Yes, you are more beautiful than you think you are! How can I make such a stunning statement without meeting you in person? Because you, like many women, have been brainwashed by something beyond your control, a force so strong yet so insidious that you probably aren’t even aware of it. Yet this powerful force is the reason you focus on all your imperfections. You see defects on your face and flaws with your body, and you feel crappy about yourself as you go through your day.
What is this mysterious—yet overwhelming—force? I’ve labeled it girly thoughts—those societal messages women receive about how they look and what makes them appealing. Girly thoughts are born from our need to be loved and accepted. They are nurtured through the fairy tales on which we were all raised, stories that speak to our need to be weaker than we are so we appeal to men, and they are reinforced through the practice of digitally enhancing a woman’s natural beauty to the point that the model doesn’t even look like the actual woman being photographed. The result of this blurring between what is real and attainable and what is not is the huge price we pay for chasing this illusion: we lose access to our personal power, and we berate ourselves for not looking or acting as we feel we should.
During a recent radio interview about my book The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, a professional model called in and told me that when she wakes up in the morning and looks at her face, she is depressed because she does not look like the slick photographs she sees of herself in magazines. She wondered if this negative self-image was an example of girly thoughts. “Yes,” I answered sadly, “this is how your girly thoughts are affecting you.”