Reminder -- All Beauty Routines Must Stem From A Place Of Self-Like

Whatever you do -- makeup, skin care, clothes, exercise, hair removal -- do it with a feeling of kindness towards your body.
This body is the one that you got in this life, it's the only one. Learn to like it.
I don't really like the term self-love because love is a bit of a strong word to use for the feelings towards one's own body. "Like" I think is better, but the one that fits best is the metta which can be translated as loving-kindness or friendliness.

After struggling for a long time with the question of how does make-up and beauty care fit in with the idea of self-acceptence I have come to the conclusion that for me it's about adornment. It's about beautifying something that I like and accept. I realised this when my small daughter was twirling in front of the mirror in a pretty dress and colourful hair clips. For me she is beautiful without all those things, she doesn't "need" anything more. But me and her find joy in putting a pretty dress on her precisely because because we are free to wear them (or not to). In the same way I try to see my skin care routine, my makeup and my clothes as a means of caring and adorning my body, and not as an attempt to fix it and make it acceptable to myself and others. Gradually I realised that I "need" less and less things to feel good. I feel comfortable when not dressed up or made up, if I don't feel like doing this things. Ten years ago I wouldn't have felt this way -- I was acutely nervous about looking and dressing appropriately.

Imagine you were helping a good friend to get ready for a big event. We usually find people who we like attractive, even if we realise they are not conventionally beautiful. But we are really aware of their best features, of their charm, of the unique things that make them themselves. If you were to dress up or apply makeup on such a friend, you would do it out of a place of joy and acceptance. You would try to find colours and textures that brought out the things you like about them. You would certainly not talk them don and criticise things about their appearance. You'd probably say kind things to them. And not because they are flawless -- because you like them, and because you chose to focus on their best parts.

That's the way you should approach your own beauty rituals. Be your own best friend. Focus on being kind. If need to give yourself this kindness and acceptance, you can't expect them from anyone else.

If you find it hard to accept and be loving-kind towards your body, the first thing would be to gently change your internal monologue. Our inner voice is usually the voice of our parents, and it can take some work to replace it with our own voice. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend. Try to reformulate your thoughts to make them more gentle. When you find yourself talking to yourself in a harsh tone, stop, take a breath, and tryy to say it in a kinder way. It takes a bit of work but from personal experience I know that it can be done.
Look at yourself in the mirror, take a few moments to practice seeing yourself in a kind light. Louise Hay's Mirror Work can be helpful.
Remember that your body is not a decoration, it is a vehicle for you, it's an instrument. It does so much for you everyday. Take time to appreciate being able to walk, see, dance.
Try Metta meditation. It is a simple psychological method, non-denominational, which helps you to practice an attitude of loving-kindness towards yourself and towards other people. Here are instructions, and there are several free guided meditation mp3s if you prefer that.

Photo credit: Adam Jang on Unsplash

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