I used to hate my nose. Really, really hate my nose. When I was teenager, I would literally try to rip it from my body and sit in front of the mirror sobbing. I wanted a cute, button nose like all the cheerleaders. Instead I possessed a longish nose with a slight bump on it. It didn’t help when I heard one of the senior boys in high school saying I looked like Barry Manilow in drag. The nickname “Barry” created many adolescent tears.
I planned for the day when I finished college and could save my money and get a nose job. For years I dreamed that a new nose would make me happy. I started fantasizing about what life would be like with a perfect nose. Perfect nose, perfect life or so I envisioned.
Once I was finally old enough to “buy” a new nose if I so chose, I was dating someone who liked me the way I was. I was also afraid of my family’s reaction should I get rid of the nose their genetics had gifted me with. So, I ignored it and went on with my life. Still hating my nose, but not really focusing on it.
Several years later, when I realized how important self-love was, I decided I needed to love all of myself and began to think about my nose again. How could I learn to love it? It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Now I wouldn’t change my nose for anything. I love it and the fact that it is uniquely mine.
Here are the steps it took for me:
1. Get neutral.
It’s hard to go straight from hate to love. Start by practicing being as OK with your nose (or thighs, etc.) as you can. You don’t have to love it, but don’t curse it either.
2. Increase love for other aspects of yourself.
I still could not look at my nose and love it, so I chose to mostly ignore it. Instead, I would focus love on my blue eyes, which I have always liked. I practiced gazing into my eyes and appreciating them for a few moments every time I looked in a mirror.
3. Look at your nose (or ears, etc.) through someone else’s eyes.
I imagined that my parents must think my nose was perfect for me. My husband loved me enough to marry me, nose and all. I decided to look at my nose as I thought my parents or my husband would. I have to admit, I believed my parents and my husband probably loved me in spite of my nose, so I chose to look at my nose through God’s eyes, as I thought that was the only entity that could truly love my nose. You could also look at yourself as you would your child or any child you love.
4. Love something about your nose (or toes).
By now, I didn’t hate my nose anymore and I could think somewhat positively about it. I noticed it seemed to have almost a heart shape on the end of it and I could smile and enjoy how it looked. I began to focus on the end of it and not the bump. There has to be something you can appreciate about the thing you hate. Maybe your ears make you look like a Vulcan or you gained strength from being teased about your feet. Find at least one good aspect.
5. Flow the love.
Over time, I was finally able to flow love to my nose and look at my whole face and be happy with what I saw. The funny thing was after I started feeling better about my nose, other people’s reactions changed. My daughter pointed at a sketch of me and said, ”You should be angry at the artist who drew this. Your nose is way cuter than he sketched it.”
As a teacher, my oh-so honest students often told me I had a big nose, but now people began complimenting my nose. It was the same nose, the only thing that changed were my feelings about it.
Every bit of you is completely lovable, yes, even if you have huge ears and a scar on your forehead. You are unique and wonderful even if you don’t believe it now. Start where you are and make self-love a priority beginning today.