Know what breaks my heart? When a friend I haven’t seen for months tells me she was super nervous picking out an outfit to wear for our lunch date. That is NOT how I want anyone to feel, about me or anyone else. Because although I talk a lot about how to make yourself look good, my end goal is to help you feel good. One can lead to the other, in many cases, but the feeling good trumps the looking good every single time. At least in my book.

I love the quote at the top of this post because I think it captures quite succinctly an important distinction between the fleeting, surface-skimming aspects of personal style and the lasting, life-enriching aspects of personal style. There may be a world of difference between what others observe about you and what you, yourself, see when you look in the mirror. But as long as you see a strong, confident, capable woman staring back at you, how you look to other people can become virtually irrelevant.

And this applies to straight-up body image, too. If you look at your body and see a mess of “flaws,” or a disappointment, or a burden, or a fixer-upper project, you may be viewing your appearance through the lens of skewed-but-ubiquitous socially enforced ideals of beauty. You’re focusing on how you look to other people, based on what you’ve been told people “should” look like. But what really matters isn’t how your body looks. It’s how you see that body and how you feel living in it. You shape your own reality, so if you look at yourself and choose to see goodness, power, and beauty, your force of will and intentional positivity can begin to eclipse those manufactured ideals. If you look at yourself and choose to see goodness, power, and beauty, you are, in fact, good, powerful, and beautiful.

How you look is the means, how you feel is the end. How you look is the surface, how you see yourself is the core. And I hope you’re able to see yourself as the unique, exquisite force of nature you truly are.

Image via (couldn’t find original source – please let me know if you know it!)

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