This is my Love Essentially column, published a few days ago in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. I thought it was a great piece to post for women over 40 and women over 50!
How To Love Yourself In Lingerie by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press
I have a question for my female readers. How many times have you gone shopping for lingerie, tried something on, looked in the mirror and said to yourself, “Wow. I feel really good in this?”
Zero? That’s what I thought. Most women I know (including me) have a tendency to criticize and nitpick every stretch mark, roll, varicose vein and extra pound we have on our bodies. So, why would a woman want to shop for bras, underwear and teddies that are meant to accentuate parts of the body that she sees as flaws?
It truly baffles me how every woman I know is constantly trying to improve her body. Larger women, medium-sized women, even skinny women! Most women are guilty of something that’s a pretty big deal: they fail to accept, appreciate or celebrate their physical beauty in any real way.
Add to body image insecurities the media’s portrayal of what beauty should look like, which includes the Victoria’s Secret models we are conditioned to emulate, and I have to wonder how the heck lingerie got to be a multibillion dollar industry.
A woman named Psyche Terry gave me the answer: Versus buying lingerie to wear for your boyfriend or your spouse, lingerie is meant to be purchased for you – to magnify inner feelings you want to bring out.
“Most women’s fear of wearing lingerie is that they are afraid they won’t look like what we see in the media, that they won’t meet that expectation of what desirable means,” said Terry, who is the founder of her newly launched Dallas-based lingerie company, Inspire Psyche Terry. “Lingerie is designed to let a woman decide who she wants to be today or tonight. You can be romantic or regal or comfortable. Lingerie can exude the definition of any of those words the minute you put it on and enable you to decide what part of yourself you want to tap into.”
Terry, a mom of three young children, explained that during her life she has been every size, from a 2 to a 20. She said women of all sizes and shapes can feel confident in their own skin, but that it all begins with self-love.
“It’s a process to learn to love yourself,” said the 35-year-old Terry, who is also the founder of Psyche Terry’s Girls That Rock, an organization that helps high school girls graduate and apply to colleges. “We as women have to learn that we are desirable and it’s so much bigger than our breasts or our legs. Being desired comes from what we bring to the table. We as women are entrepreneurs and friends and parents and wives and there are so many different facets to us. We sometimes forget that and we think a wrinkle or a roll defines who we are and it doesn’t.”
In my opinion, sex appeal and physical attraction come from what I call “the whole package.” What I mean by that is you can meet someone who has a perfect body, a beautiful face and who looks like a model, but if the attraction doesn’t go beyond looks, the relationship most likely won’t last.
Sex appeal and sustained physical attraction come from a few things, which can include: respecting the person, thinking the person is really smart or interesting, realizing how much that person makes you laugh, or appreciating an attribute such as warmth, kindness or honesty.
Sex appeal and physical attraction come from knowing the person is confident and self-assured, and that he or she possesses self-love. In other words, if you aren’t attracted to yourself, others will catch your vibe and feel the same way.
Next time you look in the mirror, forget what you’re wearing and try looking deeper. Look at what you’re worth to others. Look at the lives you affect positively every day. Look at the mom you are, the wife you are and the friend you are. If you like what you see, it’s hard not to love what’s physically staring back at you, and that includes the lingerie you’re wearing.
Psyche Terry’s tips for “rocking lingerie like a queen:”
• You’re not alone: There are a huge number of women who lack confidence; it’s not just you. This is something that even famous, beautiful women struggle with and the first step to overcoming it is to recognize the issue and face it head on.
• You’re not the problem: Your products are. According to a UK survey conducted by Simply Be, from a sample of 2,000 women ages 18-34, 55 percent reported feeling more confident in a perfectly fitting bra. Sadly though, 80 percent of women aren’t wearing the right size bra! How many women would be trying new bras and style if they had options truly fit for a goddess and specifically designed to enhance their shape?
Like this article? Check out my piece, “8 Pieces of Advice for Those Dating Someone New.”