In order for you to comfortably interact with people and leave your mark on the world (in whatever way that may be), you need to learn how to be yourself. But what does that mean? It means being at ease enough to feel and act in a way that comes naturally to you.
Who you are is made up of many things: your feelings, tastes, style, viewpoint, how you think, and what you like to do. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you religious or spiritual, or do you believe in science and logic?
- How do you view politics, the economy? Are you concerned about the environment, poverty, war?
- Are you outwardly affectionate toward those you love? Are you involved in the lives of your family and friends? Or are you shy, somewhat of a loner?
- Do you feel strongly about certain issues and simply have to tell people how you feel? Or do you keep your thoughts and ideas to yourself?
- Are you thirsty for knowledge? Like to read and write? Are you inquisitive? Suspicious?
- What makes you get up in the morning? What inspires you? What brings you joy?
- What are your passions? How do you like to spend your spare time? Do you like sports? The Red Sox? The Yankees?!(This one is very important!)
All of these things (and more!) make up who you are inside. When you meet someone, it’s easy to put yourself and your needs aside to show someone that you care. But never give up your essence — what makes you YOU — to try to please someone else. Think about this. What if:
- Isadora Duncan stopped dancing?
- Eleanor Roosevelt kept silent?
- Rosa Parks moved to the back of the bus?
- Lucille Ball suppressed her zany sense of humor?
- Oprah gave up her dream of broadcasting?
- Elvis stopped gyrating?!
The world would have lost out on greatness! These people were all true to themselves and, as a result, touched the lives of millions of people and many generations. So nurture your talents and embrace who you are! Who knows where your passion and imagination might lead?
Embrace and Accept Your Self
Don’t obsess about your looks or hair, or berate yourself because you’re not thin or don’t always say the right thing — and that goes for women and men. So many of us put ourselves down on a daily basis, and it’s just so unhealthy. Have a realistic view of yourself. Never stop trying to be your best, but don’t pick yourself apart all the time. Stop telling yourself you’re not good enough and don’t keep comparing yourself to others. In September 2004, Jamie-Lynn Sigler star of the HBO series The Sopranos gave a heartfelt talk at Colgate University about her struggle with anorexia and bulimia a few years earlier, in an effort to help other women who may be dealing with similar problems. And it was recently revealed that while battling the diseases, she was so unhappy that she considered suicide. She said that she kept saying, “Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I be happy? I have everything. I just don’t understand. I don’t want to live anymore.” The chair of the Colgate Activities Board commented that what Jamie-Lynn spoke about was “something everyone had or has issues with: self-image.”
Frankly, most people don’t even notice those few extra pounds or that imperfect hair day, and as far as your intelligence goes, you can always improve that by reading and learning new things. So from now on, every morning when you wake up, look in the mirror, smile and say, “Hello gorgeous!” (and be sure to greet your friends in the same way!) Cut yourself some slack. Be gentler with yourself, and embrace your unique characteristics — your curls, your curves, your verve! We can be our harshest critics and hold ourselves to ridiculously impossible standards.
Cultivate Your Own Style
Another way of treating yourself with love and respect is to take care of your health and your appearance, and take pride in your own uniqueness. Sculpt your choices so they reflect who you are and what’s special about you. You are one of a kind and can decide who and what you want the world to see. Make selections in your wardrobe and makeup that will make you look and feel your best without going overboard or trying to live up to the expectations of others. Wear clothes that accent your positive features and that are comfortable – not everyone is tall and fits into a small size. Find clothes that complement your fuller body type. Wear jackets that elongate your shorter torso. In other words, dress for your specific size and frame.
For example, pear-shaped people usually have narrow shoulders, a defined waist, and generous hips and thighs. The best looks for this body type is fitted on top, a defined waistline, and a loose fit around the hips. Round-shaped people usually have a generous middle and slender legs. For this body type, you should wear longer tops and avoid those that bunch in the middle, and wear clothing that draws the eye to the leg area. Straight shapes usually have upper and lower torsos of equal length and flat bottoms. Here it’s best to avoid thick belts, wear v-neck sweaters, and low-waisted items. Heavy people should avoid anything too baggy or too tight and look for dresses that flare out at the waist.
What’s important for everyone to remember is to:
- wear the right color for your skin tone,
- avoid high-waisted and pleated pants, and
- make sure your clothing fits you.
When you take good care of yourself, you send a message to your brain that you love and respect yourself, thereby enhancing your self-esteem. What that means is, if you feel like you’re all that, it will show — you will exude confidence! When asked if they prefer surgically-changed faces and bodies, most people said that natural was better. They said faces that looked altered by surgery or appeared “pulled” or “stiff” weren’t as attractive or interesting as were the quirky, unique ones. Believe it or not, perfection can get boring after a while!
So embrace your individuality. When your partner and those around you see your confident sparkle, they will feel your power and treat you accordingly.
Find Your Scent
Scent is a very powerful force in the science of attraction in animals and in humans. According to a Time magazine article entitled “The Chemistry of Desire”, by Michael Lemonsick, scientists are studying the function of chemicals produced by the body called “pheromones”, which are effective in causing a sense of attraction. Beginning at puberty, both men’s and women’s bodies give off pheromones naturally and, although we don’t “smell” them as we do, say, food and flowers, they do have a strong effect on us. Studies have shown that these scents not only have a lot to do with sexual attraction but also how people react to one another even in the most subtlest of ways. With this science to back them up, perfume companies have begun adding synthetically manufactured pheromones to their products, advertising that their scents are guaranteed to attract the opposite sex!
According to a report on WHDH-TV in Boston, it’s been proven that certain smells can trigger emotional and physical effects. For example, chamomile is said to relieve stress, peppermint to keep us alert, and eucalyptus is commonly used to clear nasal congestion. In the science of attraction, there have been a number of reports claiming that lavender, as well as the smell of cinnamon buns, pumpkin pie, and licorice, can all boost a man’s erection!
The Smell Report issued by the Social Issues Research Centre claims that women are highly sensitive to male pheromones, particularly around ovulation and that the male pheromone “androstenol” has been shown to attract women. However, when not freshly emitted, however, the smell can be received by women as “highly unpleasant.” Women are also said to be sensitive to the scent of musk, which exists in products for both men and women. So if you are wearing a perfume containing musk, you are much more likely to arouse women than any males in the area! And one last thing to consider, while some scents may attract the opposite sex, it is important to make sure that your intended knows that you are the one smelling so good! When in a crowd, the arousing scent may not be able to be traced back to the person wearing it.
When we use perfume or cologne, each concoction mixes with our own natural chemistries. That’s why one scent can smell differently on two separate individuals. Sample a variety of products until you find a fragrance that is subtle and mixes well with your body. And believe me, the person will let you know when you find the right one. It can become your signature scent.
This article has been edited and excerpted from Boot Camp for the Broken-Hearted (New Horizon Press) by Audrey Valieriani. Based in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Valeriani is the creator of TheAccidentalExpert.com, which provides relationship coaching.