A truly beautiful woman is someone who has made peace with herself – her beauty routine is never a torture session.
There’s a lot more to beauty than what you look like. It has just as much to do with body, soul and spirit, as with face, figure and appearance. Beauty may have many facets, but a good dose of self-confidence and a neatly groomed appearance are high on the list of requirements for being ‘pretty’. A carefully groomed appearance shows that you respect and love yourself. Self-confidence motivates you to take care of yourself, and helps you to accept the things that you can’t change.
‘I’ve made peace with my height’
Natasha Forbay (39), paper consultant When she was younger, Natasha developed all kinds of tricks to look shorter on photos, like bending sideways or forwards, or shifting her weight to her hip. ‘During primary school I developed a complex about my height – I was always given a dozen nicknames because I was so tall. As a little girl, I remember praying to Jesus to please make me shorter. I’d get up the next morning and measure myself to see if my prayer had been answered! Then, one day the youth pastor of our church (a man two heads shorter than me!) told me that he would never be taller, no matter how much he wanted to be, or how hard he prayed. And that was okay, because that was how God created him. Between that youth pastor and my husband, whom I met when I was 18, I’ve realised that I’m also okay – just as I am. I’m 1,8m and I wear high heels! There are still people who make comments or jokes about my height – that hasn’t changed much! But the way I react to it has. I laugh with them and enjoy the moment. I’m more than okay with the way I look.’
‘I’ve made peace with my scar’
Ronel (47) and Lize (18) Wessels, mother and daughter ‘When she was one year old and being looked after by a caregiver, Lize fell out of her bed and split her lip. She needed 15 stitches. ‘After the wound had healed, I started to massage her lip regularly to encourage the recovery process. My motherly insinct made me worry for Lize’s sake – I was scared that she’d spend her whole life with an ugly scar; scared that it would give her self-esteem a knock one day. So from a young age I encouraged her to celebrate the things that made her different – including her corkscrew curls! The mark has never totally disappeared, but my child doesn’t have a complex about it. A few months ago a man approached us out of the blue and complimented Lize on her “unique look”. He said that he saw her as the “typical leading role in a French romantic movie!”‘
‘I’ve made peace with my mole’
Marlize Earl (38), make-up artist ‘There were lots of fights in our house when I was little – all because I wanted my mole removed. You can just imagine how it feels when the other kids at school ask you why you have a “fly on your lip”. Our GP allowed me into the operating theatre when my brother’s moles were removed. During the operation, my brother freaked out so much that I got a huge fright. I had no idea that the doctor and my brother had set the whole thing up! But I still didn’t like my mole, until a beautiful woman told me one day that it was a “beauty spot”and not a mole. I started calling it that right there and then, and I was very proud of it, especially when Cindy Crawford became famous for hers! I think my beauty spot makes me different; I wouldn’t be me without it.’
‘I’ve made peace with my curls’
Lizna Snyman (28), beauty editor of Ideas ‘My hair suddenly started to curl when I was 13. I hated it, especially since I have lots of hair, which meant that I could never style or comb it neatly. I remember being teased about my “big hair”! So I tied it back in a ponytail and I blow-dried it straight for ages, until a varsity friend told me that my curls were precisely the thing that made me stand out from others. I decided to start taking compliments about my curls seriously instead of just shrugging them off. Today my hair is my signature statement – the “bigger” it looks, the better!’
‘I’ve made peace with my grey hair’
Joy Smith (51), personal assistant ‘I started colouring my hair in my early twenties. Just thinking of all the money that I spent on hair colour over the years gives me even more grey hairs! There wasn’t a big “aha”-moment that made me change my mind about colouring my hair. I just decided one day that enough was enough, and I gracefully went through the process of growing out the colour until my whole head was silver. These days I feel far more relaxed about my appearance. I don’t have to constantly rush to the salon for an urgent touch-up so that no one sees my grey regrowth. I like my natural hair colour and I love how it makes me feel. I get so many compliments from people, even total strangers.
Self-confidence: you can have it too
There is something about a woman with confidence that makes you look twice at her when she enters a room. Prof Johann Lemmer, a sexologist from Pretoria, explains this phenomenon.
A woman with healthy self-esteem…
- is positively realistic about herself. This means she can objectively consider her talents, passions and gifts, and then focus on what she can do, rather than despairing about what she can’t do.
- doesn’t under- or over-estimate herself, and is conscious of her abilities.
- is not overly sensitive to criticism.
- doesn’t write off valid criticism, but rather uses it to improve herself.
- is generally satisfied with her internal and external being.
- is aware of her faults and shortcomings, and doesn’t blame others for them. She takes initiative to improve where she can and accepts those things that she can’t change.
When a woman feels good about herself…
- she feels loved, healthy, smart and full of confidence.
- she becomes more attractive to others.
- she has more energy.
- she makes friends more easily.
- people like her more.
- she gets a lot done in a day, and the successfully completed tasks make her feel even better.
The road towards increased self-confidence
It starts with a decision. make a firm decision to work hard at developing a positive self-image and don’t be put off by initial stumbling blocks. believe that self-confidence is within your reach, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
Look outside. observe and analyse your body and appearance. Stand naked in front of a mirror until you are comfortable with what you see. Look for your best assets and then the less attractive
ones (remember, everyone has both).
Look inside. Analsye your character and personality and make a list of your strengths and good qualities, as well as those things that need a little work.
Get a second opinion. Discuss your list with someone close to you who understands you and who will be honest with you. If you disagree on certain points, consider them again objectively. Don’t simply accept everything negative that your friend mentions, but don’t write it all off as criticism either.
Broaden your knowledge. Identity and Sexual Identity by Johann Lemmer (Sexology SA) is a good book to read
Qualities of a wellgroomed woman
Her hair is healthy and the style suits the shape of her face. It is neatly styled and the colour looks natural.
Her hands are soft and her nails are neatly manicured.
She has no unwanted hair on her top lip, under her arms or on her legs.
Her make-up looks natural.
Her clothes suit her personality and figure.
She regularly updates her look.