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Robert Tornambe, M.D.

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5 Ways We Should Change Our Perception of Beauty as We Age

Posted: 03/18/2013 12:58 pm

The aging process involves changes in every aspect of our lives. Physical and mental alterations inevitably occur, for better or for worse. While senses like eyesight and hearing eventually deteriorate over time, we also mature and develop wisdom from experience, which are valuable attributes. The manner in which we temper these changes certainly affects our quality of life.

This is especially true regarding our own perception of beauty, either personal or the perception of others. I believe that a healthy maturation of our processing of the perception of beauty will improve the aging process and boost self-esteem. Here are five ways our perception of beauty should change as we age.

1) Ignore the Media's Perception of Beauty and Learn to Trust Your Own Perception

Unfortunately, we rely on "beauty authorities" quoted in the media to define beauty for us. The standards and criteria of beauty set by the media have been manipulated and bastardized and are wrong, absurd and unrealistic. Our role models have become 20-something starlets and fashion models whose photographs have been carefully orchestrated, airbrushed, Photoshopped and drastically altered.

We must learn to interpret beauty as a package of physical and mental attributes that meld into a person who is beautiful on the inside and out!

2) Allow Your Maturity to Broaden Your Perception of Beauty

Thankfully, our tastes change and, hopefully, improve as we get older. Just as our taste in food, wine and fashion vary, so should we widen our scope of beauty. We should learn to appreciate the different characteristics of beauty of different cultures. Our Western culture defines facial beauty by symmetry with a combination of average characteristics without perceived flaws, like a large nose or enormous lips. Other cultures embrace asymmetrical characteristics as attractive quirks or idiosyncrasies that allow an individual to stand out in a crowd, in a good way! Open your mind and try looking at people in a different light, I think your will enjoy the freedom.

3) Let Your Perception of Beauty Age With Dignity

The aging process is inevitable, and it is futile to chase lost youth, and to some, perceived lost beauty. Do not climb on that treadmill to nowhere of crazy fad diets or magical face creams that claim will erase wrinkles. Instead, develop what I call a "healthy vanity" routine by choosing a reasonable diet and realistic exercise regimen. That combination will do wonders for your body and your self-esteem. Learn to recognize and appreciate the beautiful qualities in yourself and others in every decade of life.

4) Realize That Charm, Integrity and Warm Personality Play a Key Role in One's Perception of Beauty

Have you ever met someone who appeared physically attractive initially, but after you got to know that person better, he or she somehow got ugly? It could have been an off-color comment or something about their personality that instantly changed your opinion about their looks. It is called human nature, and the quirks or qualities of some one's personality can enhance or detract from their physical beauty. We learn that personality and charm and charisma increase a person's beauty and rudeness and boorishness detract from it.

5) Choose Realistic Role Models to Champion Your Perception of Beauty

We must embrace the fact that true beauty does and must transcend the decades as we age. We need to change the unhealthy perceptions, attitudes and behavior to make it better for the next generation. We must educate our children to recognize that physical characteristics alone do not make someone beautiful. We must stop sending the wrong, unhealthy, superficial message to our children about the definition of beauty. It would help to choose role models who make sense: smart, vivacious, confident people, representing every decade of life. Not celebrities! I am talking about special people that we all know and see every day, who are beautiful for all the right reasons. Your child's teacher, a neighbor, a friend's mother or grandmother are just a few examples. We all know these people and it is time to recognize that it is their type of beauty that we all need to strive for!

I firmly believe that adopting these five changes in our perception of beauty represent a positive step forward regarding our attitude toward aging personally and our perception of others.

Those who look for beauty, find it. -- Unknown

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