The Toxic Parts Of Your Beauty Routine Aren't What You Think
Without realizing it, you might be toxifying your system every day even though you make conscious choices to take care of your health and appearance by eating well, exercising and using organic products on your skin. What contaminates all the benefits of your healthy habits won't be found on an ingredient label.
What really needs to get thrown out with the rest of the old, toxic makeup is the persistent negativity that is has become far too ubiquitous. The running stream of harmful mind chatter about how we wish we looked embeds itself into our brains and living in a state of self-deprecation becomes normal. It also destroys our ability to feel beautiful, loved, free and powerful in our daily lives.
Here are five of the most prevalent ways in which you may be unintentionally poisoning your own beauty, along with some practices to help turn it all around.
Comparison often leads us to a place of focusing on what we aren't by idealizing someone else. We think if we can be like that, somehow we'll be happier, more accepted or less rejected.
The perfection many wish to achieve is often just an illusion anyway. As a makeup artist, I get to see every un-retouched woman (and man) in their totally natural state: models with acne, thin women with cellulite and flabby bums, 17-year-olds with dark under eye circles, fitness models who've dehydrated themselves for days to be camera ready.
The worst thing we can do is assemble a collage of different people part by part, creating one "perfect" superhuman who couldn't possibly exist to compare ourselves against. There will always be someone younger, richer, thinner, with better [fill in the blank] than you.
Like chasing a mirage of water in the desert, you'll die of thirst striving to be this imagined perfection because you'll never arrive there.
Practice: Start by noticing the comparisons you make and how they make you feel. Then gently steer your mind's focus to something you can appreciate about who you are now. Breathe deeply into the feeling of self-appreciation so it becomes your new normal.
2. Compliment Rejection & Deflection
When someone gives you a compliment do you squirm and immediately respond with what's not so great about you or by offering a knee-jerk compliment in return?
This type of toxic behavior is far more prevalent among women who are often worried they'll be thought of as vain if they agree they are beautiful. Yet, these same women frequently confess to me they genuinely want to be acknowledged for their beauty.
The craziest part of rejection and deflection is that it creates a circular pattern of no one ever feeling the intended love. By not accepting a compliment, you actually strip the joy and pleasure from the person offering you good energy through their words. Not only do you keep yourself from receiving kindness, you also keep someone else from fully expressing it.
Imagine how much more delicious life would feel if you realized that accepting a compliment was an act of love for both people!
Practice: Say "thank you" after someone says something nice to you. Then be silent for three whole seconds while you take a cleansing breath and let the words sink in. Notice how it feels for you to just accept kindness. This can open you up to receiving goodness in other areas of your life too.
3. Pointing Out Your Flaws
Saying self-deprecating statements (often masked with a joke) out loud is a precarious way of exerting some control over insecurities. Maybe you think, "it won't hurt as much if I say what I know everyone is already thinking when they look at me."
Chances are, no one really noticed. It's likely that you're the only one who's so acutely aware of whatever it is. By calling out the flaw first, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy that someone else will pay attention to the very thing you wish would disappear.
Practice: Stop pointing out your flaws. If you're feeling insecure around someone, shift your energy to emote a way of being that feels good, like joyful, charming, engaged, relaxed or alluring, as examples.
4. "Fix It" Mentality
Seeing yourself as a list of problems that need fixing — wishing you were different than you are — is surefire way to experience suffering.
Yes, there is a procedure or product to fix just about any area deemed problematic, but that still won't guarantee your happiness. People have their legs broken and lay in traction for months to be taller. Some women have bones removed from their feet to fit into stylish heels. Also a lot of those solutions can create new problems.
Practice: Write out your "fix it" list and what it is you think you'll achieve if the issue is fixed? You may be surprised by what comes up if you just let yourself write without judgment and uncover the thoughts driving the non-acceptance.
Despondency shows up when you let disappointment and self-defeat take over. It sounds something like, "Why bother trying? It's not going to make that much of a difference anyway."
So many women beat themselves up saying the reason they don't wear makeup, have perfect hair or look like a fitness god is because they're lazy. Most women I know are anything but lazy — their days are packed with meaningful activities.
By calling yourself lazy, you've just sent your brain another message about how bad you are for not trying harder to look prettier, that you aren't good enough. All of that negative thinking is a way of feeling defeated, powerless and hopeless.
Practice: Acknowledge you made a choice to direct your time towards other priorities and allow yourself to feel pleased about all the wonderful ways in which your life works well.
Really, how much more of your life energy (and money) are you willing to spend chasing the mirage? When you free yourself from the un-kind shackles of unrealistic perfectionism, you'll possess true beauty. Then it won't matter what anyone else thinks because you'll feel so damn good in your own skin!