By Debra B. Luftman, M.D. and Eva M Ritvo, M.D.
Some of the most beautiful women we’ve ever seen are women who have survived trauma, such as breast cancer or childhood abuse. When we see them in our offices or our lives, we’re alwaysintrigued by their beauty and strength. These are women whohave seen the darkest times a person can see and have come outthe other side into the light.
There’s a knowing in them that says,“I have the strength to get through anything.” That’s stunning.Life is a challenge, but it’s also an adventure. If there’s notsomething difficult in your life right now, it’s coming. Count on it. The secret to beauty is living a beautiful life, inside andout, with yourself and your community and the world aroundyou. Women are sometimes raised to believe in the fairy tale ofmarrying a rich prince and living happily ever after, but buyinginto those fantasies only leaves you flailing when you encounterbumps in the road.
You’re among girlfriends, so let’s be honest: the only one responsible for looking after you is you. Living a beautiful life demands fi nding the strength to be resilient andbounce back when life knocks you down. What separates trulybeautiful women from the rest is that they bounce back, keep going, and re-embrace life with passion. That’s strength, andthat’s beautiful.
Strength is taking full responsibility for your life and yourbeauty, making every part of your life the best it can be. The parts you can change, you change. The parts that are beyondyour control, you accept. At the same time, you prepare yourself so that when the roller coaster drops, you’re still on board whenit rises back to the top.
As women, we have more possibilities to create our lives than at any time in history. For example, more women serve on the boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies than ever before. There are more ways than ever for women to create amazing lives and maintain healthy bodies and minds.Yes, there are challenges in some parts of the world that wouldrather see women become invisible again, but it’s not going tohappen. We’re not going anywhere. It’s an exciting time. When life rains down on you, try to see the beauty in it, and remember that things will get better.
Your Inner Beauty 911 toolkit:
• Learn to set limits. Say no. Women are caretakers, but sometimes we have to draw the line. When times are hard, your limits are closer. Know when to stop being the one who is always taking care of others. Don’t expect yourself to do everything during times of high stress. Pace yourself, and do what you can, and don’t expect anything more.
• Let yourself be vulnerable. It’s OK to cry and be afraid. Let other people take care of you.
• Have people around. Don’t sit in an empty house worrying or grieving. Have friends or family over. Let them help with the laundry, make dinner, or watch the kids. Let them hug you and listen to you. Love is therapy.
• Don’t assume trouble will pass you by. It won’t. Death strikes every family, and half of marriages end in divorce court. Something’s going to happen sooner or later. Don’t fret about the possibility, but be prepared.
• Rest. Get your sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you make poorer judgment calls, and your emotions are less under control.
• Stay as positive as possible. Positive emotions encourage action and reduce stress, helping you stay functioning as things play out.
• Think through choices carefully. Emotions sometimes lead us to make poor decisions in the heat of the moment. Step back and take your time with any important choice: care facilities, legal agreements, and so on.
• Remember happy times. Recalling good times spent with a person who’s died can brighten your mood and keep that person alive in your heart. Reliving times that were happier will remind you that “this too shall pass” and that you will have happy times again.
• Don’t go to bed and think in circles. Talk to someone. If you have fears or unresolved issues, speak to a support personabout the conflict. Lying awake solves nothing and only makes you exhausted.
• Be spiritual. Whether you speak to God or meditate on Oneness, get in touch with your spiritual side. You’ll derive comfort and strength from it.
• Be kind to others. Reach out to someone and remind yourself who you are: a beautiful woman who will come through your transition a stronger person.
• Read. Bookstores are filled with advice on how to steer through all types of choppy waters. Learning from others can help you along your journey.
• Work the loop. Remember that inner beauty relates to all other areas of the loop. Don’t neglect your outer beauty or health, and allow your environment to nurture you to its fullest potential.
Debra B. Luftman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, has a busy private practice in Beverly Hills. In addition Debra lectures on topics including laser surgery, liposuction, skin aging, and sun protection. She has appeared as an expert on “Good Morning America” and “Extra” and has been quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, Vogue, Allure, InStyle, and O. She has developed her own skin care product line called Therapeutix. . . Eva C. Ritvo, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist, is vice chair and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, where she also has a unique joint appointment in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery. She serves as the chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. A published author, Eva has appeared as an expert on “Today” and “Extra;” has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Self, O, and Psychology Today; and is a frequent contributor to the Miami Herald, Miami Sun-Sentinel, and local news programs. For more information from The Beauty Prescription, log onto www.thebeautyprescription.com .