By Jana Sedlokova
What We Think, We Become.
We all look in the mirror at least once a day. There could be many thoughts going through our head - what we like or don’t like about our looks, what we need to improve, what body and face we want. Criticism to our appearance is common nowadays as we often compare ourselves to an image that we consider to be better. This image is created mainly through media. We are constantly bombarded with commercials, ads, movie characters, celebrities, and models all over the internet, TV, and stores, who subconsciously build in our minds the image of “the desired look”. There is also the universal contest for the most beautiful woman and man of the world. This raises the question: how can someone be the most beautiful human being and according to whom or what standards is he/she judged to be the most beautiful? Who is setting these measurements? And should those measurements really be an indication of beauty? The measurements and standards are generally based on outer looks, body proportions, facial features, etc. Is that what beauty is? I have one simple theory on this: “If there are no two individuals with the same DNA, fingerprints, and brain, then how can someone judge me or compare me with others when there is no one like me in the entire universe to be measured with?” The fact is that every individual is a unique makeup of genes, atoms, and energy offering his/her own irreplaceable piece to the human existence. So we must recognize the beauty of our own uniqueness and focus on what we do have rather than what we lack in comparison to others. We must shatter thepressures from the outside world and not measure ourselves by the latest news, commercials, and trends. We cannot possibly look like supermodels, or any other human being, and the pressure to change our bodies will eventually leave us disappointed and tired of trying to be “beautiful”.
But what is this word “beautiful”? Where does it come from? And what does it mean to be beautiful? The definition is different for each of us and can contain many assumptions influenced by the accepted norms of the outside world. But the true definition resides in us. In our childhoods, we all were cute and shined with livelihood. So how do we grow from beautiful babies to not liking our looks? Where did the beauty of our childhood go? Maybe we were told we are not so pretty. Maybe we compared ourselves to popular celebrities and stopped believing in our own beauty. The key to understanding is perception. We change the way we look at ourselves due to filters we build in our mind that form our perception. These are formed with the information we get from the outside world and the standards we adopt. Our mind gets cluttered with opinions of others rather than our own thoughts. And if our thoughts are influenced by those opinions we downloaded, we start thinking that we don’t look good, we are not beautiful, and we need to change to fit the popular standards for what “beautiful” is. If we are short of those standards, we start questioning our self-worth. This is a crucial damage to our psychology because it pushes our behavior into actions that can be harmful to our well-being. We start buying the latest trends, trying the latest hair colors, using Botox, and going under plastic surgeries, etc. We keep pushing ourselves to look like magazine covers or our friends and neighbors, adding stress and anxiety to our lives. When does this pressure stop? We can buy shoes and clothes, we can make artificial enhancements to our bodies, we can get the latest hairdo, but so are the others. We get caught up in a race that never stops, as long as we continue to judge ourselves by outside measurements.
So why do we do it, why are we obsessed with looks? This is because we were not taught where our true worth lies, we were not taught to accept ourselves the way we are, and we were not taught to appreciate the uniqueness of our natural composition. The animal kingdom recognizes it very simply. The elephants are big and that is it. Elephants don’t compete on their looks. And a giraffe doesn’t push an elephant to get skinny and vice versa. I’m not encouraging anyone to overeat and accept an overweight lifestyle, but some people genetically have bigger frames and predisposition to weight gain. So we must understand the theory behind our nature. Being “beautiful” is relative just like Albert Einstein viewed time relative. Why should a bigger frame be less beautiful than a smaller frame? Why should being tall be more beautiful than being short? Why should a skinny nose be better than a wider nose? Aren’t they all interestingly made? Isn’t variety and diversity beautiful? Every human being is different from others, we have our unique DNA and are uniquely designed. We are one in eight billion, one in the entire universe!
So what makes us say “she is more beautiful?” The thoughts are coming from our brain. Do we know how our brain affects our own beauty? Do we know how the thoughts we produce in our daily lives affect our outside world? Or how stress can change the structure of our face? I believe that true beauty begins within ourselves, within our brain. What we think we become. It is time to expand our understanding of the word “beautiful” and to create a new definition for it. It’s time to appreciate ourselves in our unique bodies and appreciate others’ unique composition, rather than compare to some norms. This will help alleviate stress not only for others but for ourselves too.If we think of ourselves as not good looking, the criticism will bring our mood and spirit down, which will affect our performance in school and work, and over time, it will subconsciously create a generally negative attitude in us. In a way, we program our brain to see the negative in everything we do and idealize others, we lose trust in ourselves and think others are better.This will affect our self-esteem, self-confidence, and our ability to succeed in life. That is the power of our thoughts!
So if we have been doing this comparing and judging, how can we change it? The longer we have been repeating those thoughts in our brain, the more difficult change is. But the good news is that anyone can change and live a happier life. So start treating yourself as your best friend! I always say “If we are not our own best friend then who else is?” We always have our own best interests in mind, we just need to think and realize what is truly best for us.
Through my coaching,I have worked with many clients who were preconditioned into thinking that there was something wrong with them, they didn’t like something about their bodies or their behaviors. Now, I wonder what happens if instead of asking you what is wrong with you I ask "What is good and beautiful about You?” Genuinely ask this question to yourself, like you would ask your best friend or someone you admire. You might pause for a little bit and find it hard to see what's beautiful about you. But if you focus on the answer for a while, I promise that you will come up with a long list! So try it, shift your focus from the criticism to making a list of all your great attributes… because there is more beauty in you than you recognize. We are just not used to thinking about what is good in us. From being bullied in school to being criticized and punished by our parents, to being measured by grades or employee evaluations, the society conditions us to thinking about issues and comparing to others who are supposedly better than us. But take a look at your unique fingerprints and the lines in your palms, take a look at the depth of your eyes, think about how amazingly millions of cells function in your body to allow you to live and experience life, think about the unique hobbies and interests you have, the interesting things you know and have learned, the help you have given to others, the hard work you have put in something you wanted, and on and on. Go ahead, make your list! Discover your beauty and fall in love with that beauty, because no one else has it.
Of course there are things we can improve, everybody has room for improvement. Even the supermodels and movie stars don’t live perfect lives no matter how “pretty” they are considered or how much money they have. In the USA, almost every third person struggles with extra pounds. The Journal of American Medicine reports 34.9% of the population is obese. The Census Bureau reports that 46.5 million people live in poverty. Approximately 14.8 million Americans struggle with depression. Half of marriages end up in divorce. The number of the prison population keeps increasing. In short, everyone has struggles. But struggles are generally caused by our lack of understanding ourselves, valuing ourselves, and knowing what and how we can improve in ourselves so we are able to enjoy a healthy, successful, and happy life. Being overweight is a threat to our health and our livelihood. The good news is, we can lose the extra pounds and can improve our lifestyle. Poverty keeps us enslaved but the good news is that we can get education and improve our skills and job opportunities. Mental health can be life-threatening but the good news is we can learn how to cope with stress and how to build healthy relationships. The good news is, our happiness depends on us! And the key is to learn about our brain, how we produce thoughts, how those thoughts affect our experience of life, and how we can change them.
Many of our thoughts are embedded in our brain from childhood. Can you imagine a child who is constantly told that he is not good, that something is wrong with him, that he should look better? The child will develop a habit of not feeling good about himself. He will create the pattern of thinking that there is something wrong with me. But when we guide the child to the realization of his value andhow amazing his inner world can be, the child will grow into a confident adult and act according to that beauty he saw within. Sure we can improve our outer beauty, get fit, take care of the health of our skin, wear clean and coordinated clothes, etc. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be our best, but if our outer beauty is not complimented with the inner beauty of being kind, respectful, intelligent, classy, self-confident, productive, giving, etc., all the wonderful qualities that make life a pleasant experience, then we don’t understand the true meaning of a beautiful human being.
So let’s start today, let’s each of us recognize that our beauty is in our thoughts, in our attitude, in our knowledge, in our actions, in our uniqueness, in our self-respect, and in our ability to continuously improve. What we focus on, grows. If we focus on what's not good about us, we will experience more of it. Recognizing what doesn’t work for us and what is harmful is an important step, but our focus must be on our strengths and our ability to learn and grow. Why focus on anything else other than doing something great with your gift of life? Are you comparing yourself to others and measuring up to others or are you developing your own unique beauty? Are you spending your time on creating something, providing good service, learning about something interesting, and growing yourself into a great human being? Are you grateful for what you do have? Are your days productive in the direction of your goals? Believe in yourself and your ability to set goals and make plans to achieve those goals.You may doubt if you have not been in the habit of doing it but everyone has that ability. Take good ideas from people but don’t let them design your life for you… what you should wear, what you should drive, where you should be seen, who you should make friends with, how you should do this or that. Listen to your inner feelings and your intuition. Be your own best friend! Work towards your goals with a happy attitude rather than complain. With repetition of positive thoughts and actions, confidence will come and your thoughts and attitude will improve. Believe in your power to create your own life because that power is in your thoughts. Life doesn’t happen to you, you create your life through the way you think about it and the qualities you build in yourself. So commit to the Beautiful You and watch your life change! You can replace unhealthy patterns in your brain with beautiful thoughts, you can stop judging yourself and build your own world, you can surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and appreciate what you are good at, rather than criticize you. You can find that childhood joy that has been lost in the clutter of negative thoughts and the norms of the outside world. And if we all commit to building our own beauty, we can create a beautiful world for all.Life can be an incredible journey of identifying and developing who we are. And if you develop beautiful thoughts, the Beautiful You, you can live a beautiful life!
For personal coaching, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org