Actually I think when you get right down to it most people are acutely aware of their own perceived flaws and shortcomings than other people that we might meet during the course of our days or lives.
But in a society like ours where appearances seem to matter so much — and almost every kind of media image and product marketing seems so laser-focused towards the idea of “beauty” being a standard to be lived up to instead of an expression of who you are inside — it can cause lasting effects to a person’s self-esteem.
It’s an issue that’s been around for ages, but recently one companies marketing department thought to do something about it. Over the past few years the Dove soap company has been working through their advertisements to highlight issues that are frequently extended by the way beauty products like soaps and moisturizers are sold. Using models with differing ages and body types, focusing on the idea of a daily beauty regimen as an empowering experience rather than an attempt to keep up with others.. it’s been something that you’ve probably seen and noticed in commercials on TV and ads in magazines.
But their most recent campaign takes this approach even further. Perhaps realizing that the issue isn’t really how women approach the technical process of achieving and maintaining beauty as much as it might be the way women in particular view themselves, they decided to try an experiment.
The results are pretty powerful. See for yourself.
The ads, directed by John X. Carey, feature a forensic artist sketching regular men and women in two different ways (the longer cut is here). First they had the person describe themselves, telling about their various features — knowing that for many of us describing our faults is sometimes more of a reflex than anything.
Then for the second sketch, the artist talks with strangers who had a chance to meet those same people from the previous drawing, and have them offer a description that becomes a drawing. The differences in the sketches, as you can imagine, are striking.
Whoever you are, reading this now — take a second sometime today and look in the mirror.
Are you seeing who you are, or are you seeing what you don’t like about yourself?
If you’re falling into that trap — it’s time to stop. Of course it’s not an easy thing to reverse, especially if some of your images have come from the negative statements of others or perhaps experiences that you think reinforce that negative self-image in some way.
But I’m telling you, OHN fam — you’re all beautiful. Even if you can’t always see it, it’s there.
So start looking for real next time. Start seeing the good things.
And to help you let go of the bad, here’s what I suggest. In the comments below, take a second to list those things that first come to mind when you think of flaws. Those things that you see in your mind that maybe aren’t flattering. If you feel comfortable enough to do so — list them in the comments.
- Bald spot.
- Spots/Scars on my left arm.
- Weird long eyelash that I never remember to trim.
- Spare tire around my belly that I’m still struggling to get rid of.
These are the things that I see in myself that I would love to change. They’re the things that I almost always see in the mirror.
What are yours?
I bet what you’ll find in the replies will show you that the things you’re seeing aren’t what other are noticing at all.