While plastic surgery is on the rise, especially among Latinas (more than 1.4 million Latinos in the US underwent cosmetic procedures in 2009, more than triple the number than in 2000); research reveals that while a patient might be happier with an individual body part post-surgery, her satisfaction doesn’t necessarily lead to a happier life.
So what is a woman who doesn’t want to go under the knife to do to ensure her own happiness in a world defined by plastic surgery? Here are five strategies to boost your confidence in your all-natural self.
REALIZE THERE IS NO “PERFECT”
Eighty percent of women feel worse about themselves after looking at beauty ads. Yet more than $20 billion is spent a year on beauty ads. Those beauty ads often have a formula: select a model who represents less than 5% of the world population, shoot the model with the best possible makeup, hair, and lighting, then alter that photo with editing software to create an unreal and perfect image, so that women feel inadequate and buy the product being sold, thinking they will look like the model advertising it. But we weren’t designed to look alike. We are each unique, and our uniqueness is neither perfect nor imperfect. We are individuals for a reason, and embracing that individuality is the essence of beauty.
DEFINE BEAUTY FOR YOURSELF
When I interviewed women for my book Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, I asked each one if she thought she was beautiful. Very few said yes. Then I asked each woman how she defined beauty. They often said words such as strong, confident, passionate, and caring. I would then point out how they had demonstrated those traits during our interview, and they would act surprised. We often see people we love and admire as being beautiful. But then we go on to measure ourselves against the impossible standards the media perpetuates. Instead, aim to define your own standard of beauty and discover how beautiful you really are.
Read Related: Self-Acceptance How To’s for Latina Moms and Daughters
ACCENTUATE WHAT YOU LOVE
What do you most love about your body and face? Maybe it is your cheekbones, your eyes, legs, breasts, or your neck. Whatever it is, create a personal style that allows you to highlight what you love about yourself.
One way you can begin to feel more at peace is by taking better care of yourself. Do one thing every day, no matter how small, to care for you. Common self-care prescriptions include making time for exercise, journaling, drinking plenty of water, getting bodywork done, such as a massage, a pedicure or facial.
PLUG INTO YOUR PASSION
We are all here for a purpose. Each one of us has a unique role we are meant to play in the world, and it most likely has nothing to do with the way we look. What gift are you meant to give the world and in what way? Find what you love and make sure that it is a regular part of your life. It is close to impossible to obsess about your frizz or wrinkles when you are engaged in something that gives your life true meaning.