You’re Better Than You Think
Are women too hard on themselves when it comes to their looks — and everything else?
A Dove ad campaign called “Real Beauty Sketches” has gone viral. In it, women describe themselves to a forensic artist who sketches them from behind a curtain. Next, strangers describe them.
Women used more negative words to describe themselves:
- (My chin) kind of protrudes a little bit, especially when I smile.
- My mom told me I have a big jaw.
- I have a big forehead.
- I have a fat, rounder face.
Strangers made more positive assessments:
- Her chin was a nice, thin chin.
- She has nice eyes. They lit up when she spoke.
- She has a cute chin.
- She has very nice blue eyes.
Afterwards, the women were surprised by how much more attractive they appeared in the eyes of strangers who — tellingly — yielded more accurate results.
In fact, Dove’s campaign was inspired by research finding that only 4% of women believe they are beautiful. Meanwhile, beauty can be a huge source of self-worth, which is unfortunate when there is so much more to women — and so much that is more significant.
“Good Morning America” did the same experiment and got the same results.
Last summer’s HBO documentary on supermodels, “About Face,” also found plenty of self-criticism among women who are thought the most beautiful among us. For instance, Carmen Dell’Orefice disliked one photo because it showed her feet, which she deemed “unattractive.” I looked at the photo and saw nothing wrong at all. Perfectly normal and natural looking.
We can be our own biggest critic.
But self-criticism doesn’t stop with our looks.
I’ve noticed that I can be pretty tough on myself. But when I consider how I would advise another person in the same situation I’m much more generous.
Being too harsh on ourselves can be a problem because low self-esteem limits us. When we lack faith in ourselves we don’t try, or when we do try, we are less likely to succeed. Or, we may put others down to feel like we’re better than someone else. But as they say, you can’t love until you love yourself.
If we were more self-accepting and self-loving everyone would likely be better off.