One of the things we love about travel is experiencing a different sense of self as we connect with the location we are visiting. When I visit the tropics the color of my clothing reflects the aquamarine sea and sky as well as the colorful fish, flowers and birds. My deep red lipstick is replaced by sheer tints of watermelon and guava. My Island Girl self shimmers in the luminous moisture drenched light.
Others love connecting to a European style aesthetic on their sojourns to England, Italy and France, and half the fun of visiting New York City is figuring out what you are going to wear so you can feel like a native.
Do you notice that your reflection in the hotel room mirror seems different somehow? Hopefully your photos capture a face alight with excitement or relaxed for the first time in months. The critic that lives in your bathroom mirror seems to have stayed behind. Why are we so much more self critical at home? Is it peer pressure, or living with daily stress that makes us so hard on ourselves? The solicitous concern of our hair stylist and other beauty professionals is appreciated, but does it help us feel good about ourselves? The answer to the last question needs to be an enthusiastic YES!
Whatever the reason, befriending your reflection is befriending yourself. Growing More Beautiful isn’t something static where you figure out your beauty style and then move on. Who you are becoming is always changing and evolving, and your challenge is to appreciate the path of your life across your face and embrace the way your body supports and expresses you.
Photography can be a helpful tool in the ongoing relationship with your image. For those of you that are convinced you are not photogenic my next blog, “Using Photos to Rock Your Inner Marilyn,” will explain how photogenic people are made, not born, and offer my best tips for interacting with the camera and taking a great photograph.
You can seek out other experiences that further the process of Befriending Your Reflection. It isn’t always easy to look without harshly judging yourself, but if you stick with it you might find your curiosity takes over and you are left with a different impression. When I was on television last year promoting my book, at first I was taken aback by how old I looked under the unflattering lights. But as I watched each interview I was ultimately won over by my warmth and thinking about it now my friendly smile is what I remember.
Last Spring I jumped at the opportunity to pose for a portrait painting class. I confess to a certain unease about this, concerned about how I would appear without my flashing, toothy smile. It turned out to be an incredible exchange of energy to model while the painters dispassionately studied me. The results were a surprise. In my favorite, painted by Mary Fassbinder, I look quite glamorous. My friend Tracy Grissman captured more of my inner spirit, “The difficult moments of what it means to be a creative soul are what interests me,” Tracy said. The next time I looked in the mirror after this fascinating experience I could see a glimmer of something new based on what each painter had chosen to focus on.
Seek out opportunities to see yourself in a new light. Approach the process of befriending your reflection with curiosity, not recriminations. Here are a few suggestions:
- Don’t immediately delete every unflattering photograph. Learn from what doesn’t work.
- Look at yourself openly in the mirror, from all angles. Make sexy faces. Pin your hair up, or muss it with your hands. Pose.
- Clothe Your Spirit and shop for clothes with joyful abandon.
- Spray Jane Bell’s Hawaiian Essence Spray “Naked” all over.
- Reinvent your hairstyle with bobby pins and clips – just for fun.
- Update your lipstick – Now!
- Improve your bathroom lighting.
- Seek out mirrors in natural light. Enjoy your reflection in different venues like your car or a cool restaurant bathroom.
- Whip out your smart phone and take a self portrait anytime you look cute. No one has to know. More on how to use this great tool next time!
If you feel stuck, hurry and come see me in California, or join me in Hawaii where together we can bask in that beautiful island light.