How well do you see yourself? And how does it compare to how others see you?
Skin care company Dove wants you to know that you are more beautiful than you think.
According to their research, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. The other 96% spend so much time focused on their imperfections, we’ve completely exaggerated them. We’ve tied our self-identity to an outer image that doesn’t even exist.
So to prove it, Dove conducted a fascinating social experiment they call Real Beauty Sketches. They hired an FBI-trained forensic artist to draw two sketches of each woman while separated by a curtain: the first based solely on the woman’s description of herself; the second based solely on the woman’s description by someone she had just met in the waiting room.
The results are heartbreaking. Watch:
It got me to thinking: if we want to be perceived a certain way, the first step is to change how we see ourselves. What we believe about ourselves is what we portray. A stranger might not be able to see it right away, but we can be sure our family, friends and colleagues do. We’re putting ourselves into a box of our own making.
An experiment focused on the exterior is helpful because we can all see the discrepancies, but that doesn’t mean its lessons are any less relevant to what’s happening on the inside.
If we don’t see our true selves, how will we ever see the truth inside another human being? If we’re so disconnected from our own reality, how will we ever come to understand theirs?
Empathy starts with self-love. And self-love starts with self-awareness. It should be no surprise then that self-awareness starts with an awareness of how we are perceived by others.
It’s time to hold the mirror up and get to know that person staring back at us, through someone else’s eyes. And in return, we can show them the beauty we see inside of them.