- Give yourself a corrective experience. Don't let your fears get the upper hand. It is unlikely someone will laugh if you are the worst one in the art class or you cannot scale a rock wall or whatever else you have been too afraid to try. Even if they do, trust that it will not sting in the same way. Unlike your adolescent self, you may even be laughing along with them.
- Don't fix yourself. Instead, nurture yourself. The notion of "fixing yourself" works against your self-esteem, but nurturing expands it. If you don't like how your skin looks, treat yourself to a moisturizer or a facial—or a visit to the dermatologist, for that matter. Help yourself feel the way you would like to feel in a completely positive way. Instead of being self-critical, be self-interested.
- Expand your definition of yourself beyond what you see in the mirror. Don't try to deny, avoid or minimize the loss of your looks—mourn and acknowledge it—but recognize that you are the sum of your experience. See all those qualities when you look at yourself, and exploit them: Volunteer, follow a passion, and develop a skill. Instead of seeing yourself as becoming invisible, make yourself more vibrant. Bottom line: See yourself as more, rather than less!
About the Authors
Dr. Vivian Diller and Dr. Muir-Sukenick are authors of Face It: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change (Hay House, 2010). Both New York–based psychologists were former models.
Dr. Vivian Diller , is a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City. Prior to becoming a therapist, Dr. Diller was a professional ballet dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet Company and a model represented by Wilhelmina Models. She left modeling in the late 1970s to begin her PhD in clinical psychology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University. After completing her PhD, she went on to do postdoctoral training in psychoanalysis at NYU. As a psychologist, she often works with young adults, specializing in helping dancers, models, actors and athletes as they leave their youth-oriented professions.
Dr. Jill Muir-Sukenick , a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in New York City, is a former Ford model who also did television and film work. Dr. Muir-Sukenick, who also received her PhD from NYU, often treats models in her private practice. She has been a consultant to modeling agencies and the beauty industry.