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Episode 28 - What if You Were Beautiful?

Episode 28 Overview

I was really excited about this episode when I recorded it, but after living with this work for a few weeks I'm convinced EVERY woman needs to hear it. Years of struggling with accepting my appearance just... over. It's a little bit advanced, but I think it will at least plant a very important seed, even for those who aren't familiar with thought work.

Please listen and forward to the women in your lives, whether they are newly married or not.


00:01 Episode 28. What if you were beautiful?

00:17 Welcome to the First Year Married podcast where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm marriage coach Kayla Levin and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected through practical tips, real life inspiration and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

00:39 Okay guys, I'm really excited to share this week's podcast with you, but I'm also pretty sure some of you are just going decide that I'm completely crazy and this might be your last episode. I hope not. I really hope not because I think that if I'm able to explain this clearly and give this over clearly, I think this could be big you guys. I think this is going to be big for you, it's going to be big for me.

01:02 I had a really interesting experience lately that kind of put me down this little path. I was having a conversation with one of my really close friends and we were talking about how we can sometimes compare ourselves to other women and how some people we don't compare ourselves to. And we got into an argument because I had an opinion about why we compare to certain people and not others. And she had a different opinion. She said in an offhanded way, "Well I could compare myself to you, but I don't." And one of the things that she said off handed was, "I could compare myself to how beautiful you are."

01:38 And I was like, "Well, that's ridiculous. I'm not beautiful." I didn't say that out loud, but that's what I was thinking. She's ridiculous. This is a mistake. She just made a mistake in her thinking. And I kind of dismissed it. And then I went back and I was like, "Well, was that weird?" Later, because I'm extremely vain and I think about how I look all the time. I went back later and I was like, "Well, that's just really bizarre that she thinks that I'm beautiful."

01:59 And then I had this thought and I was like, "Well, I guess they say that it's relative," right? Beauty is relative. We've all heard that a million times. Beauty is relative. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And somehow, I don't know why maybe everyone else achieved this level of clarity much earlier, but I have not. I realized that if beauty was relative, but I had already made a decision about whether or not I was beautiful, right? That's where I was holding. I find lots of people that are beautiful that maybe other people don't think are beautiful. I totally get this concept, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But all of a sudden it went together with the thought work.

02:42 And I realized that what does that mean, beauty is in the eye of the beholder? That means that whatever that feeling is, that appreciation of beauty, attraction, that, that is the result of a thought, right? And what do we always say about thoughts? Thoughts are optional, which means there isn't an objective standard for what is beautiful, right? If it's relative, that means by definition there's no objective standard for beautiful.

03:11 Then I thought wait, so I have a thought which is optional that I'm not beautiful. Or sometimes I'll think like I'm almost beautiful, right? If I put together everything in exactly the right way and the makeup is exactly right and my skin is perfect and everything is working out exactly, the moon is aligned in retrograde, whatever. Everything is exactly perfect and I've slept and I've hydrated. Maybe then I'm approaching, right? I have this whole thing for myself. This is when it can be counted.

03:44 But most of the time the thought is I'm not, and that's okay. And so basically what I had been working on, I think for the last like 20 years was the thought I replaced it with was, I'm not, but I'm okay with that. I don't care about it. I don't care about beauty. And I realized while I was thinking about this conversation that the reason that wasn't working for me is that I do care about beauty. I love beauty. I love things to be beautiful. I appreciate my friends and how beautiful they are. I appreciate random people and they're beautiful and I appreciate really cool architecture and how beautiful it is and the weather and the sky and the flower, right?

04:24 For me to be like, I don't care about beauty. If I ever bought into that, then I would be missing out on all the beauty around me. And if I didn't buy into that, which is what was happening, is that, well I do care and I've decided that I'm not beautiful. Okay, you guys probably already know where I'm going with this.

04:43 Then I had this thought, you can . I really hope I can give this over in a way that's helpful. Then I had this thought, if thoughts are optional so then I could just decide that I'm beautiful. I could just decide it. I'm looking in the mirror and I've told you before, but when I have a thought that is borderline ridiculous, I just crack myself up and I go with it. There's no resistance because... I guess because I've spent my whole life being like, you're almost beautiful. If you work really hard, you'll get there, which I think a lot of us feel that way because, I mean, that's kind of the message that every large company wants us to believe, right?

05:24 Just this one more product and you could be there, you're almost there, there's hope for you, but it's like $20 away or $40 away. This is a thought that I had. What if I just totally take that thought and I just do a 180 and every time I look in the mirror I'm like, "Wow, I'm beautiful."

05:44 I decided to try it out because I love funny, crazy thoughts. I was like, I'm just going to try this for a day. Can I tell you what happened? I spent so much less time adjusting myself. I was interrupting myself repeatedly throughout the day to make sure that my lipstick was touched up or my hair was in the right place or sometimes I would even go and change several times in the morning, right? Because I was so close, I was so close and I do care, I care about beauty. And so if I could just get there, maybe this next thing will get me there. And it didn't. But that was the place I was coming from.

06:28 Then I was just trying on this thought and every time I look in the mirror I'm like, "Wow, beautiful." And then I totally did makeup and I was just like for fun. It's like, "That's fun to put makeup on a pretty face, let's do that. And then let's put clothes on." I'm like, "What do you feel good in? And what do you feel comfortable in?" It was a totally different approach. I didn't stop wanting to do all that. I wasn't like, "Okay, I'm going to wear a potato sack today." I still wanted to do all these things because it's fun for me and it was great. But it actually was fun. Or before I said it was fun, I would have told you, I'm a liar. I would have told you that I wear makeup because I like it. But I actually wear makeup because I think I might finally get to beautiful, but not anymore my friends.

07:13 I'm challenging all of you this week to do it. And you don't have to choose beautiful. You can choose hot, you can choose gorgeous, you can choose adorable, whatever you want. You could just choose what it is. Now, it's really funny because I'm behind on Brooke Castillo’s podcast episodes if you don't listen to The Life Coach School. Once you've listened to mine and rated it and loved it and told all your friends about it, you should go listen to hers too. Because she's amazing and she did one on self-image recently.

07:41 She's taking this to a macro level and maybe some of you actually don't care or you just really have such a strong... I don't know if it's you... I don't want to say that. I have a really good self-image I think. I think I have a really healthy self-image so I don't think that my... I don't want to say obsession. I don't think that my focus on how I looked was because I thought the other stuff didn't matter or I valued it too highly. I think it's because I had this really compelling thought. You could be beautiful maybe if you work really hard, right?

08:19 It was just enough of a tease to really take a lot of attention for me. But maybe there are those of you out there who just this isn't an issue for you, but there might be a different area in your personality where you could apply it, right? And you're like, "I'm not going to math." And if you were like, "Hey, math genius in the mirror." Go for it. You should totally do that.

08:37 Here's what I want you to do. I want you to choose the thing and it could be the way you look. And I do want to make one plug for doing this on how you look because I have not, to be honest, spoken to that many husbands of newlyweds, but I have had a theme in those that I have spoken to. And the theme is, well I mean among other things, but one of them is they are so shocked about what you think about what you look like. They are so shocked that you don't think you're beautiful and they don't really get... They're so surprised by how much emotion goes into that, right? And it's really upsetting.

09:19 And sometimes that could come out in you're going shopping and none of the clothes look right. Or for those of you, the Orthodox Jew people and we're wearing wigs on our heads and we go and we spend crazy amount of money. Because when you get married in the Orthodox tradition, you start covering your hair. And many of us do that with wigs and they cost a ton of money and then we're like, "We look horrible, we look so ugly." And there's like all this emotion behind it. And they're like, "Where did that come from? That's so much feeling and you're beautiful. What's going on? What's the story? What's the big deal?" Right?

09:52 It's something that I've definitely heard. The reason that I want to make a plug for you to consider this area, and you can totally do this in as many areas as you want, is that it is such a kindness. It is such a kindness to your husband. So much of our physical insecurity, I mean it doesn't do anything. It does not do a thing positive for your marriage. One of the nicest things you could do for your husband is decide that you are the hottest woman he has ever laid eyes on and then act like it. What does that mean? Not like you're too good for him. Meaning you are excited to put on something pretty for him. You feel good in your body. You're not insulting yourself while he's trying to appreciate your beauty. I'm not going to get into the details, but you know where I'm going with this, okay?

10:46 It is so important that you work on your self-image and I'm going to make another claim for it because if it's not just my craziness of now I get... I have so much mental space available to me now. Now that I've just... I've just decided that I'm beautiful. I'm not going to debate that anymore. And when I'm 90 and I don't have teeth in my mouth anymore, I'm beautiful. I'm just going with that. This is a good thought. It's working really well for me. As long as it's working for me, I'm going with it. I am deciding this for myself, okay?

11:17 And now all that brain space that was worried about whether I was or not, or if I could be or if I should just give up on it or whatever that... I'm just done. I'm just not going to go there anymore because it's all optional. Again, there's no thought police, okay? Everyone thinks there's thought police. That's why I think this is ridiculous because I think someone's going to come... I mean you all know my thought because I'm putting it on a podcast. Besides that, normally people don't know your thoughts. I'm doing this to be an example to you, right? I'm not going to be running around telling all my friends about how beautiful I am.

11:48 But for you, you're going to decide something and no one's going to know that, right? And what I want you to look at isn't how true is this thought or is this an acceptable thought. I have found that unacceptable thoughts are so much more fun and so much more compelling, okay? My brain would have told me that deciding on beautiful is unacceptable. It's working so well because I don't even know how to resist it. My brain doesn't even know what to do with it. They're like, "Okay, must be true because... System failure." Right?

12:21 You choose the ridiculous thought just out of control. "I am the best in my company. I am amazing at what I do. I am gifted. I am gifted in my career," right? Or "I am a homemaking genius, Martha Stewart should take lessons," okay? Whatever you want it to be. You're just going to go there. You're going to go crazy. You're going to have so much fun with it and I want you to know there is no thought police, so no one is going to check on that thought. You get to just have it. You don't decide on a new thought based on how true or appropriate it is. You're going to want to do that. You're going to think the best thoughts to have are the ones that are true and appropriate. You are wrong, my friend. You are wrong.

13:02 The right thought to have is the one that gives you the results that you want. The results I wanted was more of my brain space available for me to live my life and to do cool things and to coach people and to be with my family and to be with my husband. I was just annoyed with all the brain space going in that direction. It's like a bottomless pit.

13:26 What's my result? My result is I look in the mirror and I smile and I feel great and then I move on. I'm not still wondering about it or adjusting or thinking about it. My result is that I am showing up as a better version of myself because I have this very ridiculous thought in my head that you would think the thought police would tell me, I'm not allowed to think that, right? Like that's not humble or that's not modest or that's not appropriate in whatever way to think that about yourself. But you see how the result is so much better for everybody.

14:01 Now, of course, if I was to say I'm beautifuller than everyone else, I'm beautiful and therefore better, right? There's lots of variations on I'm beautiful that would be problematic, but I would be getting a different result, right? I would notice myself judging other people more. What have I noticed? Once I decided I am beautiful, I am actually, I think more kindly about other people. I appreciate their beauty more. I don't know why. I don't know how that works. I think if I'm just being so critical of myself, then I just stay on critical mode and it's hard to turn it off for other people because if you're just constantly thinking about what's wrong with you, it's really hard not to also notice it with other people.

14:45 But if I'm just like, "Hey, gorgeous." Then I'm like, "And you're gorgeous and you're..." It's just great. It's great. You guys have got to drink the Kool-Aid. Please drink this Kool-Aid ladies, seriously. There are so, so many millions or billions of dollars going into making you feel not good enough and I don't know that you need a lot more than this. You could just decide.

15:10 This was like a 22nd switch for me, right? I was thinking about it since that conversation with my friend because I was noticing my thoughts on it and how confused I was that she said that. But then once I was like, "Wait a second, it's a thought, right? This is not an objective reality. This isn't gravity. This is just a thought. That means it's optional. I get to pick the one that works the best for me." This one works my friends. You're all beautiful, but don't take it from me. Take it from you. And this isn't like a we're all lovely thing. This is like you need the life that you're going to have when you just decide that you're beautiful.

15:51 Those of us who are still hung up on thinking that thinking badly about yourself is going to motivate you, I want to ask you one question. How is it working for you right now? Is it getting you lasting, sustainable, healthy, positive results? Is feeling gross about yourself, whether it's physically or in your ability to produce or how you're showing up at work or whatever it is, is feeling bad about yourself... Oh, you're mothering, your parenting? Those of you who are mommies, I'm looking at you. I'm actually pointing at my computer as if it's your face. I am pointing at you. I am looking at you. If you are a mother.

16:38 Is thinking you're a bad mom because you did X, Y, Z, or didn't do A, B, C making you show up better for your children? No. Then you're not earning any spirituality points by beating yourself up. You're just not showing up as well as you could be. I want you to just decide on something today that you're just done with. You're just going to decide that you're an amazing mother. You're going to decide that you're a loving and caring and supportive wife. You're going to decide that you know exactly what to do with your money, or you're going to decide that you're just drop dead gorgeous. And that's awesome. You're just one of the many, right? It doesn't have to be gorgeous. More gorgeous.

17:23 By the way, I know beautifuller wasn't a word in case anyone . Okay. This doesn't have to be relative to other people, yeah? You always look at the results of a new thought. You always look, how am I showing up and what results am I creating when I think this way? Think about how are you beating yourself up or just constantly evaluating yourself. If I do this, maybe if I do this, maybe my kids only eat organic, then I'm finally a good mother. Maybe if I just get five pounds less, I'm actually healthy. Maybe if I stop eating food coloring, right? I don't know.

18:00 Whatever thing you have where you're like maybe I'm almost there, I'm almost there. Just be there. Just decide that you're there because it's all relative. It is all optional. You could just decide that you're there now and you know what, you don't even have to commit to doing this long term. You can do it for a week, and if you've done this for a week and you are finding that now that you've decided you're a good mom, you're suddenly being a terrible mother. First of all, call me because I am dying to hear how that worked out. I don't know how that would happen. I would need to talk to you, but fine. Then go back to thinking you're a terrible mother. I give you full permission. Give it a shot for one week.

18:38 It's Sunday when this episode came out. I don't know what day you're listening to it. You're going to give yourself a week from the time this episode came out and then you are going to decide, is this working better for me or not? I strongly suspect, I am very confident that thinking more positively about yourself, again, as long as you're not making it being better than anyone else, is only going to allow you to show up more authentically yourself. Just show up by the way, how many of us are just distracted and unfocused all the time? But if you're awesome, you don't need to do that. You could just be there, right?

19:20 If you're struggling with self-image, with self-esteem, especially if it's with how you look, do yourself, do your poor husband a favor and decide you're beautiful, and I will see your beautiful self right back here next week. Take care.

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