Therapist Dr. Nancy Weisman has witnessed and counseled a legion of women (and men) who feel they “just don’t measure up or feel good enough.” Having reared children and now observing grandchildren, she said, “Many of my thoughts here may not necessarily be science-based, but I have opinions on how to feel more beautiful, raise healthier self-imaged children in a changing generation, and if there is a Jewish (and overall) paradox about lofty expectations.”
I recently read actress Diane Keaton’s autobiography “Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty,” touting her life’s journey as coloring outside the lines of conventional beauty. Tormented as a child for having thin hair and small eyes, she plowed through life being über famous, but still feeling inadequate and hiding behind floppy hats and dark round sunglasses. She concludes, “Beauty is a feeling, … we are all awkward, ugly, funny and beautiful based on our life experiences.”
Weisman’s formula is “nature plus exercise addresses positive self-esteem.”
Weisman mused about today’s youth. “We are over-protecting our kids to the point of not instilling independence. How can they feel good about themselves if they are filled with fear about going out the front door alongside the gross exaggerations on social media?”
She speaks of parents who fly to Harvard University to help their children do homework. “We have to allow them to skin their knees, to excel and feel good ‘enough’ about themselves,” she continued. “Kids are afraid to take risks and are filled with anxiety.”
Today’s young girls date less and have more sex as compared to when she grew up and the norm was dating more and having less sex, she said. “I see girls today at a younger age being more into makeup, but I’m not sure they do it to impress men.”
Weisman,77, jogs about 20 hours a week. Her formula is “nature plus exercise addresses positive self-esteem.”
She feels that is the best route to change one’s self-identity. “I lost my husband in 2018 and to get grounded and out of that fog, I leaned on being an exercise fanatic. That is the fastest route to beauty.”
Even if she wakes up not feeling her best and looking askew in the mirror, she heads outside to speed-walk and comes back feeling strong; and the view in the mirror changes. “I personally do not like indoor gyms, but if that’s your ‘go to’ place of exercise, go for it.”
Regarding plastic surgery, she warns, “The risks of the operation often outweigh the factors of trying to change who you are externally. Except, of course, in cases of disfigurement or something radical, and then take that path.” She cites breast reduction to relieve back stress as often a good remedy. Otherwise, makeup, exercise and hair styles are far less radical.
Weisman, who has been a therapist for more than 20 years, practices in Sandy Springs. Her website begins,” I am interested in patients who want to be joyful and content, to cherish their relationships and appreciate the present.” Read on to see how Weisman’s daughter, Dr. Jamie Weisman, takes on the beauty challenge in her dermatology practice.