- Gender and Relationships»
- Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships»
- Female Self-Image
The Sexiness of Self-Worth
The biggest obstacle men and women face in the initial stages of dating is fear. Everyone has felt “not good enough” at one time or another. A man fears rejection and a woman fears she isn’t pretty or shapely enough to attract attention. It is normal to experience some trepidation about our physical appearance, but there comes a point in life when we have to say, “OK, I’m doing the best I can with what I have and I like who I am. When it is all said and done, my heart and mind will see me through the day.”
Looking Beyond the Surface
And it’s true. Let me be even more direct. Self respect will carry us through the day. A good moral compass, common sense and determination will get us where we need to be, whereas physical beauty will only get us so far. If we are trying to do the right thing by others, then already, we are bringing something valuable to the table. Let that be enough for now. We are all a work in progress when all is said and done. So relax. Besides, we all know a whole lot of “average” looking people who have managed to date, eventually marry, and create nice lives for themselves... and they managed this spectacular feat without the advantage of chiseled features or perfect body proportions!
Nonetheless, overcoming a feeling of inferiority is often easier said than done.
Realize Your Worth
Hollywood has not helped. The media and Hollywood are in the business of sales, not truth. Hollywood willingly forsakes facts, and the fact is: We are all more than our bodies and our pretty faces. Nevertheless, many women (and men) have bought into the whole body image hype, thus having fallen into the trap of believing their desirability stems primarily from the way they look. This is foolishness.
I’m not knocking natural beauty. No way! Everyone is born with natural gifts, and if one person has physical beauty, while another has natural artistic talent and yet another has an extremely high intellect, then more power to us all. We can credit God, our parents, or biology for the abilities we are born with. Our responsibility is to develop our gifts in order to better improve and enjoy our lives; only then can we begin to take some credit for our talents. That being said, we need not be self-denigrating at any time in our lives. The point to remember is that we've all encountered physically beautiful or talented individuals who are ugly on the inside and who may as well be physically ugly for all the attraction they inspire.
The pursuit to become more attractive is a $160 billion-a-year global industry that includes weight-loss programs, cosmetics, skin and hair care, perfumes, cosmetic surgery, health clubs, and hormone injections. Americans spend more money per year on beauty enhancements than they do on education.
Anyway, perhaps due to our youth and rather sex-crazed culture, not to mention a lack of strong self-esteem, some American women make the mistake, in the initial stages of dating, of trying to prove their worth. We’ve all seen women who all but stand on their heads to “prove” their desirability. (If you don’t believe me, just watch ABC’s, The Bachelor.) The trying too hard thing is nonsense. If a man has asked a woman out (the operative phrase being, he asked and she didn’t fling herself at him), then he has already found her desirable and is now dating her to find out whether they “click.” Yes, he also wants to have sex with her, but that decision remains under her control unless the guy is a murderous sociopath.
It is important for women to realize that men like the female body. Period. Men are fascinated and frankly, overwhelmed by women's bodies. Men like tall women, short women, thin women and plump women. Some guys like women who are tomboys – the kind who can fish and camp with the best of them. In other words, one size does not fit all. (Well OK, if you’re a Victoria Secret model, you’re good to go, but only about 1% of the population are that well sculpted.) Men are visual, (we all know that) but you would be amazed at what men find beautiful. Women are actually a lot pickier about what constitutes female beauty than men are.
Actually, Most People Have "Average" Looks
Obviously, no one should forsake their appearance for any reason. Any self-respecting woman is going to take care of herself in whatever way she can, and this is as it should be. On the other hand, becoming obsessed with "physical perfection" will get us nowhere except perhaps to a psychiatrist or the nearest plastic surgeon. One percent perfection is not obtainable for 99% of the population. That’s a good thing because it means we can call Hollywood on the lie that only youth and beauty equal a desirable person.
Physical beauty is thrilling, but unless it is accompanied by intelligence, poise and self-respect, we are dealing with a rather vapid thrill indeed. What goes on between the ears is that which keeps sexual attraction lasting and alive.
If you simply look around you, you'll notice that most people are “average” and that's just perfectly normal. Being "average looking" just means we still do the best with what we have and let the chips fall where they may. The truth is that women need a man who appreciates who she is... inside. Yes, men love our bodies and that is perfectly natural and good. However, women cannot and will not feel secure, safe, or happy with any man unless he respects her mind as well as her body.
Traits Men and Women Want in a Future Spouse
According to Sociologists, Christine B. Whelan, University of Pittsburg, and Christie Bayer, University of Iowa, the top four traits are:
- Dependable Character
- Emotional Stability
- Pleasing Disposition
The Beauty of Authenticity
Truthfully, we've all met people who are not beautiful in the traditional sense, yet who are somehow very attractive, and even sexy. We find such people highly appealing because of their intelligence, humor, kindness, and/or authenticity. My point is that a woman can have sex appeal even if she is not beautiful in a glossy magazine sort of way. She is captivating because she has a brain and she uses it well. Furthermore, she values herself. In other words, her confidence is the sexiest thing imaginable. This is no exaggeration. So if you were blessed with a pretty face, that's icing on the cake. But first, you must have the ingredients for a good cake. Consequently, it is important for women to develop their minds, self-esteem, and humor, and not rely exclusively on her physical features to see her through the day.
Respect Trumps All
Love is not all you need, nor all your wife or husband needs, and certainly not all your children need. We all need respect, especially from those who are closest and most intimately connected with us.
Peter Gray, Ph.D
A Word About Poise
A compelling woman also has poise. Poise is the single most important trait that a woman must develop if she is to be successful in dating. Simply put, poise or self-assurance comes from our knowledge of and belief in our intrinsic worth as human beings, whether we are physically beautiful or not. Both women and men have a habit of forgetting that the "outer package" is only one aspect of who we really are. In truth, our minds and hearts lend us strength and vulnerability--two important qualities that make people interesting, approachable and lovable.
In closing, consider this quote by an actress who is surely subject to the demands and restrictions of Hollywood: "I've known women who wouldn't be considered conventionally beautiful, but because of their self-confidence and humor, they're the hottest women in the room." ~Kirsten Johnson
Ms. Johnson knows what she is talking about!