Let’s Be Kind to Ourselves

Please do me a favor right now: get up and look at yourself in the mirror. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Let me guess–‘oh, I look so old and ugly!’ or ‘I used to be pretty!’ or ‘I hate the way I look!’ If you are saying these things, then stop saying these awful things about yourself–NOW.

When we are young, it is easy to be pretty. We are all adorable when we’re young; our skin is fresh and rosy, our teeth are white, our hair is shiny and silky, our limbs are straight and strong, and all our innards tick right along, happy and healthy as can be. Youth is a wonderful thing, but it’s not the only thing. If you keep looking into your older face, frantically trying to see that young face you once had, then you are looking at the hole and not the doughnut.

We grow older, our faces and bodies change, our minds become sharper and we form our own opinions, likes and dislikes. We begin to step out of what the “crowd” thinks, and we start seriously becoming the people we were born to be. Youth is precious because it doesn’t last long. What does last is who we are. And as far as looks go, we can learn to use skin care products and makeup to enhance who we are–or not. It’s a personal choice. Speaking only for me, I appreciate that my own skin and makeup routine makes me look healthy and attractive, but not, Heaven help us–trendy. Trendy is lovely for the young, but sad for the mature.

Let me give an unasked-for opinion right here regarding plastic surgery. If you have a nose the size and shape of a sweet potato and it’s ruining your life, then by all means get it fixed. Some thing with a huge hairy mole on your chin–get it taken care of. But plastic surgery used to simply stave off looking older; well, that’s up to each person. My own feeling is that, should I get a facelift, then my sagging neck will look even worse. If I get my neck tightened up, well–then my boobs will need to be jacked up or they’ll just look like poor relations. And so it goes….it’s just too much surgery, and in the end, time will get us all.

However, we don’t need to be victims of time, nor do we need to spend a fortune on products. Just having a regular skin care routine; gentle cleanser (oh, and if you wear mascara, all you really need is good old Dollar Store cold cream to take it off), a simple toner like witch hazel, and then a moisturizing day lotion and a night cream. (Use a good lotion for legs, knees, elbows and hands, too. It will make you feel great.) And please–DO use sunblock! Even if it’s cloudy out, those rays still come down and can harm skin. If you drive long distances as I do, put some on your ears as well. In fact, any exposed skin should be covered with it.

Makeup is very personal, too. As we grow older, less is definitely more. Shiny makeup, especially eye shadow, is downright evil in that it draws attention to wrinkles and lines. If you don’t know what to use or how to apply it, do yourself a favor and go to the mall and ask one of the lovely ladies at the makeup counters to help you. PLEASE NOTE: If you use their services, it is polite to buy at least one product when they are finished with you. (Also, despite what they may tell you, it is perfectly fine for you to wear Revlon foundation, Este Lauder concealer, Sephora blusher, Rimmel eye liner, Maybelline mascara and NYC lipstick. Different makeups do not “fight” with each other. Or not so much that anyone would notice.)

All that said, here are some of the real beauty products you should use each and every day, and they cost little or nothing:

  • Smile genuinely. Not only will it make you feel better, but the person receiving it will be touched by it.
  • Appreciate. This means to appreciate yourself, your family, your friends and those around you.
  • Be joyous. Joy can be found in another person’s smile, a note from a friend, a remembered joke, a beautiful sunrise, etc.
  • Love yourself. Yup, that’s right–love YOU. In fact, go right back to that mirror and say to yourself, “I love you!”
  • Breathe deeply. Take the time to pull in a breath right down to your toes, then whoosh it out again. And repeat.
  • Laugh. Watch cartoons, tell or hear a joke, or watch a funny movie. If you laugh so hard that you cry, good!
  • Give happily. Do something for someone else; pay their toll on the highway, smile at someone, let someone pull out in front of you, let your husband/friend have that last slice of pizza. Give without expectation of being given to. It is surprising how happy it can make you feel.
  • Don’t engage in strife. Is there anything more draining that the sound of angry voices? Don’t be pulled in. Let it go.
  • Look for peace. As crazy as life can get, look for peace and you will find it. But you have to look.

One of the best books I ever read was “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Basically, these are the four agreements you should make with yourself:

“Be impeccable with your word.”

“Don’t take anything personally.”

“Don’t make assumptions.”

“Always do your best.”

Once I embraced these agreements (and I hasten to say right here that I am not perfect about them), my life changed in a very positive way. They made me think to say what I really meant. They made me think that everything might not be my fault. They made me think that my assumptions weren’t always correct. They made me think that I should be doing my best. In short, they made me think.

These days where so much is going so wrong for so many, kindness is at a premium. It costs nothing to be kind, and the first person to be kind to is YOU. You are worth it!





One thought on “Let’s Be Kind to Ourselves

  1. diane kirkup says:

    You are good, you!…

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