By now, most of us know that it only takes a few seconds upon meeting someone to form an impression of that person. That impression can make all the difference in whether or not we are perceived as intelligent and competent, if we get hired, what kind of service we receive, or if we get invited back. Like it or not, the way we present ourselves to the world matters. It tells others who we are. We’re all so focused on what society expects us to look like that it’s easy to forget that what makes us unique and special can also be what makes us attractive. Often, those very attributes can be what set us apart from the crowd. The media has an extremely powerful influence on everyone, but particularly on women. Most of us have observed young girls and women go out of their way to look like someone they’ve seen on TV or in a magazine, only to lose a sense of themselves in the process. Our true beauty lies in our uniqueness, our authenticity. Often a small adjustment may be all that we need in order to discover our best look, and let that shine through.
It can be demanding and frustrating to compare yourself to images of women in the media. The reality is that these images don’t always live up to the same perfection in real life. Camera angles, lighting and retouching, not to mention world-class make-up artists, make an unbeatable combination when it comes to portraying a flawless image. Trying to compete with these images is unrealistic, but appreciating ourselves and our uniqueness, and presenting ourselves in the best light, is within everyone’s reach.
Changing your Appearance Starts with Confidence
The power of confidence and attitude cannot be overstated. Diana Vreeland, the legendary fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, who later became editor-in-chief at Vogue, was far from possessing many of the features considered as classically beautiful. And she herself knew it. “There are millions of pretty girls and models. But beauty is an attitude. I am not… a conventional beauty. And yet, when I look at my reflection in the mirror each morning, I see an empress. And that’s what I become.” Diana Vreeland was one of the most celebrated style icons of the 20th century. A more current example is Sarah Jessica Parker – again, not a classic beauty but one who makes the most of what she has.
Ok, I’ll be the first one to admit I’m not always looking at an empress in the mirror first thing in the morning. But you get the idea. It’s about being confident in how we are in the world. It’s important to be the best representatives of ourselves we can be, not just for others, but for ourselves. The foundation of that, I believe, begins with good health. Eating well, the right nutrition, getting enough exercise, drinking water, making sure we get adequate sleep and relaxation – these are the building blocks from which we go on to look and be our best. Beyond that, carrying ourselves with confidence and good posture, paying attention to grooming, and being engaged and interested in the world around us are what make us stand out from the crowd. I knew an older woman years ago who had been a Ford model in her younger years. By the time I met her she was well into her sixties, and still stunning. What really made her stand out, though, was how gracious she was, and the genuine interest she took in me and in others. She always made me feel that she couldn’t be happier to see me, and I think that is why I remember her as being beautiful.
Let’s face it. Everyone’s busy. Most of us have families, careers, friends, and interests that structure how we spend our time. It doesn’t take a lot of time, however, to pull yourself together to present yourself in the best possible light. Taking the time to look your best for the day will greatly enhance your confidence for whatever the day brings. And the same advice applies to men. Looking your best, being well dressed, well-groomed and fit speaks volumes about you, your level of confidence and self-respect. It can make all the difference in how you are perceived, both in your career and personally.
All of this is about you being you at your best. It’s about eliminating what is holding you back, and enhancing your uniqueness. Often, especially for women, the main culprit is stress, not getting enough rest, or not spending enough time on the things or people who really matter. Learning to manage stress, eliminating what is negative, embracing blessings, will make a world of difference in how you feel, and thus how you look. Walk confidently, with your head high. Make the most of what you have. Smile! Treat each person you meet as you would treat your favorite person in the world, and watch the universe react with kindness. Being your best is really about moving through life authentically with confidence, strength and positivity.