I finished reading your book Nicole, THE BEAUTY LOAD. I’m older and I decided to change some of my view points about my looks and body so they were more in alignment with my journey in life. My body gave a big sigh of relief and I lost a couple of kilograms just like that. The book also has a great definition for inside beauty – which is true beauty. It is an empowering way to view one self and something everyone, in my opinion, should adopt.
Nicole: Thank you so much for reading it Monique. I am touched and so interested in hearing your feedback. I love the sounds of the effect it has had on you thus far!!
Why do you think people need to be more careful about how they view themselves?
The way we view ourselves sets the tone for the way we experience the world. It sets up our internal world, our beliefs, filters and experiences. It is so very important to our quality of life. If we can be self-compassionate, if we can see our fears as understandable in relation to the beauty obsessed world that we live in, then we can set up a kinder internal world for us to exist in.
I love the quote, peace starts at home. It starts in our internal worlds that we create for ourselves. Do we want to let the consumerist, money hungry marketers make us feel shit about ourselves so they can make a buck and that’s what sets the tone for our inner world? Or would we prefer to notice the fear, understand where it came from and then be kind to ourselves? I believe the latter, while it sounds simple, will allow us to live with more confidence and peace in every aspect of our lives.
What is the best lens to view your own attractiveness through?
Attractiveness is the energy I put out into the world. It resonates with the qualities of my heart and my deeper Self. People can get a feel, a vibe, or a sense of me when they are in my presence. It feels more important when you see your attractiveness like this, to tend to your inner world and make it a place of peace and vibrancy than to fix the surface.
It is a cultural simplification and disregard of any depth to consider attraction to be all about looks. What attracts you to a friend or a lover is very often subconscious or energetic.
I’m interested in what made you write this book?
Nicole: The inspiration for the book was the overlap of 3 revelations. The first was a realisation that even though I had finished breast feeding my babies, and doing the miraculous job of bringing 2 precious lives into the world, I still had niggly body insecurity and negativity. I wasn’t at peace and acceptance with it and quite frankly, I think I was expecting motherhood to be a portal into acceptance.
At the same time, I had the insight as a therapist, that every single woman I helped had body insecurity that had them doubt their worth. This was not isolated to those who didn’t fit the beauty ideals or were bigger or had eating disorders. This was every woman. It cemented in me that something was going on that was not personal or individual, it was bigger than us.
And then I stumbled upon a TV show, that I talk about in the book – it was set in Cuba. The Cuban women were not affected in the same way by self-directed body negativity and the resulting self-doubt. They, as a culture were not exposed to all the western advertising and ideas of beauty that we are.
What I saw made me realise the problem we were experiencing was cultural. Those 3 things combined made me want to explore this for myself, my clients, my daughter and the next generation of women.
What is your definition of beauty? Why is it important?
The dictionary defines beauty as ‘the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction’. And this is what I say about it in chapter 3; It can be used in a similar way to ‘pretty’ without a doubt, but the difference seems to be that where pretty is just about being pleasing to the eye, beauty has a sense of giving pleasure and satisfaction to those who admire it. The capacity to give these feelings of pleasure must come from a deeper place than the surface, as it has the power to touch the heart and soul of those in its presence …
When we ignore the depths of ourselves and just “fix and focus” on our surface appearance, as the beauty ideals of the day encourage us to do, we are missing the point. We might look appealing in a still shot for social media, but have not nurtured the parts of us that give a sense of depth and satisfaction that touches the heart and soul. Perhaps we are beautiful when we are in deep connection with the present moment and at ease within.
What is the one biggest thing that women and men can do if they think of themselves as unattractive?
We need to feel less burdened by the Beauty Load and so stop denying or even minimising the existence of this toxic pressure. When we minimise or deny it, we gaslight ourselves. By that I mean, we stop seeing the culture and advertising and constant pressure as the problem and we see ourselves as the issue – we internalise the pressure and the pain. This is what causes us insecurity, self-doubt and the constant striving to be better to feel enough.
Really look at the culture and all the ways it influences us. Be more aware of the messaging you are exposed to and then, as I have mentioned to be compassionate to ourselves for the discomfort that it makes us feel.
Do you still have bad days?
Yes of course, I still have days where I look in the mirror and think Eugh! I am an aging woman, in a culture that idolises youthful beauty, so that goes without saying. Reading this book will not miraculously make you feel like you never have a bad body moment or day. Instead, it will help you when you do have those moments, because they are inevitable with the world we live in, to be compassionate to the part of you that is worried.
I believe that when you know that this is cultural conditioning and that it makes sense that a part of you is worried, it changes how you respond to the worried part and in moments of self-doubt but it doesn’t delete those moments from existence.
What can we do with the ageing process and beauty?
We can grieve. Look, aging is hard because our youth is not coming back. When youth and beauty have been connected to our value for so much of our lives, it is a big loss and one that warrants grieving and processing. Afterwards it is possible to embrace the freedom and power that an aging woman’s body and the life that comes with it, offer us.
As well as writing the Beauty Load you are also a relationship coach. What advice do you have for people out there who are dating?
Dating is both daunting and so exciting. It is an opportunity to play with the energy of attraction, which is so much fun, but it can also be a tender time where you will feel your insecurities as they are on high alert.
My advice for those dating is to come back in and be the one who looks after you, rather than being out there looking after your date. For example, instead of being fixated with what the other person thinks about you, check in with yourself and see how you feel about them. Check in with how you feel in their company instead of just trying to win them over as a default setting. Also, remember that your attraction and magnetism come from your energy, heart, Self, sub-conscious childhood stuff, pheromones etc….your attraction is so much more than just the way you look.
Thank you Nicole so much for your time and energy.
Nicole’s book can be bought at:
- Book Depository
Nicole Mathieson also offers relationship and couple therapy. She helps men, women and couples get smarter and happier in their intimate relationships. nicolemathieson.com
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