Viva Challenge: be less critical of your beauty

I had the opportunity to meet with a few beautiful ladies last week, including some readers of Viva Woman. Through the conversations we had, I realized that we’re all overly critical of how we look. It’s either we’re not happy with our skin, or we’re not happy with our hair or our body. Yet, we don’t realize that others are actually admiring us for the very same attributes we dismiss so easily! I then remember reading in an editorial note recently that “research shows that others see you as 20 per cent more attractive than you think you are” and that’s because, when you look in the mirror, you’re simply judging yourself on looks without the personality!

Tips to make you more positive about your beauty
Remember my entry don’t fuss over every spot and line where I quoted Chizu Saeki and her wise words that the overall demeanor and luster of your face are far more important in determining the impression you give? Well, easy said than done, but if you follow these ten tips (click through for more explanations) shared by the authors of Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change, it might help change the way you look and feel about beauty.

  1. Beauty is not just a physical experience, but it is a psychological one as well.
  2. We can’t stop the physical changes of aging, but we can change our experience of it.
  3. While aging is inevitable and irreversible, self-image is not.
  4. Beauty is in the “I” of the beholder. If we become our own internal “eye,” we can take control over how we see ourselves, rather than give it over to other people to determine if we’re attractive or not.
  5. Chronological age does not have to define you. You can define yourself at your chronological age.
  6. Put your beauty in your identity, not your identity in your beauty.
  7. Take an honest look at who you are, not what you look like.
  8. Rob beauty of its power over you. Take back that power and you will feel more beautiful.
  9. Become less afraid of aging and you will look more beautiful.
  10. Beauty matters to all women, but to those who age beautifully, it matters neither too much nor too little.

Master the psychological process of dealing with beauty
According to the authors, Vivian Diller Ph.D. with Jill Muir-Sukenick Ph.D., edited by Michele Willens, dealing with your looks as they inevitably change is a psychological process as well as a physical challenge. Master the first and the second will come with much more joy.   And they can’t be more right about this because I’ve been thinking quite a bit about no. 8, 9 & 10 in particular.

So today, I like to issue to challenge to everyone and to myself too – that we should appreciate our beauty and be less critical of ourselves…and of others too.  Yes, start recognizing that we’re all beautiful…in our own different ways!


  1. AtelierGal says:

    This sure comes in handy to keep me from freaking out today. I love the picture ?

    How come you never ask me along for the talk? lol

    It’s a natural thing for women to be critical of ourselves, whether you’re a supermodel or a ordinary girl. It’s easy to tell your friends to look beyond your physically appearance but seriously, its hard to apply the philosophy on yourself

  2. sesame says:

    Nah, no talk lah…it was coincidental I bumped into some of these lovely ladies.

    Yes, like you said…it’s quite hard to apply on ourselves but we should try. That’s why this challenge! I think positive + positive = POSITIVE! ?

  3. Jyoan says:

    haha, I think the thing about this mentality stems from being Asian. I belong to the breed of people whom some friends would call thick-skinned (buay hiao bai in Hokkien). When I think I am the best, I get criticised for it. That is just rubbish. Of course you should think you’re the best, everyone is a born champion to start with.

  4. Jo says:

    It just really make me feel bad when ppl my age have like beautiful porcelain skin.. and i don’t>< thanks for the post.. i really need to stay positive.. although it's easier said then done

  5. stella says:

    i guess we do live in a very ageist society after all, particularly in asia – ironically, in contrast to confucian traditions. just look at how youth and beauty are so overhyped, even in the professional arena for one. having moved from a big local company to an american mnc recently, i definitely feel this q acutely.

  6. pf1123 says:

    Gee….perhaps I think myself 20% more attractive than what other ppl perceive of me. Hahaha…come up to a point where I just bochup…

    I think beauty is like a hobby for me. ?

  7. fwy says:

    Most people are okay with their looks until they realised this may affect their chances of geting a job. I agreed that we should not fret over our looks. However, if it threatens your job or even for some people to the extent of their marriage or finding a life partner, then we should try to be more well-groomed.

  8. rinaz says:

    As a teenager, I’d always be critical of how I look like horrible hair, pimply face. Now I look back and look at the pictures and think to myself, I don’t look so bad!

    So nowadays, most of the times, I just heck care. As long as I feel happy with myself.

    Oh and cosmetics helps too ?

  9. sesame says:

    Hmm…not so sure about it just being Asian. Recently, I read that Angelina Jolie is frightfully afraid of growing old so I think it’s a global mentality. Of course, her securities are compounded by the fact that she’s a public figure.

    But I really like your confidence! I think it shows up well in your pictures too! ?

  10. sesame says:

    Well, we have to deal with the problems on our skin but not to the extend of being overly negative. I know it can be hard cos I’m currently experiencing this self-consciousness due to the acne outbreak. But if our self-esteem is low, it doesn’t help our image either.

  11. sesame says:

    But I anticipate a subtle shift because it’s getting too easy to look young and good and so natural may come back in a big way…who knows?

  12. sesame says:

    That’s good! When you feel good, and are less bothered by people’s definition of beauty, then it’s going to show in your confidence. I find confident pple good looking.

  13. sesame says:

    I agree we should take care of ourselves and be well groomed. I don’t really think one needs to be extremely good looking for jobs though…unless you’re in a certain industry where better looks will put you at an advantage. At the same time, personality is important…it’s the entire package.

  14. sesame says:

    Yes, a bit of packaging and grooming will do the tricks. I’ve seen people with imperfect complexion but they just look attractive to me because of their personality.

  15. Susanna Hess says:

    Wow you nailed it. We are so critical of ourselves.

    I have 6 sisters, and it amazes me when we all get together. I look at these sisters and think they are the most beautiful women. But to hear them talk! You’d never think.

    Thanks for this, it was inspiring.

  16. flym says:

    I think a large part of our insecurity comes from worrying about how others perceive our appearance. I tell myself to quit worrying about that cos it’s really not important (unless those people are really dear to me). And besides, I’ve got a life to live and so I’d better live it well and meaningfully before I expire.

  17. CT says:

    I have always see myself as a fat pig & plain jane. Guess I must stop buying magazines, as I tend to compare with those models. From today onwards, I shall tell myself I am BEAUTIFUL and simply love myself more.

  18. sesame says:

    It just dawn on me during these conversations I had with some lovely ladies. We just couldn’t stop picking on ourselves…

  19. sesame says:

    Yes, you’re spot on. We are just too conscious. I am insecure about aging and I talk about it almost every day. I must try to break out of that!

  20. sesame says:

    You’re beautiful!!! I love your skin tone and complexion! And you have a wonderful height to wear a lot of pretty clothes. I don’t see you as fat at all…

  21. Angel says:

    Yes! I have been hard on myself lately and I need to stop or else I will poison my young mind with negative self image! And I reallt don’t want that to haunt me. ? So I’ve been trying to be less stressful about my look, I tell myself I look cute and try to ignore my little flaws and figure that it could be worse! I have a great bf who thinks I am cute and loves me w/o makeup and that makes me very happy and encouraged too. Good luck! We are all lovely, smart and beautiful women!

  22. sesame says:

    I like the idea that we also surround ourselves with positive pple…not as in they’ll lie to you just to make you feel good but they are encouraging and get you thinking better about yourself. I think that’s important too.

    You know, a lot of young pple don’t look good when they’re young and with the right attitude, they grow up to become beautiful swans. So you’re on the right track gal!

  23. N. says:

    Good advice. Tough stuff though.

  24. sesame says:

    Well, it’s more of shifting our mindset. Not so easy…but not that tough if we put our mind to it.

  25. Ginger says:

    I have been visiting your blog for a while. I appreciate how you write about new info everyday. Its great and I enjoy reading it. I think though this has to be the hardest challenge to actually accomplish lol.

  26. sesame says:

    It is hard I agree…I also think it depends on the state of your skin. People with skin issues will likely find this a bit ridiculous but I think it’s a mindset one has to overcome. Being overly conscious and unhappy about one’s skin problems isn’t going to help the problem so might as well be more positive and not be too consumed by it. Yes, it’s easier said than done but I believe it can be done.

Leave a Reply