particularly powerful because it makes the first impression. The traditional yardsticks of beauty are symmetry of facial and body structure; full hair and smooth skin; square jawlines on men and smaller chins on women. According to research by Harvard Medical School, people assess one another’s competence in a quarter of a second based solely on how one looks.
However, there are a number of reasons not to take these findings at ‘face’ value. Attractiveness is a state of mind — Anyone has the power to look good if he or she can feel it on the inside! Your face is an extension of your personality, and how you want to project it to the world is totally in your hands. Getting it right is about accepting yourself. Model Padma Lakshmi underwent many painful treatments to lighten the deep scar on her arm in her younger years. But now she wears it with pride. ‘I will not remove it even if a doctor could wave a magic wand and delete it from my arm. The scar has singled me out and made me who I am.’ When people are constantly looking to improve their body image, they lose perspective and it results in insecurities and unhappiness. “To love others we must first accept and love ourselves and embrace perceptions which go deeper than skin,” says counselling psychologist and artist Heikham Radhika Gupta. Actor Uma Thurman as a kid wasn’t thought to be ‘pretty’ because of her large nose and mouth, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing a career based on her so-called gawky looks. Julia Roberts, who was once considered too tall for a girl and with a jaw that was too broad, is now best known for her winning smile. ‘Your face tells a story and it shouldn’t be about the drive to your doctor’s office,’ she said in an interview about ageing with grace. Similarly, Sandra Bullock famously said, ‘I have made peace with the fact that the things that I thought were weaknesses or flaws are just me. I like them.’
“Beauty is not about being perfect, it is about revelling in your imperfections and being comfortable with them, this is achieved when you know how to groom yourself as well highlighting your best features,” says Samantha Kochhar, managing director, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies, who is also a trained make-up artist and hairstylist. Till the time you continue applying a lighter foundation in a bid to appear fairer, it will be a disaster. Miracles happen when you look at the colours and brushes not as a means to hide your flaws or reach your ideal of beauty but to celebrate your inner spirit. A red lipstick fails to make a statement if not worn with conviction, just as pale-toned lips are not delicately subtle if they don’t sync with your bold persona. “While it’s fun to experiment, stick to what suits your face and personality. The only one you want to look like is you, not the celebrity on screen or the blogger on Instagram,” says celebrity make-up expert Mickey Contractor.
Jacqueline Bourbon, a spiritual healer and transformational teacher who has worked with many celebrities, feels that real beauty has to be cultivated. “If you rely on your looks rather than your personality or intelligence, it can be very depressing and a profound shock to you when you lose them. You are not responsible for what other people think of you, so you can do nothing about whether someone, say, prefers blue eyes instead or brown, or fat instead of thin (or vice versa!). Every culture has its own idea of beauty and somewhere in the world someone else will find you beautiful.” It’s also a fact that if you feel good about yourself, you automatically emit a charisma that makes you irresistible. Once you accept that you are beautiful the way you are, this self-assurance forces others to view you in the same vein. Good posture, with shoulders relaxed, and direct eye contact gets you more attention. When you look at certain people, you don’t notice their wrinkles or grey hairs because their inner confidence is so alluring. As Audrey Hepburn aptly observed, ‘Happy girls are the prettiest.’
Being comfortable in your skin is being unapologetically yourself —whether it is flaunting your freckles or acing make-up techniques to enhance your features. It’s rising beyond the labels of demure or glamorous, modest or flamboyant and just embracing yourself. The bottom line is: if you believe you are beautiful, others will too. Because beauty doesn’t lie in the eyes of the beholder, only in your own!
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