When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Huffpost reports as many as 4 out of 5 women suffer from low self-esteem. There always seems to be something we’d like to change about ourselves — be it birthmarks or stretch marks, hips or lips. But what would happen if we put down the curling iron (or straightener, or scissors) and gave ourselves a self-worth makeover and confidence boosters instead?
A key factor of beauty is mindset — which is why confidence is so damn sexy. We all gravitate to people who feel comfortable in their own skin. We all know that woman who acts at home in any room she walks into, who carries herself with irresistible assurance. Guess what? You can be her. Try out these perspective-shifting “beauty boosters” and get ready for the glow-up:
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Indulge in a good friend-hype
Nothing serves as an uplifting reminder of your beauty (inside and out) quite like surrounding yourself with hype women. Supportive friends remind us of who we are when we lose sight of that truth ourselves. When we feel loved, we feel desirable. Affirmation can be transformative. So allow the uplifters in your life to do what they do best. Be fans of your friends and let them be fans of you.
Pick out a new accessory or clothing piece just a little flashier than what you typically wear and watch how it impacts your mindset. Stepping out of your comfort zone builds confidence — even the daring little choices count. No need to wear something that isn’t you, of course. Don’t feel forced to reach for unstably high stilettos or a dress in an obnoxiously loud print. Instead, this might mean pulling on a patterned pair of pants or a shimmery tank top. It might mean donning a pair of tassel earrings or zipping up some snake print boots. Bonus points for anything in a bold shade of red. A color often associated with daring and passion, that ruby lipstick or pair of scarlet heels will leave you feeling audacious. And if you don’t feel secure in your own sense of style, recruit the feedback of a fashion-forward friend you admire.
Strike a Pose
How many times have you heard the phrase “Fake it ‘til you make it?” According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, “power poses” can lower our cortisol (the stress hormone) and boost confidence. Her lecture on exploring the effect of “expansive” versus “contractive” postures happens to be the second-most watched TEDTalk to date. So rather than shrinking in on yourself (signaling to others and yourself that you’re doing your very best to disappear) — uncross those arms, pull back those shoulders and straighten that spine. This has the power to influence your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
And don’t forget to flash those pearly whites. Other studies have found that smiling a) tricks your brain into a happier mindset and b) makes you appear more attractive to others.
Make a Move
Have you ever stopped to appreciate how spectacular your muscles truly are? Most of us don’t possess a perfectly toned stomach… But our abdominal muscles do us all kinds of favors every single day. Treat your body like the artwork it is by signing up for a dance or pole class. These physical practices allow you to be expressive while deepening your respect and appreciation for your beautiful body. At the same time, the music and exercise will give those happy-making endorphins a serious boost.
Yoga is also great in this regard. As you flow through your poses, find amazement in all of the exquisite ways your muscles stretch and twist. If you’re not feeling like a guru after your first session, don’t throw in the towel. Be patient with your body as you explore and expand its capabilities.
Self-care might seem like a different category, but stick with us. Tending to our well-being makes us feel more beautiful because we give value to the things we devote our time, money, and energy toward. That’s why you’ve invested so much into your education/business/experiences over the years, right? So whenever you do something for your physical or mental health, view it as a loving little reminder of your self-worth… from yourself. It’s not just a facial or a long hot bath — it’s a reminder. So the next time you make that choice, intentionally take a moment to tell yourself, “I care about you.”
Walk the walk
Practice your confident stride. A hesitant gait demonstrates uncertainty, while hanging your head tends to signify shame. That’s not you. Remind yourself that you are engaged with the world around you, not the cracks in the sidewalk. Shed the slump, make use of that long spine, and walk the walk. You know where you’re going… So move with purpose!
It’s time to start embracing that beauty confidence, Lovely. We’re cheering you on!
Johanna Harlow is an arts and culture journalist for several publications. She enjoys dipping her toes into worlds different from her own by interviewing everyone from cinematographers to photographers, architects to actors, lyricists to muralists. She is also a screenwriter and lives in California’s sunny Bay Area.