One thing that unites the men and women of Team Costhetics is how judgmental we can be about the way we look.

At first, we thought it was because our business is researching the latest news and information about cosmetic surgery and enhancement. Then we realised this isn’t just a Costhetics problem, it’s an everybody problem here in Australia.

A survey of 2000 men and women in Australia of varying ages for a global research initiative on attractiveness found “Australia ranks lower than Brazil and the USA where 15% of the population think themselves attractive, but higher than the UK where only 5% of the populous think they cut the facial mustard.”

Why is that?

Digital Friends Who Don’t Play Fair

Is your feed filled with images of fitness models, fashion bloggers, and celebrities? Their professionally made-up, air brushed, Photoshopped, and enhanced images are impossible to live up to in real life. The kicker is you don’t always know which images have been manipulated. You don’t know how much cosmetic enhancement and body contouring has made a difference, either. That’s not fair!

Solution: If you can’t keep from comparing yourself unfavourably to Photoshopped images, consider changing whom you follow. It’s for your own good.

Toxic BFFs Who Judge Themselves

A friend doesn’t have to judge you to be toxic. How they judge themselves can affect you just as much. If you spend a lot of time with someone who’s obsessed with facial ageing and how ugly fine lines and wrinkles make them look, it’s almost inevitable their self-loathing will trigger similar thoughts in you.

Solution: You don’t have to cut toxic people out of your life. Just make sure to limit your exposure.

“Acceptable” Jokes that Hurt

“…it’s no longer considered appropriate or advisable to poke fun at someone on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Body size and age, however, continue to be acceptable topics for comics to exploit,” reports Psychology Today in their article Why Do We Think it’s Okay to Make Fun of Overweight People? Because these jokes are considered acceptable, we laugh along with them even as they hurt because we don’t want to appear to be humourless.

Solution: Stand up for yourself! Let people know the jokes they make are hurtful.

Career Feedback

The need to look good professional has never been greater or more demanding. Zoom meetings put us up close and personal not only with our colleagues, but with ourselves.  It’s easy to fixate on your image on a Zoom screen and start to nit-pick your imperfections. For example, wide angle shots on Zoom distort your face and make you think your face looks unacceptably pudgy.

Solution: Learn the 6 Tips for Looking Great in a Zoom Meeting from USA Today.

The Mere-Exposure Effect

Formulated in 1968, ‘exposure’ theory shows how people react more favourably to things they see more often…like their face in the mirror. When you look at yourself in something other a than bathroom mirror, you’re likely to be taken aback by even slight facial asymmetries. This is particularly true in selfies, where what you see may feel like an unappealing, alien version of yourself.

Solution: This is a fun one. Take oodles of selfies and look at yourself from every possible angle. It’s a great way to get a good idea of how you really look, while giving you an opportunity to practice useful self-assessment – “My eyes look great here, but maybe I could use some concealer” – rather than useless self-criticism – “I look like a raccoon!”

Feeling better? Costhetics hopes so. Our inner critic is a fickle one, just like yours. Sometimes if offers empowering messages of “You look fabulous and everything about how you look on the outside matches up with who you are on the inside: youthful, confident, and strong.” Other times, the voice tries to pull the rug out from under you declaring, “You look old.”

When the latter happens, take a deep breath and remind yourself of all the reasons your inner critic may be rampaging. Then remind yourself of what Costhetics says, “You’re perfect just the way you are. Really. Perfect.

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