The 4 Stages of Perception
Throughout our life (and even within different areas of our life – e.g. relationships, career, motherhood…) we go through various stages in each area that take us from ‘novice’ to ‘experienced / wise’. What we experience as a result of our ‘programming’ during these stages helps shape who we become and how we respond to different life events.
We have identified 4 key stages that we move through throughout our life, which we will call Forming, Formed, Transforming, and Transformed – think of them a little bit like moving through the 4 seasons i.e. spring, summer, autumn and winter.
1) Forming perceptions
Discovering your identity. Being open to influences. Feeling self-conscious.
At this stage your ideas around beauty are fluid – they’re chopping and changing and still being formed. You’re discovering your own identity, playing around with ideas, and might be more open to influences from messages from the media, people around you, celebrities and music icons.
Sometimes you may feel that you want to ‘fit in’ and be accepted, at others time you want to rebel and stand out. You can be very conscious about how you look, and care about what other people think.
Some of the challenges it is normal to feel at this stage are pressure to look a certain way, being misunderstood, and feeling confused / unsure about your own identity.
2) Formed perceptions
Creating / confirming your identity. Having a desire to fit in. Outwardly appearing more confident.
At this stage you’re likely to have formed more solid ideals around what beauty and success are, based on the beliefs you developed during your ‘forming’ stage.
You might find yourself trying to work and live according to these beliefs so you can get your ideal job, partner, house, material security etc… However in the process of trying to ‘live up’ to these expectations, it is common for people to ‘disconnect’ from their true self, and create a ‘persona’ or ‘mask’ that presents to the world who they think they should be.
How you perceive yourself goes on to affect how you respond to challenges later on when situations beyond your control disrupt the ‘ideals’ you have created.
Some of the challenges you might face include feeling trapped, isolated (difficult to admit that you’re not happy when everything on the outside is going so well), lack of work life balance and feeling detached from the ‘real’ you (where did that creative, spontaneous, fun person go – and who the heck is this fraud standing in her place?)
3) Transforming Perceptions
Your ‘identity’ is being challenged. Life changing events potentially rock your foundations.
This stage becomes fluid again as things start to change. Time leads to transformation in both our circumstances and our appearance (ageing…motherhood…redundancy). Sometimes these changes are out of our control. Depending on the beliefs you ‘formed’ earlier (see above), these transitional periods can be graceful or painful.
For example once you start to show signs of ageing, if you believe beauty is only about youth and appearance you may feel insecure, threatened by younger women, and turn to cosmetic surgery to hold back the years – and that’s okay – it’s not unusual to feel like this. Everyday activities like shopping can be sociable and fun, or they can be driven by a longing to find something that makes you feel ‘good enough’.
If you have learnt to love and accept yourself as you are, you are more likely to ease into these changes and grow into this new phase of your life more gracefully and with less anxiety.
For women who have spent years building a successful career redundancy can either lead to a sense of loss and lack of identity, or it can be seen as an exciting opportunity to try something new. Life’s not so much about what happens to you, but more about how you allow it to affect you and how you choose to respond.
Some of the challenges at this stage might be that you feel threatened, like you’re not good enough, you’re losing it, and alone.
4) Transformed Perceptions
Inner Wisdom. Self Acceptance. Feeling Liberated.
Life experience can bring with it a certain wisdom that understands true beauty is more than skin deep. Success is about so much more than how we look and what we’ve got. It’s about who we have become, how we live, our relationships, the quality of our support networks, and how much fun we’re having.
If you are lucky enough to reach this stage (and not everyone does), you are likely to feel liberated, balanced and solid. You are living from a place of love (including for yourself) and gratitude.
One of the key challenges of this stage is how to fit in all the wonderful people and opportunities that come your way ? . Also having been through so much experience and gained so many insights – how can you share this wisdom so others can appreciate and benefit from what you’ve learnt along the way…
During each of the 4 stages we gain new insights and experiences that further help shape our beliefs – these insights vary from woman to woman depending on how her belief system has been programmed over the years.
Bear in mind that what we believe affects how we feel.
How we feel affects how we behave.
How we behave affects the results we get.
And the results we get feed back into our belief system – and so the cycle continues.
‘Challenging Perceptions of Beauty’ is about helping women to create a positive self identity that empowers them to live their lives expressing who they are, and not who they think they should be.
We use non-judgmental, fun ways of helping women to explore the ‘stories’ they have created around their self-perception through 4 stages (see above), then support them as they find the courage to challenge those stories, and create a new life with re-defined ideals around beauty and success. The end result is confident, influential role models who are happy with themselves, their relationships, their careers… We are open to collaborating with like-minded companies and individuals to challenge perceptions around beauty, and create an evolution of thinking that will help the beauty industry relate to its customers in a healthier more fulfilling way.
To start an evolution that changes the relationship between women and the beauty industry. We think of it as an evolution, not a revolution. Revolutions are about fighting – we’re not! Through collaboration we want to create a new generation of role models who challenge thinking and influence messages around beauty, throughout different stages of a woman’s life.