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A Makeover Starts With Your Self-image

A Makeover Starts With Your Self-image


Like a lot of people facing HIV treatment, clients I'll call Jon and Christie are not feeling so great about their appearance. Jon gets right to the point: 'It's getting too warm outside to hide this belly under a baggy sweater, and I'm not feeling so great about showing it off.' Christie is suffering from a face rash and is hiding under a floppy hat. 'Don't even think about trying to tell me that beauty is only skin-deep!' she says. Who doesn't want to present a perfect face'and body'to the world? The media constantly surround us with images of physical beauty, but the plain truth is that our family genes walk hand in hand with the aging process, and that combination gets very few of us a modeling contract. The reality is that chronic conditions like HIV can also affect how we look. For example, over time some medications can cause changes in body fat distribution or skin texture, which affect appearance. This can be a hit to your self-confidence and result in depression and isolation. But the best makeover begins not with your face but what's inside'your expectations and beliefs. >Start with accepting that each of us has our own look'and our own imperfections. Throw away those images of absolute gorgeousness. Take the pressure off yourself by accepting that you can be an attractive person, inside and out, without living up to an unrealistic expectation of perfection. >Take a look inside, starting with the attitude you project. Have you ever found yourself wanting to avoid'or on the other hand, being attracted to'someone for a reason that you couldn't quite put your finger on? People who allow themselves to wallow in disappointment, anger, and self-criticism seem to wear a sign that says, 'Issues. Stay away.' On the other hand, those who are compassionate, generous, and interested in the world radiate energy that draws others toward them. Developing a more positive attitude is within your grasp; it just takes some work. >Accept that you are more than the sum of your 'hotness.' Sure, who doesn't want to walk down the street and be noticed'if not adored? But beauty is a fleeting thing for even the most beautiful, and at some point life has to be more than what we see reflected in the bathroom mirror. Think about the people in your life who love you and ask yourself what qualities you have that keep you in their lives. Make a list of the qualities that you most value about yourself. Review it when you need an antidote to a negative body image. >Find out what you can do, beginning with focusing on fitness. If you are not sure how anti-HIV medications might be affecting your appearance, have a talk with your doctor. Explore your options, including lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise. Don't forget that taking charge of your health'and feeling your best'is a big confidence booster.  Make the resolution to radiate your own unique personal best, inside and out. McClain is a licensed counselor in New York City with a specialty in coping with chronic and life-threatening health conditions. His books include The Complete Idiot's Guide to Breaking Bad Habits and Empowering Your Life With Joy, and he is a frequent contributor to health-related publications.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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