Learning to Love the Parts You Hate

Learning to Love the Parts You Hate: A Lesson in self-love and finding ways to appreciate body parts society deems as "unattractive"

Learning to love the parts you hate is NOT an easy thing to do – how many of us can honestly say that we’re 100% happy with every part of our appearance?

As so often happens when it comes to dishing out compliments, we see only the best in other people’s appearances (we rarely notice the imperfections) but turn the tables and all we see are the bits of our own that we’re not happy with. We don’t give those good bits enough of the credit they deserve, and we’re all too quick to knock the bits we see as imperfect. Or rather, that SOCIETY deems as imperfect.

Two things caught my attention this week: Firstly, unless you’ve been living under a rock you won’t have failed to notice that Thursday was International Women’s Day (SO many posts on social media with fantastic anecdotes and short stories have appeared this week), and then there was the #sideprofileselfie hashtag.

 

The #sideprofileselfie – the big nose taboo

If you haven’t see the #sideprofileselfie hashtag then it’s basically exactly as it sounds; people (mostly women) sharing pictures of their side profile. It was started by journalist Radhika Sanghani who’d grown up always hating her nose and avoiding photos of her face in profile.

Now this TOTALLY resonated with me because I, too, grew up hating my nose and hated side profile photos even more. That was, until I started my blog. Somehow posting pictures of myself online not only gave me the confidence to embrace what I’d always hated, but to learn to love it. When you look at photos of yourself as much as a fashion/beauty/lifestyle blogger does then you very quickly get used to seeing yourself from all angles, good and bad. And eventually you become desensitised to that honking great feature in the middle of your face when you’re looking at it all day every day*.

(*That does make me sound somewhat narcissistic – I’m not really sitting at my computer doing nothing but looking at pictures of myself all day. I do have other work to do. Oh WAIT, must take a selfie first…)

 

Big noses are only big because society deems them as big, and therefore imperfect, and how you view your “big” nose is entirely up to you and NO ONE else.

 

Radhika started her #sideprofileselfie campaign by sharing a picture of her “big” nose (big being a purely subjective term here) and encouraging others to do the same. What it seems to have done is to make many women, younger girls especially, see that big noses are only big because society deems them as big, and therefore imperfect, and how you view your “big” nose is entirely up to you and NO ONE else. Some young girls have even said that her campaign has made them think again about the nose job they’d been planning for years (since the first time they were teased about it?), so a big high five to Radhika.

(I’ll stop putting “big” in speech marks now, hopefully you’ll get that I continue to mean big in a way that suggests a nose is big only to in the mind of its owner.)

As someone who grew up knowing that her nose wasn’t a cute button nose, and that her profile was something she wasn’t proud of, and that the ONE kid who called her Barry Manilow one day when she was about 11 was the one that made her self-conscious about it for the first time – I know where she and all these other women are coming from when it comes to having a big nose.

 

We place too much importance on what society deems to be beautiful and far too little what our nearest and dearest love about us – perfect, imperfect or otherwise.

 

But this is the thing with our self-perceived imperfections: they’re not imperfections to everyone else. Remember 99% of people really don’t care about you and your everyday woes (in the nicest way of course) – they’ve got woes of their own to contend with. So are they bothered that we have big noses? Of course not. They’re not bothered in the same way that we’re not bothered that they have small boobs or a big bum or short legs or any NUMBER of things that society tells us aren’t beautiful. We place too much importance on what society deems to be beautiful and far too little what our nearest and dearest love about us – perfect, imperfect or otherwise.

I wrote about my love/hate relationship with my nose several years ago and even showed an imaginary “before and after” nose job to demonstrate what I’d always longed for. I’ve long since come to terms with having a nose that isn’t small and cute. I don’t have a dainty profile. I have a STRONG profile. And the very fact that it’s strong is kinda perfect considering that this is the Year of the Woman, and women everywhere are proving themselves to be strong in all sorts of ways.

So I’ll get my #sideprofileselfie on social media as soon as I can – I’ve not done it yet because I’ve had a busy week working hard and being my own #GirlBoss. But that’s a story for another time… 😉 !

HAVE YOU LEARNED TO LOVE A PART OF YOURSELF THAT YOU’VE ALWAYS HATED? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!

Catherine

LIKE THIS POST? YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO READ…

Dressing Without the Fear of “What Will Others Think…?”
How to Make the Most of Your Best Feature (and How to Get One if You Think You Don’t)

 

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Learning to Love the Parts You Hate: A Lesson in self-love and finding ways to appreciate body parts society deems as "unattractive"

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39 Comments

  1. March 14, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    Wow, what rock have *I* been under? I certainly saw all 9,378,012 posts about International Women’s Day but didn’t notice even ONE #sideprofileselfie!

    One thing I love about visiting museums is seeing woman portrayed in various medium throughout the ages. There was the Rubenesque movement (my personal favorite!) depicting the most attractive women as full-figured and curvy! And certainly paintings and statues depicting Roman times show the “Roman nose” as a common feature; no one was photoshopping them down to more petite proportions! It’s all about the style of the moment. And style, as we know, is fickle.

    Everyone is beautiful in their own way (Thanks, Ray Stevens).

    Come on, in just a few years people are going to be looking back at the, uhm, STRONG eyebrows of this era and wonder “what were we thinking??”

    I’m happy I HAVE a nose 🙂

    Bettye

  2. March 12, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    You have got a strong profile Catherine with strong features and I believe that’s why you’re so very photogenic xxx

  3. March 12, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    I always love your honesty! My nose is a little crooked because it’s been broken and not fixed…so I would like to have it straightened out haha!! Thanks for a great post and I can’t wait to read the #girlboss post!

  4. March 12, 2018 / 11:43 am

    Great post Catherine. I too am accepting more of which I cannot chain since my journey into blogging began. There’s still a few…like do I wear skirts, dresses shorts etc without completely trying to cover (as much as possible) the varicose that took residence after my first pregnancy and then just grew in number and size from there? ha! As always, thank you for sharing and for being real!

  5. March 11, 2018 / 2:08 pm

    What a perfect article. I have a very similar nose to yours and I like it. May be because of mom who used to tell me that my nose is pretty and somehow artistocratic. Yours is, of course, perfect! As you as the whole you. Have a lovely day, dear Catherine!

  6. March 11, 2018 / 1:56 pm

    I think a lot of this has to do with just two things, perception & fashion.
    I think your nose is perfectly proportioned Catherine & your profile quite beautiful. Centuries past a “Roman nose” was the symbol of wealth & power. In the end it comes down to accepting who we are, cosmetic tweaks aside

  7. March 11, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    Catherine, this post has totally resonated with me! Now I must go take some side profile selfies. As a woman who also has a strong profile, I have always been self conscious about my nose. Again, stemming back to grade school and middle school…I was skinny and scrawny and tall with a big nose…the gawkiness of my frame and very little fullness anywhere on me or face only served to amplify the size of my nose…and hence my “friends” began saying things like “Michelle ‘nose’ best” emphasizing their intended pun intended that my nose was so huge that they would pretend to defer to my knowledge by pointing out the size of my shnozz. Thanks, “friends”, for creating a lifelong insecurity! (Hint: sarcasm). But a more genuine thank you to real blogger friends who have served to empower me and make me see the true beauty of every imperfection in myself. I never ever allowed myself to be photographed…because all I ever saw in pictures was the huge size of my nose. But now after nearly 3 years of blogging and sharing photos of myself, I can honestly say that I look at photos and see a very wise and beautiful woman staring at the camera…regardless of the size or shape of my nose. So now that I have written an entire blog post in your comments, I will end with a heartfelt thank you, to you…for incredible and inspiring content, and to the blogging community for all of the love and support they give to each other.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

  8. March 11, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    There are so many things about my body that make me feel self-conscious! I do realize that I notice them more than the rest of the world, but just the fact that some one may notice them as much as I do makes me feel so bad.
    As opposed to you, taking photos of myself on the blog hasn’t actually helped. It makes it worse because there are some angles I avoid.
    I work hard to accept my “flaws” and I’ve accepted some things but it’s just SO difficult!

  9. Lynda
    March 11, 2018 / 1:17 am

    When I was in high school and college, I hated the fact that I am pear shaped. Now my perspective is completely different – I am as happy as can be with my body, because it still works! I can still do my favorite fitness class, hike, etc., and am very thankful for that.

  10. March 10, 2018 / 9:31 pm

    Catherine darl! Oh my goodness you have hit a weak spot here! I can never come to terms with my lack of a jawline!
    Perhaps it would help if I dropped a few pounds eh?
    Great talking point…
    bestest Ashley x

  11. March 10, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    Sorry, Katherine, but you are unfair to your nose. From the side you have a very classic Roman profile. Maybe some of your far, far ancestors was born in the Roman Empire. Your profile would look great on a coin.

    • Karen
      March 10, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      Catherine i would be proud of a profile like yours x love the skin you’re in x

      • catherine
        Author
        March 13, 2018 / 1:42 pm

        Karen I do – if you read the post it explains how I USED to feel…!

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      Nicole you missed the point of the post I think… I wrote about how I *used* to hate my nose, I don’t now… I can’t change the way I felt about it in the past!

  12. March 10, 2018 / 6:48 pm

    A very lovely post and an important one. Thanks for sharing this. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful weekend,

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Thank you so much Patrick!

  13. March 10, 2018 / 6:17 pm

    Such a great post! I have parts of me I just have a such a hard time loving, and I really should love them more.

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      I hope you do, Stephanie – have you read the other posts I linked to…?

  14. March 10, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    I think “quirks” create interest, dearest Catherine…and that’s way more attractive than “perfection” ever could be. When beauty is only about some sort of “ideal” parameters, it’s gets bland very quickly…whether we’re talking faces or architecture or outfits. But when there’s something in a person’s profile or a room design or a LOTD that’s a bit “off-balance”, it’s intriguing…and unlikely to become boring anytime soon!! XOXO

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      I know EXACTLY what you mean, Monika… quirks are infinitely more interesting than everything being homogeneous and adhering to the status quo!

  15. Theresa
    March 10, 2018 / 4:07 pm

    Big nose = strong profile? That’s some spin! The obese could say they aren’t big, they just have a strong physique!

  16. Su
    March 10, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    My husband admires the actress Rossy de Palma – here’s a link to photo’s in an article about her nose, her eyes, and what she has been doing 20 years after becoming Almodovar’s muse https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/aug/18/rossy-de-palma-pedro-almodovar-spanish-actor-seduction-great-but-more-being-woman

    The Georgians preferred ‘features with character’ which I personally prefer to the ‘doll’ look, one of the current trends. I had an aquiline bump taken out of my nose after it was broken in an accident, and I miss it!

    No idea why you don’t like your nose!

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 1:34 pm

      YES she’s amazing Su – I know exactly who you mean!! I love the fact that she’s made a name for herself despite her non-beauty standard looks… do you remember her in George Michael’s Too Funky video? It was the first time I saw her and I thought she was fierce.

      Anyway I’ve long since come to love my nose but when I was younger I didn’t like it – there’s a link in this post to my thoughts about it now! x

  17. March 10, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    Great post Catherine! So many great points and very well written. I have many body parts I hate, yet I haven’t grown to love any of them yet. 🙂

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 11:55 am

      I hope it helps you to do just that, Amy… life’s too short to worry about that sort of stuff – concentrate on the positives like how strong and able-bodied you are, many people would be so grateful to have what we have! You’re a very attractive woman who takes pride in her appearance, that’s something to be so thankful for 🙂

      and thank you, glad you liked the post x

  18. Gemma
    March 10, 2018 / 11:28 am

    Big is beautiful. Big is strong!

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 11:48 am

      #StrongArmEmoji 😉

  19. Danish Pastry
    March 10, 2018 / 10:02 am

    I’ve never been a big fan of my nose either, but strangly it wasn’t the facial feature I was teased about as a kid! I grew up being called Mick Jagger due to my full lips, but somehow it never bothered me, and I suspect some of those nasty name callers may actually be slightly envious today!
    I think one of the reasons we don’t see other people’s perceived imperfections is that when we look at other people they’re usually moving, when we look at ourselves in the mirror we’re usually relatively still. This stillness means we can focus on one particular feature in a way we rarely do with other people

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 11:47 am

      I bet they ARE envious of you having full lips, Susan – as a thin-lipped person I know I am! And OMG that’s so perceptive about the moving/looking in a mirror thing… I’ve never thought of it like that before. You’re right – people probably don’t have time to study us in the way that we study ourselves. Wow, that’s very enlightening…!!

  20. March 10, 2018 / 8:59 am

    Hi Catherine. I have used quite some years as a younger person to come to terms with being small. Nowadays, I have not only accepted it, I love it. It makes me special and different and I kind of like that. It still is unpractical sometimes, but hey, only sometimes. Some other times it is even highly practical. I know that my length it is something everybody notices when seeing me for the first time. Nearly no one sees it as something imperfect though, just as something different. I think mainly because I radiate confidence about my length. Being happy with yourself, with who you are and what you look like, that is what people will notice above all. Love, Lieske

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 11:35 am

      Wise words, Lieske – I love the fact that you’ve embraced your height, much in the same way that I’ve embraced my Roman nose! x

  21. jodie filogomo
    March 10, 2018 / 3:21 am

    It is crazy that we get our panties in a bundle about the most unimportant things….like does the shape of our nose really make us a better person. Yet we all struggle with these issues through out our lives.
    I do think it’s age that finally makes us realize how insignificant most of these things are. Like the cleft lip scar in the front of my face. Do you know how many people tell me they’ve never noticed it? And yet it’s the first thing I see in the mirror and all of my photos—-oy!!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 11:34 am

      You’re absolutely right that most people have never noticed the thing we’re most self-conscious about, Jodie. And yes to age making it seem much more insignificant!

  22. March 10, 2018 / 1:01 am

    You are so right! We totally focus on what we dislike about ourselves when others likely don’t even notice. I’ve been in a funk today because I feel yucky about myself…for no really good reason. Just one of those days. I’ve been thinking I want to do a post about self esteem and comparing ourselves. Love this!!!

    • catherine
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Do the post, Lisa – it’s very cathartic!!

  23. March 9, 2018 / 11:34 pm

    HA! Just last week my hubby told me to turn my face a bit, while he was shooting some photos, because otherwise my big nose was shown! Ha ha, I will let him read this post!
    Happy weekend!

    • catherine
      Author
      March 10, 2018 / 12:14 am

      Oh gosh Nancy I hope you do!!!!!!!! Funnily enough Keith LIKES taking side profile pictures of me, I guess he appreciates my strong profile…! 😉

  24. March 9, 2018 / 11:27 pm

    I really, really REALLY! hate my jowls! I might just have to take a side shot of those. (she says biting her lip!)

    • catherine
      Author
      March 10, 2018 / 12:12 am

      Hmm I think jowls is one a LOT of older women will say they don’t like, Laurie… but if you think about it, it’s a totally unavoidable part of getting older. Something you’ll find interesting: when I interviewed Twiggy last week, you can tell she 100% hasn’t had any work done (she actually said she’s terrified of anyone messing with her face). And yet you don’t look at her and think, Oh what a shame about her jowls… you don’t even think about it!! She’s just radiant!

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