The Reclaim Your Life Series for Busy Entrepreneurs
This is the third blog of a new guest series. At the end of each post, look for the Take 5 for one easy way to infuse more wellness into your busy life.
Guest post by: Laura Kaplan, Psychologist and Life Coach
A few weeks ago, I did a video shoot for my website. I was very excited in that it felt like the shoot went well. The videography team was helpful and inspirational, and made me feel comfortable with something that isn’t in my comfort zone at all. I was really looking forward to seeing the videos.
Fast forward to this week when I was able to view the first video. I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. My stomach was in knots, my mood crashed, and I felt miserable. I said everything I wanted to say in the video, but I could not get past my appearance. All I could see was an old chip in my tooth, my round face, a few wrinkles, thinning hair, etc. I COULD NOT GET PAST IT!
I shut the video off and walked away. I was so ashamed of myself because I preach self-love. I help women to accept themselves exactly as they are. I spend hours giving talks, writing blogs, and coaching women to stop worrying about their appearance and start living their lives. And here I was unable to watch my own video about getting confident and happy. Seriously!!
So for a few days, I didn’t look at that video. Instead, I tried to wrap my head around my feelings and my strong reaction. Like many women, I’ve spent much of my life thinking that my appearance was the most important aspect of me. It was hard for me to realize that I haven’t shed all of that nonsense. Not by a long shot. Back to the drawing board for me.
I spent the rest of the week focusing on what makes me feel wonderful; family, friends, and work. Through my work, I began to feel strong and confident again. I felt loved and cared for by family and friends. I reminded myself again and again of my own strengths and accomplishments and not one of them had to do with how I look. That is how I got my talk and my walk back.
Later, I went back to the video and I watched it with a clear, yet kind eye. I saw a woman devoted to her work. I saw a woman who tries hard to do good every single day. And I saw a woman who was flawed. Not because of her appearance, but just because we are all perfectly flawed and wonderful because of it. I critiqued the video for changes that I wanted to make. Those changes were not because my hair looked bad.
Clearly, this appearance obsession isn’t going to be an easy one to dump, but it hasn’t gotten the best of me yet. The least important aspect of me is how I look and that is the same for all of us.
Me: I originally read this post on Lisa’s blog and knew that I wanted to share it here. Most women and girls struggle at some level with the appearance self-critic. The research is conclusive on that, but we don’t need the stats as we have all lived it. Her openness and vulnerability makes us all a little freer so thanks Lisa.
As always in this series, I asked Lisa for that one Take 5 takeaway that was doable for busy women.
Lisa: So what’s one thing you can start to do differently right now to move away from the appearance obsession? Everytime you catch yourself focused on how you look add a comment to yourself about something you’ve accomplished. “I don’t like how I look in this shirt . . . but I’m really pleased with the report that I handed in earlier today.” Once you get in the habit of focusing on an accomplishment versus your appearance you will be well on your way to breaking the anchor of worrying about how you look.
Thanks to my friend and fellow feminist and dog love, Lisa Kaplin for sharing her experiences. Lisa is a psychologist and certified life coach at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com. You can reach her at Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com.
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