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How to Feel Good In Your Skin: 7 Powerful Lessons on Beauty

You are beautiful 1

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” ~Proverb

I struggled with body image for years while I was living in Europe because I have a very fair complexion, oily skin, and thin hair.

During my childhood, people would look at me and comment on how pale I looked and ask my mother if I was anemic. Later on, as I was growing up, people who met me would ask if I was ill, or they would say that I look exhausted, tired, and weak.

It was most difficult during the summers, when there was always a social pressure to get a tan, as I heard a lot of negative comments then. I didn’t perceive myself as beautiful, nor did I think I would ever, until I came to India for the first time.

In India, bright skin is synonymous with beauty (beautiful means fair!), and everyone complimented me there, telling me how beautiful I am, that I am “bright like the moon.”

They also admired my silky, smooth hair and oily skin—in India, they call it “glowing skin” and appreciate it because skin can get very dry, with the hot weather.

Indian women would ask me over and over to share the secret behind my glowing skin, and they wouldn’t believe that it was naturally so oily; they’d think that it must be some cosmetic product from Europe that I didn’t want to tell them about.

Suddenly I realized why all my Indian friends, who lived in my hometown back in Europe, would not leave the house without the sunscreen, why they’d always tell me that I’d be considered very pretty in India, and why they’d joke that I’d get married quickly there!

I was shocked when I realized how much money people, both men and women, spend in India for fairness beauty products. Some women even bleach their skin with hydrogen peroxide-based cosmetics. Yet, in Western countries, people spend a ton of money on tanning products and solariums to get darker skin.

I realized in India how beauty is socially constructed and started feeling beautiful in my own (fair) skin for the first time in my entire life. Or, I should say, I discovered how beautiful I am, with all my Western “imperfections.”

For last two and a half years, since I’ve been living in India, people who knew me for a long time comment on how I look much more beautiful now and ask me to share my secret.

I don’t deny that Indian vegetarian food and the abundance of tropical fruits, together with natural beauty products with neem, heena, herbal oils and sandalwood, are part of the equation. But I believe the major reason is that I started feeling beautiful and good in my own skin.

Here are seven things I learned that can help us all feel better in our skin, with all of our “imperfections.”

1. Beauty is socially constructed.

This was one of the biggest aha moments I had in India. While we may not be considered as good looking in our own country, in some other part of the world we may be perceived as a beautiful person.

In some other part of the world, our height, complexion, hair color, facial features, and body shape—things we might see as “imperfections”—would be considered attractive traits.

2. Our body is our home in this lifetime.

We should be deeply grateful every single day that we have a body, which is our home and our vehicle in this lifetime. We can do so many things with our bodies—dance, swim, run, walk, talk, sit, move, hug our beloved, smile, eat, write, type, pick up objects, work, paint, cook, be intimate with our partner, and so much more!

Instead of focusing on the color or shape of our eyes, which we may not like, we can focus on how fortunate we are that we can see. Instead of focusing on how skinny, thin, short, or fat our legs are, or how much cellulite we have, we can focus on how blessed we are that we can walk, and so on.

3. True beauty comes from within.

Although this saying may sound cliché, it’s actually true. No matter how many beautiful facial features a person may have, a sad or angry face is never pretty. No matter how beautiful a person’s appearance may be, if the same person behaves with disrespect to others, or acts rudely and arrogantly, people will not want to spend much time around him or her.

A smile can bring radiance and beauty to every single face.

An old wise saying suggests that our external beauty is often what gets people attracted to us, but it is our personality that makes them fall in love with us.

4. Stop the negative self-talk.

If we observe the thoughts running through our mind every single day and notice negative self-talk about our body image, we need to consciously stop ourselves and replace those thoughts with positive ones.

Telling ourselves that we are “fat like a cow,” “ugly as a beast,” or that we look “pale and sick” will do us no good. It will only crush our self-esteem and makes us feel insecure and less worthy.

We need to observe these kinds of thoughts and decide that we will not continue repeating the same old negative story over and over again; instead, we will embrace and love ourselves, with all of our imperfections.

It can be hard in the beginning, but the first step to letting go of the negative self-talk is to observe and notice these thoughts coming up. Once we become aware, we can replace them with more positive ones, like, for example, we can focus on what we like about our appearance, or what we like about ourselves that has nothing to do with our appearance.

5. Self-care is the road to self-love.

Self-care can help us feel better in our skin and our body immensely. Nourishing our body with nutritious food, good quality cosmetic products, and massages, and practicing some form of physical activity that we enjoy, will not only help us to feel good in our skin, but also to love and respect ourselves more in the long run.

6. Confidence is more attractive than good looks.

Imagine that you have a choice to date one of two people: The first is someone who is good looking, but very insecure, who doesn’t feel worthy and needs a ton of validation and compliments, who doesn’t feel confident enough to express their feelings toward you.

The second is someone who is average looking but communicative, funny, and courageous, who feels secure and good about him/herself and worthy of you, who makes you laugh all the time, and feels confident expressing their feelings toward you.

Which one would you choose? Very likely the second type of person, right?

7. There are lots of things we can do to feel better about our appearance, and feel better in our body.

Although we cannot change our appearance to the extreme, there are so many things that are in our control, that we can do on a daily basis to feel and look better.

We can wear clothes that resonate with our personality and make us feel more confident, we can do some form of exercise that improves our body tone, practice yoga or Pilates to improve our posture, get manicures, style our hair in a way that we like, nourish our skin, make sure we get enough sleep and drink plenty of water, decide to eat healthier, and so on.

Though we should do these things for ourselves, if we feel good in our own skin and love ourselves, other people will instantly start perceiving us as more beautiful and loving as well.

Profile photo of Danijela Jokic Vaislay

About Danijela Jokic Vaislay

Danijela Jokic Vaislay is life and confidence coach from Europe, living in India. She is helping women to get the confidence they need and live life infused with happiness, positivity, and success. Click on www.kissofhappiness.com to get tips and free resources to build your confidence and create the happy and fulfilled life. Visit her on Facebook & Instagram.

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  • Palak

    Hello 🙂
    I loved your post. Beauty is something which you feel from within, and that reflects on the outside. I would just like to point out the Shy and reserved portion. I think being Shy and reserved or being extraverted is a personality trait. Insecurity can be present in both the types. The one who does not seek validation and is smiling looks more approachable and that has nothing to do with an introvert or extrovert.

  • Hello,

    It is a great article post indeed. Beauty is truth’s smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.

    ~Ray

  • Stacy

    I so very much needed this article, as my tendency is toward negative self-talk about my appearance and size. I can relate to the author’s Western conditioning that fair skin is not as attractive as “tanned” skin, as I, too, am very fair-skinned and people have made so many negative comments about my white legs that it has left me too shy to wear shorts or a swim suit in public. I need to get over that negative programming.

  • Tyrik Jibri Reed

    Beautiful article! I think it’s extremely important for people to begin to realize that their worth isn’t determined solely on what they look like on the outside, Being beautiful should be based on the person as whole; how they treat people, how they’ve benefited society, etc. Thank you for writing this.

  • Lee

    I agree with most of the article, but the example about how someone would prefer a courageous, communicative and friendly person over a reserved and shy person contradicts the message about different types of beauty. Insecurity and a great need for validation are not attractive, but those qualities are also found in extroverts as well.

  • Chris

    I also stumbled a bit at that part regarding reserved shy people, in that i am naturally an introvert. I guess average looking introverts can say goodbye to the idea of being attractive unless they try to be someone theyre not.

  • Katara c.

    I have to admit that when I read #6 – the point about confidence – that it was a draw for me. My first thought was, “well, which one do I *like* better? Which one is a nicer person & better friend?”

    I do agree confidence helps, cos it allows us to more easily show ourselves to others & we get to know each other better cos we’re not so worried all the time. But we shouldn’t confuse confidence with humour or friendliness – someone might be confident, and still be reserved or quiet, while some people use outgoingness & humour to cover up their insecurities. And one way or the other, confidence does not equal a beautiful personality or good character.

  • Katara c.

    Haha, I literally just wrote a comment saying basically the same thing 😛 Good character shows through regardless of confidence, and outgoingness is not the same thing as confidence, either.

  • Katara c.

    No no, don’t believe that! I know some truly lovely introverts, and some extroverts who hit all the “right notes” but are not very loyal friends. I think our culture puts a high value on extraversion, but the truth is much more nuanced than that.

  • Vid

    Indian beauty concepts changed when persians and british took over. In ancient literature, tanned, dark and fair were considered equally beautiful. Beauty was more related with curvy body than skin colour. Since british rule, the concept of fairness and darkness changed the whole concept of beauty sadly. More so I am saddened how women are trying to be painfully thin in order to be model like. Also, I would blame men less for socially constructed beauty concepts. Its women who started waxing “everywhere”, considered thigh gap as beautiful and wearing torturing heels to feel womanly.

  • Thank you so much, Palak! Being introvert is a personality trait, and it depicts a person who prefers to spend time alone and in the small group of people, and is not very talkative, but introverted person is not same as a shy person who feels insecure about themselves (that extroverted person can feel about themselves as well and it has nothing to do with being more intro or extro- type of person, but with being confident about self. That was the point in my post 🙂

  • Dear @Katara08:disqus Being introvert is a personality trait, and it depicts a person who prefers to spend time alone and in the small group of people, and is not very talkative, but introverted person is not same as a shy person who feels insecure about themselves (that extroverted person can feel about themselves as well and it has nothing to do with being more intro or extro- type of person, but with being confident about self. That was the point in my post 🙂

  • Dear Lee, being introvert is a personality trait, and it depicts a person who prefers to spend time alone and in the small group of people, and is not very talkative, but introverted person is not same as a shy person who feels insecure about themselves (that extroverted person can feel about themselves as well and it has nothing to do with being more intro or extro- type of person, but with being confident about self. That was the point in my post 🙂

  • Dear Chris, Being introvert is a personality trait, and it depicts a person who prefers to spend time alone and in the small group of people, and is not very talkative, but introverted person is not same as a shy person who feels insecure about themselves (that extroverted person can feel about themselves as well and it has nothing to do with being more intro or extro- type of person, but with being confident about self. That was the point in my post 🙂 Of course that introverted person can be attractive, and confidence doesn’t need to spoken out loud, but it has to be felt from within!

  • Dear @tyrikjibrireed:disqus Thank you for the beautiful feedback about the post! I love the part where you said that how person benefited the society and how they treat other people is also a beautiful trait! 🙂

  • Dear Vid, it was my desire to pinpoint how due to socially constructed norms women both in Western and Eastern cultures are suffering from body image issues, while true beauty is not emphasized enough, Thank you for contributing with your vast knowledge about the ancient beauty standards, I loved reading about them!

  • Dear Stacy, I’m so glad that you found my post inspiring, I can understand how you feel! :)) Thank you for commenting!

  • Thank you so much @bjchealth:disqus 🙂 Beautiful quote!

  • Katara c.

    Hey Danijela, yeah I know what an introvert is 😉 And I get what you’re saying. But it does come across as “confident = funny, outgoing, expressive”. Looking back at the post it seems the part about being reserved isn’t there anymore – so it makes more sense now.

    I do agree that confidence is helpful cos it helps us communicate better. I’ve just known so many different people in my life that I’ve learned it’s hard for me to say that confidence is *that* important compared to other things. I had a friend once who wasn’t confident at all, but I saw she had many other good traits & thought she was a cool person (even if she wasn’t so sure of that herself). A lot of my other friends couldn’t understand why I hung out with her – a couple even directly asked me why I bother. After a while they all warmed up to her, too; they just took a while longer for them to get past her insecure demeanour. And sometimes we’re just in an awkward spot in life & don’t feel comfortable or confident… but we shouldn’t feel like there’s something wrong with us just cos we don’t feel confident, you know? To me that’s not much different from feeling poorly about ourselves cos we’re not “attractive” by whatever social standard.

  • I do agree that our personality plays a big part in the whole “attractive thing” but being an introvert is not an excuse for staying in the shadow and struggling with communication skills and having a law self esteem as it can be improved and built over time, which can add to overall image of the person and improve her/his life as we have to interact with so many people on daily basis, especially in our professional life. Thx for your insights :))