Humans are obsessed with body image. The media says we should look a certain way, else we be outcast and forgotten. Although men do feel the need to have an attractive appearance, women are more likely to obsess over how they look. This hysteria only results in negative outcomes; eating disorders and low self-esteem can develop and eventually control women’s lives. In her book, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance, Rosie Molinary gives simple, practical advice that anyone (not just women) can use to develop a better sense of self.
Although the book is organized to take the reader on a year-long journey, the chapters are so short—many just one page—that several days can be combined and worked on simultaneously. As with many self-help books, Beautiful You suggests that the reader keep a daily journal. At the end of each chapter, the author provides a task for the day or a few questions for the reader to answer in her journal.
The main focus of Beautiful You is accepting that one’s own beauty is both internal and external. Many of the exercises and tasks ask the reader to step outside her comfort zone and do things that she normally wouldn’t do. For example, on Day 69, the author asks the reader to sort all of her clothes into three piles: a “can wear now” pile, a “want to wear one day” pile, and a “give away” pile. After sorting the clothes and taking the third pile to a thrift shop, the author says to “appreciate your clean closet and how it will allow you to get dressed more efficiently and more kindly every morning.” The idea is that trying to find an outfit that fits takes a toll on one’s self-esteem and body image.
On Day 198, the author asks the reader to write herself a letter. The author recalls a time when she wrote a letter to herself, forgot about it, and later received that letter in the mail. The letter gave her the boost of self-esteem that she needed to finish writing her first book. The author hopes that when the reader receives her own letter, she too will feel refreshed and reenergized.
An activity the author suggests that I have yet to try is to draw a self portrait and then, toward the end of the year, draw a new self portrait and compare the two. The portraits should vary drastically because one’s self image should have changed drastically over the year.
Essentially, this book shows the reader how to appreciate the little things in life and how to stop being so down on oneself because of how she (or he) appears physically. Under the premise that everyone is beautiful, the author takes the reader on a journey to discover inner beauty that will eventually show on the outside.
The author is concise in her writing, a quality the reader will appreciate. Each chapter is very easy to read and every task is do-able. Readers should begin the book realizing that it will take a great deal of reserve to complete the entire journey, however. Not everyone can truly see that they are perfect just the way they are. The only serious drawback of Beautiful You is that in order to get the most out of the book, one must read the introductory chapters (which are on unnumbered pages). If you’re the kind of person who generally skips the introductions and jumps right into the first real chapter of a book, you will miss a great dea.
Over all, Beautiful You is a good book to guide the reader on the path to accepting herself. The chapters are short and the tasks are simple. Many of the tasks can be done in one day; however, to get the most out of the book, one should work each of the tasks into one’s daily routine.
Beautiful You won’t make the reader look like a supermodel—that’s not the point. The book will show the reader that the only thing that needs to change is how one perceives oneself. If you are constantly focusing on negative things—being overweight, not having the right clothes, etc.—that negativity will point you toward more negative things; you will start to notice other areas that “need work” in yourself and in others. By taking the Beautiful You journey, the reader can break this cycle of negativity and finally gain control of her life. And what’s more important than feeling good about yourself?
I strongly recommend this book to anyone—male or female; straight, gay, or otherwise—who needs a pick-me-up; a structured plan to guide them to accepting who they are. This book will surely remind them that beauty and worth is as much an inside as an outside job.