Looks, Beauty, Self-Image and Perception

by | Dec 22, 2019 | Inner Work | 0 comments

Looking in the mirror isn’t always easy. Literally, as well as metaphorically. Our physical appearance is something many of us have a lot of emotional energy, beliefs, and sometimes chronic patterns of thinking around.

Perhaps more accurately, we react to the image we hold in our minds of what we look like. As many of you have experienced, this picture we draw of ourselves can be quite different than the reality.

You have likely met people who hold a very different picture and assessment of themselves than how you see them, for better or worse!

The emotional charge around this subject can be ramped up even further when framed in the context of relationships, dating, and our overall self confidence in this area.

Many of us can feel like the reception we receive from others is the litmus test that validates our own judgement of how we look, how attractive we are. This can apply in the context of single-and-looking, or inside of any relationship including marriage.

Any rejection or even lack of warm reception can be used to verify our harshest self-criticism, whether that is from a complete stranger or a long-time partner. It can be a brutal, kicked-in-the-stomach feeling that seems to hit you down to the core.

It is also very common to assume everyone places the same amount of weight on looks as we do, and that our measurement of ourselves is far more objective than it actually is.

As with many aspects of inner work, the picture and ideas we hold about ourselves will affect our perception, where we will quite literally look different in the mirror to our own eyes. This may sound hard to believe, but you can experiment with it for yourself.

Our self-image will also affect what we are able to receive from others. For example, if someone tells you how nice you look today, you may reject it as invalid or even fake and insincere based on your own perception. It may be impossible for any compliments to actually make you feel better, even though you may long for them and imagine they will. Criticisms on the other hand may be seen as accurate and accepted as fact.

One of the challenges with this topic is that while there is an enormous amount of subjectivity in it, it can be childish and naive to deny that there are ‘objectively’ different types of good looks out there. While I certainly am not qualified to address how much is nature vs. nurture, someone who looks like Brad Pitt is going to have a very different *external* experience of the world when it comes to certain topics (acting roles, as one very obvious example).

I will however, argue that the differences in these experiences do not automatically lead to more or less happiness, and that our inner world plays an enormous role in how we experience this.

Below you will find excerpts from the class that go through a guided process around this area of looks, physique and more in the context of dating and relationships.

The process itself is something you may find very effective to use on almost any subject. It involves:

A targeted question to bring up belief(s)
Examining that belief
Exploring the feeling behind it, physically, emotionally
Examine your self-image in relationship to that belief
Explore thoughts, feelings, memories connected to that relationship
Process, Integrate

The actual walk through of this is in the excerpts.

These are single video excerpts from a single section of the course, where we go through this process on a variety of subjects.

I hope you enjoy, and please feel free to comment, either here on the blog or on the YouTube video, with questions or anything else you would like to share.

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