I missed the memo about functional delusions.
You know that thing your mom taught you about beauty being in the eye of the beholder? Well, I’ll go ahead and tell you that I behold myself as beautiful. Wait, wait, wait…I promise this isn’t going to devolve into a Christina Aguilera song, but seriously, thinking that you’re pretty even if you’re not isn’t the worst lie you could tell yourself.
I’m kinda short, a little chunky (but I’m working on it…), I have wrinkles and pimples (sometimes simultaneously, how effed up is that?), cellulite, frizzy hair, and my eyes are just a little bit too far apart. I could go on, but that’s embarrassing enough. Despite my many flaws, I usually walk around feeling like I am good-looking. However, when I catch an unexpected glimpse in a reflective surface, I’m often a little horrified at what I see. My mental image is sometimes very different from my actual image.
Those little moments of incongruence are pretty painful, but they’re usually fleeting. It’s like I’ve made up my mind that I’m totally hot and thus willfully ignore all evidence to the contrary. This works for me. When I walk around feeling pretty, even if I actually look like hell, I feel more confident. And we all know, confidence is sexy…
Confidence is, of course, the ticket to so many good things in life. Friendship, romance, good jobs…when you’re confident, these things come just a bit easier.
There’s probably a fine line between the kind of functional delusions that give rise to a healthy bit of confidence and full-blown megalomania. It’s probably enough just to feel like you’re awesome and gorgeous, telling everyone that you are is probably going a bit too far. I talked before about dysfunctional modesty, and if you have to choose between pretending you’re less than what you are and pretending you’re more, why not choose more? Perfect realism and objectivity probably aren’t possible…every mirror is a fun house mirror to some extent. So I usually choose my happy delusions.
And here’s the thing…when I act like I’m gorgeous, there’s a bit of a feedback loop which helps me to actually be gorgeous. I make better decisions about taking care of myself, and this in turn creates an upward cycle of well-being. Healthy and happy usually shows on your face, don’t you think? Memo received.