"When I was a little girl, I was often reprimanded for admiring myself in the mirror. But I say to you, never lose an opportunity to look into every mirror you pass, but always do so from the corner of your eyes."
-Madame Josephine Jaquet
1. Definitely a little of both. I see myself more and more as I am and appear to others as I learn, often through the love of my partner in this life, that my body does not dictate my worth. In that sense I am able to see more clearly and am able to see myself as a strong, cohesive and attractive whole. But on the other side of it there is still an aspect of me that disects my body, whether I want it to or not, and picks apart the little inherent (and obvious only to me) flaws. That side sees things that aren't there, visions brought about through the poison that still works it's way through my mind from time to time. I've tried to cure myself but I see it as a constant, as something that is not curable as it is a part of me I must deal with for life. But that part of me is buried more and more by my relationship, and the love I feel there is fast crippling those poisonous thoughts.
2.Yes and no. Modesty has it's good and bad sides, but in some cases, especially when admiring ourselves, modesty can be a bad thing. As a society, so many of us have learned to exhibit modesty in our appearances not because we think it's the right thing to do, but because we feel ashamed of what we look like. But I truly believe that the worst thing a person can do is to start to inhibit themselves in any respect because all that does is start a landslide of cautiousness and second guessing about our own worth. Be yourself and trust in your own appearance, styles and personality. Modesty is not always good when a strong ego boost can help a person to find out who they truly are.
3.More often than not I find that I have changed in this regard. It used to be that I would look at other men and feel so much less than they are because I'm not cut or as lean as I'd like to be, or have defined strong arms, etc. But again, through finding myself and finding a love that is pulled towards me in -every- respect, I find that more and more now I look to others and can see them for their wholes, and not just a part of them I wish I had. And when I see those wholes, I see more and more that I would not change myself, inside or out, for anything.
I think that people are told to be modest or feel that they should be modest because to admit that you feel and are attractive without apology is considered obnoxious, arrogant and even narcissistic.
We are supposed to hold back a bit because it is "polite" and "decent". I am not sure where this stems from...perhaps back to the Victorian era? Beauty is considered power for women and to bask in that power is intimidating to both women and men for the same and different reasons.
I do think there is a difference between having a healthy self-concept vs. being flat out narcissistic and elitist. I think that needs to be analyzed and questioned further by more people. It is important that we see ourselves positively but in a realistic context...realistic meaning that it is humble without being repressive to ourselves. I guess some will define this as modesty and therefore argue that it is healthy. Perhaps we need a definition of what modesty means to us first before answering this question?
I also think that men think of themselves differently when it comes to their appearance...on average. Beauty is considered to be more of a woman's characteristic...a required and defining one actually. It is tied into her essence of femininity both through the perception of others and herself. It is hard to break away from this tradition because it's such an ingrained way of thinking.
Looks matter for men (appearance of strength...and size in height, weight, and penis size for example), but not nearly as much. I think masculinity is based more on what a man can do, how intelligent he is and how strong and successful in the realm of career and finance he is. This relates further to how his masculinity (defined in this fashion) can attract women (given that this is about heterosexual men).
As we get more members here hopefully, I'd love to hear more perspectives about how this might differ or be similar regarding males who are homosexual.