We tend to be our own worst critic. When it comes to your appearance, no one is more judgmental than you. The second most hurtful criticisms come from the people you love and have entrusted with your emotional vulnerability. In most situations, they are not even trying to be overly critical. They might inadvertently offend you with a glance, or with something they didn’t say at a time when you could have used some reassurance.
It is easy for others to tell you to just get over it. Your appearance is the most personal thing about you. And it is natural to be extremely sensitive about it. Sometimes, just “getting over it” is not an option. There are things we can do to change our appearance. But those things don’t always result in us feeling better about ourselves.
There is also the unfortunate reality that appearance is a factor for career and success. Humanity is not as enlightened as we sometimes like to pretend. People in positions of power make decisions that affect your future based on your appearance. It really does matter. Here are a few things you can do about it:
A Better Smile
Some people never smile because they are ashamed of their teeth. That affects one’s facial expressions. It also affects the way one speaks. A more closed expression can close off opportunities.
Some people suffer needlessly because they are afraid of the invisalign cost for one of the more popular and effective solutions. Being unaware of how accessible this treatment is can lead one to suffer more than they have to.
To be clear, your smile belongs to you. No one should have any say in the type of facial expression you select for a given moment. Sexist ideas of women needing to smile to improve their appearance and make them look less severe is nauseating. It must end.
That said, many women don’t feel like they can smile because of a misalignment of their teeth. They don’t have the option of showing a full range of facial expressions. If you find yourself in that category, you have every reason to be self conscious, and every right to do something about it. Let no one tell you otherwise.
Hack Your Brain
It is possible to brain better. Some have suggested that meditation can change your brain for the better. Meditation is an easy thing to mock until you’ve tried it. One of the best things about meditation is the it requires no financial outlay. You can meditate for free and do it anywhere.
It is also said that smiling can trick your brain into happiness and boost your health. The great thing about smiling your way into a happier day is that you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to do it. That said, there are plenty of over-the counter supplements known to increase cognitive function. No one feels good about losing some of their cognitive abilities. The good news is that you have a number of ways to fight back and feel great about yourself in the process.
Rid Yourself of Toxic Relationships
One of the biggest causes of low self-esteem is the people with whom you surround yourself. Your “friends” might be sucking the life energy right out of you. If you are looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places, no personal makeover is going to fix it.
Start by clearing out your Facebook friend list and only adding back those people that don’t raise your blood pressure. Stop wasting your time and energy with people who are emotionally draining rather than renewing. And become more comfortable with your own, awesome self and less dependent on others to make you feel better.
Self-consciousness, doubt, and shame are destructive forces if left unchecked. Fight back by taking control of your smile, your brain, and your relationships.