Thursday, September 19, 2013

Who wants to be like Dorian Gray?

It is an intriguing plot, though I have not read the novel. I was reminded of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray when I read again an article I wrote for Woman Today magazine.

Beauty products and cosmetic procedures are at an all-time high as far as marketing and advertising are concerned. Not only do women (and men, but to a lesser extent) seem unhappy with the way they look, but  the underlying message in many advertising campaigns seems to be one of self-fulfillment, wholeness, and head-turning gorgeous looks as the result of snapping up this product or availing of that procedure.

Regardless of beauty creams, makeup techniques and anatomy-enhancing procedures, here's something worth considering when it comes to the kind of beauty that outlasts the longest warranty for any promise of beauty in a jar, tube, syringe or scalpel.

When forgiveness restores your inner glow
Next time someone remarks on your eyebags or your scowl or on how you seem to have aged, don’t scoot over to the dermatologist just yet. Try a little reflection to see if guilt, anger, and holding on to grudges are wreaking havoc on your looks.


Imagine being sympathetically told “You look tired” when you’re not tired at all, or being asked “Napuyat ka?” when you’re actually starting the day after a full night’s rest (and when what you really want to hear is “pumayat ka?”). When someone chides you with “Bawal nakasimangot dito!” it’s time to face the fact that whatever is bothering you is showing on your face.

Many times such obvious signs of distress are caused by negative situations that remain unresolved. You probably don’t need anyone telling you that since you’ve experienced it many times. But are you aware that one of the most common factors in unresolved matters is the issue of forgiveness? Much has been said about the need to forgive, about how holding on to a grudge hurts the offended party more than it does the offender. “Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison, and waiting for the other person to die,” goes the saying.

On the other hand, have you ever stopped to consider that refusing to apologize for your mistake can have a similar effect? It could be something seemingly petty like “forgetting” to return the 100 bucks you borrowed from a friend, or something with more serious consequences as inventing grave accusations against a colleague.

Whatever the case, refusing to admit a wrongdoing -- and withholding an apology when it is due -- influences a person’s well-being. Unfortunately, this internal conflict finds its way into your appearance, and the result is not exactly a shining example of fresh, natural beauty. In contrast, dealing squarely with the issue and making amends with the person you offended not only restore your peace of mind but boost your good looks as well.

Reduced internal conflict = more relaxed, looks younger
“With reduced stress and internal conflict, a person will end up looking more relaxed, more alive, younger. And what I've seen is that.. women are more relaxed, the shoulders are less tense, and the anger is gone [after the admission of guilt]. They’re beaming, not appearing stressed anymore, parang may glow, because even only admitting the responsibility to me or to one other person, is a big deal,” says Gabby Dy-Liacco, Ph.D, a psychotherapist who specializes in cases of broken relationships and broken people.

“Otherwise, the shoulders are always hunched, it's like the person is always ready for defense, looks angry. Also, before the admission of guilt, the person is angry, experiences self-pity or sadness. This really affects the person, and it shows on the face,” he adds.

Needless to say, psychological stress has a bearing on the body’s overall health, which in turn manifests itself in the person’s looks. The emotional turmoil which may result from an unresolved argument, for example, can be a source of stress that in turn robs a woman of her peace.

“When a person has difficulty resolving an inner conflict, conflicted siya about being remorseful about something she did pero di niya maayos-ayos, that's a source of psychological stress. That has an effect on the body,” the counselor explains.

The rewards of forgiveness
There’s another saying that goes like this: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” According to Dr. Dy-Liacco, recognizing one’s mistake and asking for forgiveness have the same liberating consequence. What happens is that where the woman is aware that she has done something wrong, she “remains stuck” and always feels somewhat “held back” until she acknowledges the truth and is truly sorry for the misdeed.

“It frees a person,” the psychotherapist says, when asked what admitting a wrongdoing and apologizing to the one who was hurt, does. “A large part of the healing will be on the admission [of guilt] and the asking for forgiveness.”

Doesn’t healing in one form or another translate to being at peace? And doesn’t being at peace and experiencing real joy give a woman that inner glow and quiet confidence? Hence, the next time someone asks you “Napuyat ka?” make sure it’s really because you just didn’t get enough rest and not due to some unresolved conflict that’s nagging at you. If indeed it’s a case of the latter, how about aiming for a little reflection to see if all you need to do is offer someone an apology to put that conflict to rest and restore your beautiful glow?

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