- Mar 26, 2004
by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., at PsychCentral
April 24, 2013
You may have seen the video and maybe it touched you in a way that brought you to tears. A forensic artist sat down and asked the woman sitting on the couch next to him to tell him about her face. He opens with the question, “Tell me about your hair?” and then, “Tell me about your chin. After one woman thinks about it she says, “It protrudes a bit especially when I smile.” He continues, “What about your jaw?” Another woman answers, “My mom always told me I had a big jaw.” He then asks, “What’s your most prominent feature?” Taking a moment, she answers “Kind of a fat rounder face” or “I would say I have a pretty big forehead.” After he got his sketch he said thank you very much and left.
He didn’t see them again. But what happened next reveals a truth we each need to hear.
How we think of ourselves:
Prior to sketching the first women, the artist paired the women up and asked them to “get friendly with each other.”
Then he brought them in and asked them to describe the features of the women they had conversations with.
The answers were enlightening.
How others see us:
“She had a nice thin chin,” one person said. Another said, “She had nice eyes, they lit up when she spoke.” And yet another, “I remember blue eyes, very nice blue eyes.”
The artist made another sketch from their description, one that looked far more beautiful than the self description.
When asked about her self-portrait, one woman summed up the other responses, “She looks closed off and fatter, sadder, and the second one looks open, friendly and happy.”
How we treat ourselves affects our relationships, jobs, and how we treat our children.
Learning how to see our innate beauty is critical to our happiness.
From Self-Judgment to Self-Compassion:
Whenever you notice self-critical thoughts arising in your mind, take note of them; see how they make you feel. Then immediately swap it out with a thought of what you appreciate about yourself.
This can help reverse that negative habit and open up to the beauty that has always been there.
Let your light shine through and see what happens.