Be Gorgeous, Dah-Ling, at Any Age: The Secret to True Beaut

Photo credit: AllNaturalBodyCareProducts Remember that makeover show on TLC called  Ten Years Younger?  If you don't, picture th...

Photo credit: AllNaturalBodyCareProducts

Remember that makeover show on TLC called Ten Years Younger? If you don't, picture this: one woman stands, sans makeup, in a soundproof box where streetwalkers stare and yap about her freckles, frizz and flab. Yikes!
Yet soon enough (you can exhale now), members of the Glam Squad come to her rescue. They take her for Lasik eye surgery and throw out her retro Coke-bottle specs. They bring her to a cosmetic dentist who caps her teeth with veneers, then send her for a $900 glycolic acid facial peel, a collagen lip injection, a new wardrobe, a makeup lesson with cosmetologist Damone Roberts and a coif by Jenn Macdonald, the beautiful, sassy stylist with hair the color of maraschino cherries. 
Thanks to proud commercial sponsors who forked over big funds to The Learning Channel, the former damsel in distress is now a diva. Just before the credits roll, she looks in the mirror and cries joyful tears of disbelief. Another happy ending.
We love it; we cheer for this Cinderella and praise the Glam Squad for a job well done. In reality, though, many working-class women can’t afford a pair of half-priced Naturalizers, let alone a glass slipper (for whatever that would cost). Some feel old enough to be the Fairy Godmother, or grandmother, for that matter. And most don’t have the time, money or guts to get their sunspots zapped by what looks like a Taser. 
For many middle-class ladies over 30, though, looking ten years younger is an important factor in feeling good—emotionally and physically. Are you one of these? 
According to Patrick Shin, M.D., of Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn., “One of the things that comes to mind regarding the connection between emotional well being and physical health is the release of endorphins,” otherwise known as chemicals in the brain, often found in narcotics, that bring about feelings of happiness and reduce pain.  
Dr. Shin says even a simple makeover can do the trick. Here’s the simple logic: looking young tricks your body into feeling young—feeling good about yourself. And feeling  good makes each day more rewarding. 
But Stacey Hollander, L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist who specializes in women’s issues such as body image and self-esteem, says,“it's nice to pamper oneself, but […] it's got to be for the right reasons. It's a great addition to already feeling good about oneself, not in order to feel good about oneself.  Feeling young should come from the inside out, not the outside in.” 
Many people agree. Regina Smith, a 33-year-old writer and professor of literature currently studying Contemplative Psychotherapy at the University of Naropa, says, “I’m not sure why we’re all so desperate to hide our imperfections. I don’t think makeup is very necessary, but I like to vary my appearance. I like to put on disguises for fun and for mood enhancement.” 
Some evidence does suggest a correlation between looking young and feeling good.
True beauty doesn’t necessarily equal physical attractiveness and youth; it's often synonymous with the possession of sangfroid, a word defined by author and radio personality Barbara-de Marco Barrett as “self-possession under stress,” or grace under pressure—knowing how to deal with day-to-day stress without letting it run you down. This is actually a trait that many women gain with experience (i.e. as the years pass). 
Regina says,
“I listen to podcasts of Tara Brach, a Buddhist teacher out of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, and that helps me to remember myself. I listen to Joyce Meyer, a Christian preacher who gives me tough love pep talks of staying on the right track. I enjoy Bikram Yoga and going out dancing. I spend time with good friends. Mostly, I help other people whenever I can, however I can. That helps me to remember the purpose of my life.” 

Regina believes the key to feeling young is to keep a balance between internal and external beauty: “to stay active, eat well, sleep well, feel passionate about some part of our lives.” 
She adds:
"I think nice clothes are wonderful. I think we need to surround ourselves with kindred spirits. I think we need to cultivate the inner diva as much as the outer one. Without doing these things, we lose ourselves in the messages of the media which say that you have to be young, thin, rich. I think when we take care of ourselves from a more holistic standpoint, we nourish ourselves, and we feel like we matter.”
What are your thoughts on this topic? What does beauty mean to you? Let's hear it!

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1 comment

Zoie said...

I think beauty is a combination of feeling good on the inside and looking great. Because when you look great, you feel great, and your whole perspective on life changes for the better.

...BUT AT LEAST MY HAIR STILL LOOKS GREAT!
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