Self-acceptance and self-love are worthy pursuits, and the pull toward perfectionism and external validation are common pitfalls along the path.
Once a Hollywood icon and sex symbol, 81-year-old Kim Novak has been in the news since last night’s Oscars ceremony. The Chicago-born beauty agreed to make a rare public appearance to present at the Academy Awards, and has since been lampooned for her apparently altered looks.
Without speculating on Kim Novak’s mindset or motivations, I think many of us can relate to the exhausting pursuit of perfection referenced in this blog post on the topic of her appearance Sunday night. It’s heartbreaking, exhausting and pointless.
Blogger The Siren refers to this feedback Novak received early in her career.
The card at the modeling agency where the 20-year-old was working said: “Hands, marginal; legs, hefty; neck and face, flawless.”
It’s no wonder so many in Hollywood seem to have such a fractured image of themselves.
If we ever hope to be comfortable in our own skin, we must aim to accept ourselves as enough first and foremost, regardless of outside approval or opinion.
It reminds me of a quote I heard once from Chicago politician Carol Moseley Braun:
Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.
The same goes for accepting ourselves, although self-acceptance is even more fundamental than self-definition. Necessarily, accepting ourselves in our current state must come as a predecessor to defining any path for self-improvement or growth.
You’ll never arrive at your desired destination without first identifying your starting point. Before progressing along our path, we must first find, accept and acknowledge ourselves where we are in order to chart the direction in which we need to travel. Without knowing your place of origin, it would be impossible to know with any certainty whether you are moving forward or backward.
But before delving into self-improvement, our challenge is to reconcile the judgmental imperfections of the outside world with our own self-worth by cultivating a view of ourselves as whole as we are, rather than a hole waiting to be filled by external affirmation.