comscore Column: It’s how you see yourself that matters | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Column: It’s how you see yourself that matters

How do your perceive your appearance when you look in the mirror? If looking young is important to you, it’s likely you will focus on where you are “looking old” and think “ugh” when you glimpse at your reflection.

If looking thin is important, when you see “heavy” you will feel bad. It’s during times you feel down about how you look that your perception of your self is likely not fully rooted in reality.

One of the reasons we dislike certain areas of our bodies, or the way we look is because we compare ourselves to an ideal or others that we think are better or more attractive. We then project those ideals onto our own body image and judge ourselves accordingly.

In the same way a magnet has two sides to make it whole, perfect and balanced, so also do you have two sides that make you feel balanced. True perfection is exactly what you are, but when you only focus on what you perceive as imperfections, you take yourself out of a state of balance.

Body dysmorphia is a disorder that involves the belief that your own appearance is unusually “defective” and is worthy of being hidden or fixed.

I think we all have a degree of mild dysmorphia, body or otherwise, where we look at someone else’s achievement — whether it’s brains, talents or beauty — and depreciate our own smarts, success or looks.

In today’s media-obsessed world of magazines, photo editing and social media, we can feel pressured to live up to a one-sided false ideal that is unattainable.

Anytime we think we aren’t someone of value, we go around feeling “less than” about aspects we are insecure about. When we become infatuated with what we perceive as negative traits, we cannot love ourselves for who we are. This leads us to think we need to look better in order to be loved, valued or be beautiful.

If you have a hard time accepting your aging looks, or anything else about your body, the way toward balance is to redirect your focus. Here are some tips:

>> Acknowledge you have both desirable and undesirable parts that make up the whole of you. While wrinkles and sagging may be undesirable, wisdom and experience are equally desirable.

>> Remind yourself that no person has only favorable body aspects. That is delusional.

>> Appreciate your body for all that it brings to your life. Identify and acknowledge your own unique positive traits often.

We are all made up of a multitude of unique traits — physical, mental and emotional.

Being grateful for what is favorable, along with the array of incredible gifts that only you have, make up the perfection of who you are. Changing your focus can be the difference between illness and wellness.

Your life will be a more enjoyable journey if you seek the path toward loving yourself fully for all of your traits rather than trying to get rid of half of yourself.

Alice Inoue is an expert life guide and the founder of Happiness U. Visit

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