by Kristin Armstrong
Illustration by RF. Alvarez
It feels amazing to have a cute new outfit on, to feel fit and comfortable in your skin. Having a fresh haircut with thick, blunt ends and brand-new perfect color is a fabulous way to greet the world. Or how about the sass of a new pair of sunglasses? Or how a clean, bright mani-pedi makes you want to wear high-heeled sandals and use your hands when you talk? Or even (hush) the way a brand-new Brazilian makes you feel covert sexy. To me, style is not just about having fine things, though that’s nice. Style is more about the way taking good care of yourself makes you feel, on the inside. Real style originates on the inside, the calm, confident, feel-good vibe that radiates on the outside. There is no one more lovely than a woman who knows this, and lives it. I know you know what I mean.
Society tells us there are lots of ways to get more beautiful. And tells us to pay extra attention to these messages if we are getting older. Society says to starve yourself, surgery yourself, inject yourself and critique and compare yourself. The underlying message is fear. Why? Because fear gets us to believe things and do things and buy things. Fear tells us we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough, young enough or valuable enough. Fear is the finest bullshit artist we have ever known. Call his bluff.
I’m going to let you in on a beauty secret no one is talking about. There are no infomercials, no magazine ads, no billboards. You can’t two-day Amazon Prime it. There is no long waitlist to get into see someone who has it. There is no pill, no product, no website, no fee. I don’t even think there is word-of-mouth promoting it, until right now. So here you go, best beauty advice of all time: Let. Go.
“Style is more about the way taking good care of yourself makes you feel, on the inside.”
That’s it. It sounds strange. How can letting go make you prettier? Oh honey, trust me, it does. Let go of all of it. Let go of worrying about it, stressing, striving, comparing, controlling and criticizing. Let go of body issues and obsessions. Let go of the job you hate with the boss who is making you insane. Let go of the guy who doesn’t love you well. Let go of the guy who does not love himself well. Let go of trying so hard to make something work that isn’t working. Let go of friendships that are not reciprocal. Let go of the value you place on other people’s responses. Let go of your children and all efforts to make them into who you think they need to be. Let go of identifying yourself by your roles. Let go of attachment to outcomes, the way you think things have to be in order for you to be “happy.” Let go of rubbernecking at other people’s lives on the social media highway. Let go of wondering what you are supposed to be doing with your life, and start doing what you love instead. Let go of timetables and mandates. Let go of the breath you have been holding. Let go of numbers on scales and birthdays. Let go of the negative thoughts you have thought for so many years that they have unconsciously come to define you. Let go of the old patterns of fear and control that are rusting and ruining your relationships. Let go of stuffing and resentment. Let go of thinking you have to do it a certain way because that’s the way you’ve always done it. Let go of old hurts; allow them to surface and pass through you like a storm. Let go of the trust issues you blame on other people and learn to trust yourself. Let go of thinking you have to fix yourself, or anyone else. Let go of thinking that everything is all your fault. Let go of playing small. Let go of any habit that you have to hide. Let go of acting as though you always have it together, especially if you’re hurting. Let go of pleasing and pandering for approval and acceptance. Let go of thinking you have to know, and get curious instead.
Let go of these things, and all the other things that you have been holding onto that don’t resonate with you anymore. The things you have been meaning to let go of, but haven’t, or thought you couldn’t. You can. You should. And once you do, you will be amazed at the woman who is staring back at you in the mirror. She’s f-ing gorgeous.