BDD

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

If you haven't had a chance to check out our media kit, Please do! It not only talks about our demographics that we receive from various surveys about our readers but sheds light on our philanthropic cause, Body Dysmorphic Disorder known as BDD. BDD is an unhealthy obsession with a perceived physical flaw. The Broken Mirror published a study done by its author Dr. Kathrarine Philips, involving over 500 patients, where “skin” proved to be a common concern among 73%. Some concerns with skin may be acne and even hyper-pigmentation, which is skin discoloration or dark spots that may have been formed from acne. Some other conditions may be the size or structure of the forehead or nose. In these cases, BDD suffers may wear certain clothing to hide the appearance of the perceived defect, stand or sit in awkward positions and many times seek cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance. Those obsessed with their flaws completely alter their way of living and may become isolated and refuse to leave their home. People with BDD can receive counseling and should consult with a doctor before their conditions worsen. BDD suffers may experience depression and suicidal thoughts. Many people do not understand just how serious BDD can be to someone. For this reason I have included videos in the media kit, but I would also like to share two of them with you. Click the links below to watch the videos. If you found this topic interesting you may want to read "Too Ugly for Love"

 


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Too Ugly for Love

Can you think of something about the way you look that you would change? Maybe you have a pointy nose or large ears.  For some people they spend hours in front of a mirror and pick themselves apart. They stare at their freckles wishing them away and those who can't accept their "flaws" decide to physically alter their appearance either by cosmetic surgery or self inflicted pain.


Blushing Ambers is dedicated to a cause that many people deal with at some level. It's not quite an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), but the altering of our lifestyle to hide a perceived flaw.  You might not leave the house unless your makeup is done to cover up old acne scars or wear bangs to cover up your forehead. Society teaches us at a young age, what is culturally defined as beautiful. Just recently, BeautifulPeople.com a popular dating site, reportedly deleted 30,000 member accounts stating whom they deemed did not fit their beauty standards and in December booted 5,000 members who "appeared to heavy during the Christmas season".  People glorify images of celebrities and public figures who are skinny, with "flawless" skin, and long hair and call them picture perfect. Truth is, even celebrities may not measure up to these standards unless placed under a knife, the use of harmful chemicals, fad diets or photo altering computer software.  America is a symbol of diversity and the irony lies in the idea that everyone should have the same body type, bone structure and no fat. Unfortunately there are those who will die trying to become the "model" citizen rather than defining their own beauty.

Obsessive thoughts about perceived appearance defects is formally known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). One of the many symptoms of BDD is depression and those who have a BDD often spend hours in the mirror. Although I was never clinically diagnosed as depressed or with having a BDD, I can relate with depression.

In college, I was unhappy with my environment and didn't feel that I fit in because I looked different from other students. I felt that how I looked on the outside made me different on the inside.  I was the only African American in the entire English Department in my cohort. I was like a single cocoa puff in a bowl of milk. I felt the pressure to succeed because I didn't want to be a statistic or stereotyped because of my race or ethnicity. I worked hard to compensate for any academic gaps I had in order to perform at the level of my White classmates. When I was stressed over grades only being average and my lack of social life, I felt overwhelmed and became very depressed.  I would wake up several hours in the mirror before class doing my makeup and finding the perfect outfit. After all that primping, I'd suddenly have no energy, lay back down and go to sleep or randomly, for no concrete reason have these crying spells.  I considered seeing a counselor, even went a couple of times, but then diagnosed myself as "a normal college student going through identity crisis" and figured it was just a phase I'd snap out of. I also felt that counseling was a taboo in African American culture and was ashamed and afraid someone would see me walking out of the doctors office. I was having suicidal thoughts and even considered coming home from school, but a group of people who cared about me reached out and gave me the support I needed to make it though.

I don't know if doing my makeup all that time in the mirror was me trying to change anything I didn't like about myself physically, but I definitely believe I was trying to paint away the things I didn't like about myself emotionally.  Then, and even now, I found my escape to peace in the world of makeup. I find that while I'm doing makeup, I am not thinking about my student loan debt or my disrespectful car that breaks down whenever it feels like it. Doing makeup for me has always been about expressing myself through an art form.  I suppose like any artist, when I put the brush down and the piece is finished there is a little sadness. I have to leave a state of meditation and actually find real solutions to real problems; I can't just paint them away.  In the process of "painting away" my problems, I began to see a different me; the me I wanted to be, rather than the ones my comparison with others made me feel like. This, along with the support and motivation from my loved ones somehow managed to lift me up from a dark place in my life. I believe makeup was my therapy and continuing to do makeup has made me feel good. If I find myself heading back down that road of depression, I pull out my brush roll and 120 palette.

I figured if I shared my story; someone else might find my "Makeup Therapy" to be helpful. There are many people that don't believe there is a cure for BDD, only medicinal treatments that lessen the symptoms. And since many of the people diagnosed with BDD are feeding their obsessions by looking in the mirror and doing their makeup, I assumed naturally they would be drawn to makeup and beauty blogs, including Blushing Ambers. Hopefully the healthy messages and encouragement to develop one's own definition of beauty will resonate and began to change their perspectives about their body image. I understand that one of the many symptoms of BDD is camouflaging a perceived defect with clothes, makeup, fashion accessories and posture. This means the content of this blog can be used to feed their obsession. Blushing Ambers is in no way trying to fuel anyone suffering with a BDD or body image problems. In fact, quite the opposite! Blushing Ambers wants to serve as a resource on using makeup and skincare as a meditative and therapeutic, physical and mental health tool and a creative outlet.  We want our readers to embrace who they are and what they look like and through that find self love. So I did a little research to help me understand the disorder and its symptoms better, as well as find helpful ways to reach out and support people with a BDD.

I came across a clip from this documentary "Too Ugly For Love" on The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation website. The video allowed people to share their story about being clinically diagnosed with this psychological obsession with what they believed to be their flaws.  Watching the clip, I now know that it must be very difficult to work with someone who, no matter what you tell them, has a hard time believing anything different than their perception. They see a very different picture of themselves inside their head than in reality, even what they see in the mirror is a distorted image of their self. Psychological disorders seem harder to treat than those that are physical. There are many stereotypes of people with BDD, such as narsassistic and selfish. Someone with a psychological disorder such as BDD, needs to build relationships with many people they trust who will give them a positive environment that reaffirms their self worth and promotes community responsibility. One person telling a someone with a BDD that they are beautiful, carefully and uniquely made to serve a purpose, won't be enough support. Even if that person never completely recovers from a BDD, a support group and sense of responsibility may help them to have better days and hopefully prevent suicides and self harm.

I have been doing research on this topic for only a short period of time.  The UK based foundation appears to no longer be operating (Donate button no longer has an open paypal account) and the website has not been updated. I would like to find a charity to support that is either doing research or providing services towards Body Dysmorphic Disorder patients in America. If anyone has more information please reach out to me BlushingAmbers@gmail.com.

:::EXTRA:::
How I am Learning to Like My Face by Dani
Another blogger's journey to self worth and how she blocked BDD. She a former product junkie that gives advice to those who are insecure about acne blemishes.

As always, don't forget to comment and subscribe!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011




Body Dysmorphic Disorder Support Group

I was doing some random search on updates surrounding Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and I stumbled across a really good resource, an online social forum for those who want to discuss their battle of obsession with a perceived physical flaw. People who suffer from BDD allow the obsession to alter their lifestyle with compulsive disorders and in extreme cases self mutilation. Not all of the participants are clinically diagnosed with BDD. Some of them are joining this support group to prevent themselves from slipping into BDD and have mild or few symptoms of BDD. More information on this topic can be found in my past post Too Ugly For Love. For anyone who is seeking a support group to fight against negative self concepts on their appearance I suggest checking out this online forum/support group at http://body-dysmorphic-disorder.supportgroups.com/


Monday, August 29, 2011


Is plastic surgery a form of self mutilation?

It wasn't until I had done research on Body Dysmorphic Disorder that I began to look at the idea of plastic surgery in a different light. Before then going under the knife seemed to be a glorified luxury available to the rich and famous, as I had only known one person to tell me her boobs were fake, a gift given to her for graduating high school... In my low-income, first generation college graduate mind I thought, "Where they do dat at???" I grew up in a economically challenged suburb of Chicago and until college had never been exposed to anyone who had enough cash flow to spend it on personal esthetics beyond the local MAC counter. Knowing nothing of her family's financial situation, I assumed girlfriend was well off.  With this experience, or lack thereof, my perception of cosmetic surgery was: it's an expensive permanent alteration done by the rich and famous, for the rich and famous. The thought of what I might change about my body with plastic surgery never entered my mind because I assumed I couldn't afford that type of operation.

If money wasn't an issue, my mother's strong Christian values put a halt to any inkling that nipping and tucking was okay. Like many others, my momma is a strong Black woman and I believe there are very few things if any that can shake her self-esteem. She has worked as a Registered Nurse, now Clinical Nurse Specialist, for most of her adult life. This type of background has surrounded her with many people in the medical field and so I have no doubt the topic of plastic surgery has come up in the hospital cafeteria or nurse's station. I have never asked her if she would change anything about her body physically, but growing up under her roof, I know what her educated and spiritual stance on the topic would be - God didn't make no junk! She has told me time after time that I should embrace who I am.  She does believe in living a healthy lifestyle, though. She always encourages me to be more selective of my food choices and to make time to exercise... I have yet to comply with these wishes... Mom I promise, I'm getting to it... :-) It wasn't until I started doing makeup on other people that my mom wanted me to make her up. I believe it has been more of an effort to support me in my hobby of interest more so than the desire to be bothered with all this beauty stuff. In fact, when I lived with her she would complain about how long it took me to "put my face on" in the mirror saying, "Come on, you always make me late for church!" I'd shut the door in the bathroom and pretend I'm peeing to get a few extra minutes to perfect my look. (Maybe that was too much info... Sorry!) Even though I had made her late for church spending an hour or more doing my makeup (a slight exaggeration, though she'd beg to differ) she'd always take the time to say something positive about my appearance. A simple, "You look nice", even though I may have complained about my thin eyebrows and how I should have filled them in a little thicker. Her opinion mattered way more than any of the messages coming from the media.

In college I was an avid fan of Nip/Tuck and got hooked on the series late so I would often stay up at night to watch old episodes. I still watch them from time to time because the drama of the storyline is crazy and frankly I found it entertaining. Some of the outrageous procedures they did on these patients, though not real, really seemed superficial. Of course, there was a little truth to the scenarios. It opened my eyes to the fact that 1. surgery is painful, 2. that kind of beauty comes at a price, I had already figured that much out, but most shockingly 3. the patients coming in to see them were usually battling an issue with self and society. The patients the surgeons consulted with were often doing things to their bodies to be accepted in their social environments. To me that screams self hate. For me, I am more concerned with what doctors are finding out about their patients during the consultation in regards to self concept. I do agree that there are several exceptions when it comes to plastic surgery that aren't done to prevent the appearance of aging or with superficial reasoning, but rather to make their quality of life better, such as nose jobs to better someone's air passageway for breathing. Couldn't all patients argue that plastic surgery is done to better their quality of life? True, to a certain extent.

All plastic surgery is done to remove some psychological element. When someone looks in the mirror and they are not happy with what they see they immediately want to cover it up or remove it. For the person who looks in the mirror and says, "Man, my pimples remind me that I have oily skin", I'd like to say it could be worse... You could be looking in the mirror at a scar from a domestic violence incident. That type of physical reminder is seen everyday of a horrible life altering event. My aunt has a glass eye after being shot at a college party. I see a difference in these decisions to get cosmetic surgery. In some moderate cases, I believe there are other ways to deal with a perceived flaw(s).  Perhaps there are some other issues that need to be addressed prior to surgery or that can be overcome and accepted without surgery. In these cases, I only pray that resources are being made available to these patients. Changing a person's self perception from negative to positive is a much greater service to provide.


Saturday, August 27, 2011


Are African Americans developing obsessions about their appearance at a younger age?

I am writing an article on Body Dysmorphic Disorder (the obsession with a perceived flaw in a way that alters your lifestyle) and I am interested in knowing what my readers believe to be true about the condition. People with Body Dysmophic Disorder in extreme cases opt for plastic surgery, can develop obsessive compulsive disorders, and may even consider/attempt mutilation. For more information on this topic read my past post Too Ugly For Love. Comment below or send me anemail if you want your answer to be anonymous. Thanks in advance for helping me in a great cause to add more research around this topic!


Are African Americans at a greater risk of developing Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) due to the stigma placed upon them in the United States? If so, are they more likely to develop BDD at a younger age?



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Compelling Reasons to Skip Class and Spend Your Tuition at the Mall

The cost of attending college is continuously rising, graduates are finding little relief from student debt, and the employment rate is plummeting. Most of the world still believes prestigious degree and elite internships will lead them to their dream career. That's not always true. There is compelling evidence that physical appearance matters more than college education and experience to employers. 

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis did a study and found that "beautiful people tend to earn 5% more per hour than their less attractive counterparts". (Debt Free U, 114.)

Experiments have been conducted to prove that people perceive success and power to be associate with height. Taller people are looked at as more powerful. The taller you are the more power you possess.

Height is only one discriminating factor for jobs. Weight has also been scrutinized as a item to determine pay. According to an article by Deborah S. Hildebrand, "Some surprising statistics from the Council on Weight and Size Discrimination indicate that according to a 2004 survey workers who are heavier than average are paid approximate $1.25 less an hour." (Suite101.com)

Both height and weight are both physical attributes that a person can not drastically change the night before an interview, but students who are hoping to get that dream job can make smart choices now that will pay off after graduation.

1. Avoid the Freshman 15. Get into the routine of living a healthy lifestyle with consistent exercise and best food choices. Keep this routine going even after graduation.

2. Always Dress for Success. I've seen it so many times, students waking up 5 minutes before class with "bed-head" hair, remnants of crust and slob at the corners of their mouths and winkled clothes or worst - the pajamas they wore to bed the night before. Take pride in your appearance, because your professor will remember the day you came in looking less than prepared and ready to work when you ask for a recommendation letter.

3. Develop Your Personal Style. Your four years in college are not only meant to be spent in the books, but to discover your identity, your likes and dislikes, and your passion for living. That does not rule out exploring with your looks. Wear what gives you confidence. Learn what looks best on you because how you look is directly connected with how you feel. When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good you are more productive. 

Instead of looking to college admission as the savior for your social issues, learn how to shape your image and define yourself with your unique brand to boost your chances of living a life of happiness and success. Although the title of this post is pure satire, I encourage students to discover what college has to offer beyond a good education.

Photo Credit

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The Beauty Equation Challenge 6: Radiance


Teach:
Radiance – To enhance the brilliance of your inner glow

“The mirror can be your friend, but it is not the gateway to your magnificence.” – Nigel Barker

Nigel brings us into the 6th challenge, Radiance by questioning what it is we see when we look through the mirror. He wants us to stop our obsession with picking out our imperfections and flaws and realize that the mirror is only a mere mathematical tool for finding our Beauty Equation. The mirror functions as a plus or minus sign depending on our self-esteem when we look into it. Only someone who is capable of controlling their self-perceptions can use the tool correctly. This teach will be difficult for those who struggle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, an obsession with a perceived flaw or minor imperfections. I challenge you to find the balance in questioning who you really are, not too much and not too little. This is important because this chapter talks about outer presentation, meaning your skin, hair, and clothes that tell your inner story.

“Beauty is never really found when you’re sitting in front of a mirror. You feel beautiful when you are out… finding those happy moments in life.” – Kimmy Hise

Nigel Barker cleverly reminds us that beauty is only skin-deep, superficial and we must look within a person to find their true beauty. He stated, “Just as everyone is  innocent until proven guilty, everyone is beautiful until proven ugly.” I thought this was a clever analogy.

We send messages to people around us about who we are by the way we behave, how we wear our makeup, and the choice of clothes we wear. All of these things are associated with our inner beauty or lack thereof.  It’s much harder to develop our character than it is to change our outer appearance to reflect the beauty we possess inside. Developing character is an individual task that takes time and requires the ability to understand yourself and who you are within. Work at it!

As far as our outer appearance, we MUST take good care of our skin, hair, entire body and even our wardrobe. Nigel advises that if you wear makeup, don’t over do it.  He agreed with Tyra that makeup can make a women feel confident and enhance natural features, but only if its done in the right proportions. Here are his makeup dos and don’ts

Do:
Love Your Skin
·      Your skin is the largest and most visible of your organs. It lives and breathes just like your heart.
·      Never put on makeup without washing and moisturizing your face and always remove your makeup at the end of the day.
·      Drink plenty of water.
·      Exfoliate at least once a week.
·      Steam bath your face.
·      Get some sleep!
·      Wear a hat in the sun
·      Wear sunscreen
See The Light
·      Do your makeup in proper lighting.
·      Study your face in different lighting using the shadows and highlights to understand and learn how lighting affects your features and how you look.
·      Use products that can mimic lighting effects (i.e. bronzer).
Remember Less is More
·      The less makeup you wear the more you shine through.
·      Experiment and learn what products work best for your features.
·      You don’t have to use ever type of makeup available (foundation, mascara, eyeshadow, lipstick, concealer). Only use what is needed to enhance your own unique equation.
Blur the Lines
·      Blend your makeup so that there are never any harsh lines. This stands true for foundation as well as eyeshadow and lipliner with lipsticks.
·      When you are done with your makeup, set it with a fluffy brush and translucent powder. Don’t forget your neck and hairline.
Protect the Innocent
·      Apply your makeup in a bathrobe or cover your outfit.
·      Use cruelty-free makeup (protect the animals that are used in the name of cosmetic research
·      People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has an online database of companies and brands that test their beauty products on animals.
·      While doing your makeup, have your upper chest exposed to accurately match your foundation with your body’s skintone and blend your foundation evenly.
Practice, Practice, Practice
·      Practice at home even when you have nowhere to go.
·      Makeup application is 10 percent skill and 90 percent practice.

Don’t:
Don’t Reflect Too Much
·      Too much shimmer can catch the light and reflect in an awkward unflattering way.
·      Contour your face properly. Light pops features out and dark pushes features in.
·      Use shimmer on the bridge of your nose, the inner corners of your eyes, and the apples of your cheeks.
·      Don’t place too much shimmer on the brow bone (under your eyebrows) This can reflect badly in pictures.
Don’t Cover Up
·      Covering up skin problems such as acne or rosacea with heavy makeup can appear cakey.
·      Focus on skincare rather than makeup products to clear skin ailments.
·      Covering acne with light concealer will make it stand out even more, instead dab it with a foundation that matches your skintone and dust over it with powder
Don’t Clash
·      Use eyeshadow colors that compliment your skintone.
·      Always check expiration dates on products and store them well.
·      Update your makeup often, throwing out old mascara and sponges that may contain dirt and bacteria
·      Have Winter and Summer makeup because with each season, the shade of your skin changes.
Don’t Be a Victim
·      Makeup counters don’t have the proper lighting to match your skintone with foundation
·      A sales rep at the makeup counter is there to sell and may tell you anything to earn their commission.
·      Bring a friend
·      Walk outside in the natural light to compare your skintone with a tested spot of foundation.
Don’t Be Lowbrow
·      Don’t overtweeze your eyebrows.
·      Full eyebrows are associated with youthfulness
·      Follow the natural shape of your eyebrows when shaping them
·      Pluck one hair at a time and take it slow!
Don’t Fool Yourself
·      Just because a makeup trend is hot, does not mean it fits you
Don’t Stress Out
·      Do 30 min of aerobic exercise a day to keep your mind off your worries.
Don’t Mash Your Face
·      Your skin reacts to repetition and will begin to train the lines in your face to become more prominent.

“Realize that God gave you the features you have for a reason – mess with them and you might ruin his masterpiece.” – Andrea Dawn Clark

This chapter went more in depth about hair and clothes, but I’ll save that info for another day… If I still have your attention, let’s fast forward to the challenge!

“The only way to choose the “right” makeup, hair and clothing is to understand your total Beauty Equation”, according to Nigel, “You can’t look to others to define what you should wear any more than you can look to others to tell you who you are. Develop yourself and you will know what your personal style should be.”

Challenges:
1. Remove all your makeup and clean your face so that you are 100% natural. Let your hair down and wash any products that may be in it out. Take a beauty shot of yourself, just your face and hair wearing only your smile. Take a self-portrait and submit it to me atBlushingAmbers@gmail.com
Here's my naked face.
2. Studying your face in the portrait you just took, what do you believe your best features are? Accent that area with makeup. You want to draw attention to your greatest attribute. Take another self-portrait and submit it to me at BlushingAmbers@gmail.com
Drawing attention to my eyes with mascara on my lashes
3. This time create your signature look using all of the makeup you believe is necessary for a flawless look. Compare the 3 pictures and tell me which one you believe suits you best. Submit the self-portrait and your answer to BlushingAmbers@gmail.com
I feel more comfortable with this look because makeup makes me feel confident and hides my flaws.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Beyond the Blog

I want my blog to be my full time job one day and here's why. 

I actually have a full time job that has a lot of down time and allows me the opportunity to focus on my blog almost from 9-5. It's really convenient at the moment, but I would love to work from home. I feel that what I do matters and I would like to be as productive as possible. Much of my inspiration comes from just being around makeup or sitting in my home makeup studio. More importantly, I'd like turn the blog into a full on organization that does community service and programming. I want to provide more information and research on body image in a scientific and scholarly way.

I had a discussion with other beauty bloggers this week and we talked about Christina ofTemptalia.com, a great beauty guru who said she plans her life around her blog. Here's what I had to say about that:

I see my blog as something that can be larger than me, especially since it creates awareness for serious issues such as body dysmorphic disorder and issues formed around body image. I already look at myself as a director of an organization rather than just an author of a blog. I feel like the "work" I do matters. I actually don't want to have kids because I think that will keep me from giving the time and attention this work as a public speaker/writer/fundraiser/​researcher deserves. In the same breath, if I were to get married and have a child, I'm sure I'd find a way to work it all out. I have that much passion for the work I do with Blushing Ambers.

 I appreciate all of the comments and support from friends, family and followers/readers. Please continue to spread the word about Blushing Ambers and our causes. SubscribeLike and FollowMe!



Encouraging Comments From Readers:
''Set your standards high and force people to match your worth'' ~Amberly C. (Such a powerful statement!!!) Girl I finally had some time to read your blog site. I am so inspired by you and your mission to inspire women. May you continue to use your creative mind and positive leadership to accomplish great things...." - Cocoa 'Mimi' Campbell on Facebook
"Hey girl, I didn't get a chance to write on your post that you put on my wall, but I just wanted to thank you. I find your articles very interesting, keep em coming! Hope you're doing well! And.. btw..every pic u upload is beautiful! xoxo" Sharia Cotton on Facebook
"WOW. Ambi, this work that you are doing is something serious. This speaks volumes. Thank you so much for putting yourself out there like this." - Vanessa Leon via email

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The Beauty Equation Challenge 4: Compassion


Today, Blushing Ambers received a shout out on Nigel Barker's Facebook and Fan Page.  His book is such an inspiration and so my self as well as other bloggers have joined together in an effort to encourage our readers to join us in our journey to find our Beauty Equation.  To find out what this is all about, read up on the Beauty Equation Challenge here.  My postings are notes on key points from Nigel's book. So far in our readings, Nigel has taught us about 2 characteristics of beauty, Allure andConfidence. Today's teach is on Compassion. Compassion is the most important characteristic of beauty in my opinion. I strive as a beauty blogger to write topics that place value on self worth and self love and many times we can show self love through our compassion to others. Here's what Nigel wants us to know about Compassion.


Teach: Compassion – to be aware of the world’s troubles and do something about it

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

Learning From Our Elders
Think about your grandmother or a woman who has been like a grandmother to you. Picture her in your head. Would you describe her as beautiful? She is beautiful because you see her as such and that is likely because of your long relationship with her. She was always highly aware of your needs and instinctually did anything in her power to make you better, happier, and more safe and secure. She is the definition of compassion.

Understand that compassion begins with you and ends with someone else. It's about doing for others. Self-love comes from within. It’s about knowing who you are while accurately perceiving what is going on around you so that you effortlessly project the most beautiful you.

If you want to set an example, be that example. Don’t just bark out what the example should be.

Keep It Close to Home: Use What You Do to Help Others
- Volunteer to use your talents for an organization or individual that needs help
- We need to love one another in order to bring love to ourselves

It’s Nice to Be Nice to the Nice
Every little bit helps. Everyone can do something to effect change. For inspiration, take a look at the CNN Heroes (“Everyday People Changing the World”) website (www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/)

Baby Steps
Perform simple acts of kindness. When you go out of your way for people, you get a greater return on your investment. Showing common courtesy, leading by example, having an open heart, and actively going out of your way to help others is single-handedly the easiest way to build your own sense of worth, which will naturally build your confidence. A feeling of self-worth communicates a special, modest confidence.

“If you want others to be happy practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” – Dalai Lama

Remember! No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

Quick List: Things We Learned in Grade School That Still Go a Long Way
1.   Smile
2.   Say please and thank-you
3.   Pay someone a compliment
4.   Hold the door for someone
5.   Do a funny dance (make someone laugh)

“I have always had a deep sense of compassion for others, especially young women like myself. In order to pursue my dreams the way I wanted, I had to push aside negative self-images and learn compassion, forgiveness, and belief within myself. There I found confidence, courage, and beauty. – Naima Mora, ANTM winner

Humans Can Be Humane
“When we hurt the planet, we hurt ourselves.” – Nigel

CHALLENGES
1. If I Could Change The World
Think about the things in the world that bother you. What people or situations do you feel could be better if only they had a little tender loving care? What things close to home could be improved? Try to isolate 5 things you think need help in your world. Just concentrate on what you would change if you could. Research the things you could do to help with these causes. Now, record both the cause and what what can be done to be apart of the solution and email them to BlushingAmbers@gmail.com

1. World Hunger -  Participate in the Hunger Walk for the Greater Food Depository of Chicago
2. Body Dysmorphic Disorder - Create awareness through programming
3. Sustaining the Earth - Lower my carbon footprint
4. Poverty - Volunteer for programs in the community
5. Gang violence - Be a mentor 

2. Feeling the Love
Channel the spirit of someone close to you who you think of as a caring and compassionate person towards you. In this moment, try to love yourself the way someone else does. Look toward the camera through their eyes and imagine the camera is you. Take a self-portrait. Along with your picture, send me an email of the name of the person who's spirit you channeled while taking your photo atBlushingAmbers@gmail.com
Channeling my mother

3. Show Some Empathy
Isolate one of the five things you came up with in the writing exercise. Pick the one of most importance to you that you feel needs YOUR help. Truly feel your desire to help, to make a difference, to affect the situation. Whatever your reaction, set up your camera and show me through your eyes the compassion you have. Take a self-portrait and email it to me with your chosen cause and the emotion you were portraying to BlushingAmbers@gmail.com.
My Cause: Body Dysmorphic Disorder Awareness/Emotion:Caring

4. Make That Change!
Imagine yourself contributing to the cause and finding a solution and change for the thing you perceived to need help. Take a self-portrait and email it to me with your chosen cause and the emotion you were portraying to BlushingAmbers@gmail.com
Cause:Body Dysmorphic Disorder/Emotion:Fearless!
Look for The Beauty Equation Challenge Posts every Tuesday and Thursday. 

See Other Blogger's Beauty Equations 
April Antoinette Beauty - Posted once a week every Tuesday or Wednesday 



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