Every day, millions of people wake up and evaluate their appearance by looking in the mirror and asking themselves, "Am I happy with the way I look?" Over 60% of these people answer this question with a firm "no." I believe there is a better and healthier question to ask, "How can I improve the things I do not like about the way I look?"
You know what I’ve discovered? Transforming the negative thoughts we have about our image can lead to practical ways of improving how we look. This positive question has the added benefit of initiating actions to develop the right image we want to project.
One morning I decided to improve the way I thought about how I look. As a child growing up, I hated the mole on the right side of my face. It continued to get bigger as I grew up. I kept arguing with my mother that I would be liked better and look better, if I could remove my mole. If I removed my mole, then life would be so much better. I even thought about going in our pasture and pulling out a hair from one of our horses – tale from an old myth.
When I mentioned this plan to my mother, her response was a basic "Okay."
I was expecting another warm conversation, convincing me that I was normal. However, the short answer prompted me to think. "What was actually wrong with my mole?" "What was wrong with being different?" Having no definite answer, I just had to basically "get over it?"
Now I believe that any defect or dislike we have can be the stepping stones to like and appreciate what we do have. Why? Because it can force you to learn more about what you are feeling and why you are feeling this way. When you understand what has prompted you to dislike how you look, you can begin to make a decision that works for your image.
What often happens, in contrast, is the dislike leads you to insult yourself. Someone may compliment you on your shoes. Instead of a "Thank You", you respond "What, these old things? I have had them for years."
Inevitably, four aspects will infect your self-esteem and you image, leaving strain on your relationships and you job. These four aspects are:
- Withdrawing for a social atmosphere because of how you look.
- Belittling yourself because of your "flaws."
- Seeing too many negative things about how you look.
- Escalating small flaws into major handicaps.
After many years of dealing with people and the way they look, I have finally realized that the greatest antidote to these four aspects – and the greatest thing we can do to build a positive image – was to appreciate what we have. Take a look at the following three steps to discovering how to build a positive image, and you will see how they counteract these four aspects.
Step #1. Make a determined decision that you are highly valuable. All of your differences, - personality, looks, interests, opinions, etc - are priceless. You are put together this way to enhance society. You are here for a purpose. The way you look adds to this purpose.
Step #2. Start making a list today of all the positive things you like about the way you look. Write down the things you love about the way you look, the things you really appreciate. This principle comes from Philippians 4:8, which teaches us to focus on "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right…"
As you begin to make yourself analyze positive aspects of you image almost every day, you start looking for ways to improve how you look. The more you seek it, the more obvious it becomes.
Step#3. Tell yourself everyday in the mirror how you love the way you look. Make it a habit to praise yourself on your image. Use cards or sticky notes in your car and on the mirror.
Some of you may be saying and thinking, "I can’t do this. I can’t think of anything positive." If you can’t tell yourself how great you look, then why should your spouse or friends? You have the power to change how people look at you. Start today.