Whole Living Daily

Stop Apologizing For Who You Are

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My new portrait, taken by Mark Hanauer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been self-conscious about my prominent Jewish nose.  So naturally, I protested when Mark Hanauer, a well-known LA-based photographer, made me turn sideways to shoot my profile.  The result is one of the best photos ever taken of me.

Last week, I posted that picture on my Facebook page and asked my friends what they could love about themselves today that they have been seeing as a negative. I received an avalanche of responses. It was very affirming for me—an unexpected and superb gift.

Whether it’s Cindy Crawford’s iconic mole, David Letterman’s gapped teeth, Beyonce’s curvaceous booty, or the fact that Barbara Walters can’t pronounce the letter “R”, having a distinctive “flaw” can be something to celebrate and turn into an important feature of your personal brand.

Branding is all about distinguishing yourself from your competition and the rest of the crowd.  I’m not talking about being shocking (only a performance artist like Lady Gaga can pull that off); rather, I’m talking about being unforgettable in an authentic way.  That type of presence comes from the inner knowledge that you’re okay just the way you are.

So often we are too apologetic for our shortcomings, when we should be accepting, even celebrating ourselves—warts and all. If you are hard on yourself, others will be hard on you.  If you come from a place of strength, your relationships will be strong. The truth is people can only accept you as much as you can accept yourself.  Every important relationship in your life is a reflection of how you feel about yourself.

It’s time to stop apologizing for who you are and open up to your authentic self. To do this, start by freeing yourself from the desire to conform. When we accept ourselves, others follow.

To shine a light on what’s positively different about you, take a few minutes to answer these questions:

• Describe what is unique about you—do you look, act or think differently from others?
• Identify one big challenge you've had at work because you are seen as different
• Did anything positive come out of the challenge?  What did you learn about yourself?
• How can you turn what's different about you to your advantage?

The key to developing self-acceptance is acknowledging what is in place, what is working, and having gratitude for that. It’s about turning your focus toward what you have instead of harboring a sense of scarcity and always looking at what seems to be wrong with you or what’s missing from your life. When you live with the constant feeling that you don’t have enough or that you are not enough, others will see you that way.

By having gratitude for your true nature, you can overcome any fears that stop you from seeing yourself as an extraordinary person, just as you are. I’m starting with my nose. What will you celebrate about yourself today that has felt like a flaw?  It’s time to get comfortable in your own skin—fearlessly knowing that to the degree you accept yourself, the world will accept you as well.

Robin Fisher Roffer is a leading brand strategist and reinvention specialist.  Founder and CEO of Big Fish Marketing, she is the author of Make A Name For Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs To Create A Personal Brand Strategy For Success and The Fearless Fish Out Of Water: How To Succeed When You’re The Only One Like You. Learn about her Reinvent Yourself! Workshops here.

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Comments (12)

  • I think you look beautiful and am going to go home tonight and contemplate all of this. Thank you!

  • You are beautiful and I really like that you wrote this blog. I so agree with your points. We need to learn to tell our inner critic to stop criticizing us. I had great success with engaging my inner voice in a dialog. I even give her a name. I listen and acknowledge what she is saying and then tell her that this is not true and she should shut up. This way I listen more to my true voice and this helped me tremendously to accept and love myself as I am.

  • Robin, you are a beautiful woman with an important message for all of us today. I have never been a fan of my nose either--or the way I think we face torques up in weird ways when I talk. But I now look at that and say, well, I'm animated, and my personality comes through, and that's a good thing. We could all go on about things we hate (I didn't even start in on my hair), but it takes a special kind of discipline to start paying attention to what we love about ourselves. Thanks for this.

  • For a long time I felt insecure about my broad shoulders. It didn't help that people regularly asked me if I was a swimmer, which I was. What I didn't realize was that they liked the same shape I hated. Now when people ask this question, I smile and say thank you.

  • The truth rang true in every word! What great insight/awareness, your words/thoughts/expression move the world/us/me forward. For a longtime, I have been very hard on myself for a multitude of "reasons", I have and I am learning to "unlearn" that habit. We are a reflection of our thoughts both positive/negative, why not choose the positive ones over the other. Thank you!

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katerina Zherebtsova, Robin Fisher Roffer. Robin Fisher Roffer said: Your distinctive “flaw” could be something to celebrate and turn into an important feature of your brand. http://bit.ly/hZ6iqo [...]

  • I loved what you wrote. I never wanted anyone to see my deficiencies, so I felt like I prove/defend who I truly was as a person. Now, I have been self employed a little over 2 years - I can be myself. Either my clients like or they do not. This has helped me grow to the person am ment to be. Thank you!

  • Thanks for writing about this, Robin. You inspire me to embrace the things that make me feel 'different' to realize I have a strong personal brand.

  • Great post! I love it!

  • Have never seen your picture, or this site before. Funny how people get certain ideas, espec. about their body. You most totally do not have a large nose, from my perspective. I would describe your profile as being very forthright, clear, of high integrity, and definitely appealling. "Big nose" does not even come into my awareness upon viewing the photo. Of course erasing that idea out of your reality may be problematic...we pick up so many subconscious thoughts when we are young and so very impacted by our families and surroundings. Look up 1.)Bruce Lipton , "Biology of Belief", and 2.)EFT ,a tapping modality for re energizing/programming positive data into our meridian system. ///Haven't read above, hope I have not re-iterated any sentiments/thoughts of others. Best. mm

  • Thank you -- everyone -- for your thoughtful comments and complements. You have helped me "to erase the idea that my nose is big out of my reality" -- thank you mm for those words. My dad used to kid me about my nose and I became self conscious about it growing up. I think we all need to let go of what's not perfect and love who we are.

  • You have a magnificent nose!

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