Approach 2017 with a new outlook on what women and men should look like

Mixed raced group of friends commuting in city

There is a lot of emphasis on the need to look perfect and young at all times. Media plays a huge part in how we view what is considered attractive in women and men. The standards don’t always mesh with what’s considered beautiful in different cultures or parts of the world, which can lead to complexities for some people. No matter what generation or what part of the world we’re from, there always are set standards of what’s considered attractive. While looks have always been prominent, I’m finding the exterior look has become more important than what’s on the interior. Scanning Instagram is just one indicator.

Increased pressure
The need to look so perfect has made plastic surgery so popular. The rise in the “plastic surgery norm” has made it difficult for some people who can’t afford it, or don’t want to do it, feel like they’re attractive enough. People are bullied for not looking as good as celebrities or models. Celebrities aren’t even immune to it, so how can the rest of us not feel the pressure?

Personally, I don’t know one person who is 100% happy with the way they look, myself included. Many of us are guilty of being hyper-critical of ourselves and there is always something we can pick apart. For me, my calves drive me nuts. I can’t seem to get them any bigger, no matter how hard I try (without getting implants!). When I was in high school, people picked on me about how skinny I was.

Fake it ‘til you make it approach today
If you can’t afford plastic surgery, you can contour things to make you look different. Don’t have a six-pack but also don’t feel like putting in a lot of effort into working out and changing your eating habits? No problem, you can use makeup to contour to make it look like you have abs. Some also use heavy contouring to alter the appearance of features on the face. Photoshop, filters, and apps can also help you change your looks. But what does this achieve? You look like a different person in pictures or once the makeup comes off than you do in person. It has led to bullying where people are starting to call out other people online for looking so different than expected. It’s a no-win situation for some. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t do it.

So what should someone do with all the pressure to look perfect?

Here are some natural ways I used to learn to embrace the things I wish I could change
I grew up in an area where I stood out as very different looking. I would never be able to look like my friends, so I chose to let it go before it ruined my confidence.

  1. Don’t hold yourself to unattainable standards.Stop living up to unachievable ideals; yours or anyone else’s including family, friends or the media. You don’t need to look a certain way to be beautiful. Also, what’s considered attractive on people changes all the time.
  2. Play up your assets.Like your eyes, smile or arms? Highlight those features. If you’re having trouble nailing down your qualities, ask a friend to help you. It also works to help you focus more on the positive things rather than dwelling on negative ones.
  3. Learn to accept your quirks.Everyone has quirks. Embrace them! What’s original about the way you look is what makes you remarkable and separates you from everyone else. Accentuate it, don’t hide it. For example, if you have a lopsided smile, keep smiling, don’t cover your mouth while you do it. If you highlight what’s unique about you, you may learn to appreciate it more.
  4. Flattery works, so compliment yourself.Do you even listen to what your inner voice says, or how you talk about yourself to others? Instead of making negative comments, try to say more positive or at least neutral things. It can help remind you that while you may not look the way you want, you have features that you like.
  5. Workout.Even if your body isn’t one of the things you’re concerned about, research shows that when you shift from a focus on looks to function, you feel more positive about yourself overall. If your body is one of the things you are unhappy about, it will help you. Aim for realistic goals. Even though I will never get my calves exactly where I want them based on genetics, I can get them strong. I figure that even if it takes me until I’m 80-years-old, I will confidently rock a mini skirt!
  6. Treat yourself well.Eat healthily; it shows on your skin. Poor eating habits can make you look tired, can make your skin look sallow and also lead to other skin conditions. Pamper yourself! Give yourself an at-home spa treatment once in a while. When you’re feeling less than stellar, throw something on that makes you feel your best, no matter where you’re going.
  7. Reduce the time you spend with people that put you down.You can’t accept yourself if negativity surrounds you. Moderate the amount of time you spend with them. When you do have to see them, concentrate on the positive things other people say about you and ignore the criticisms.
  8. Look confident.Stand up straight, hold your head up high and walk like you’re confident, even if you don’t feel it. Acting like you’re a confident person may help you start feeling confident as well. See my point in tip #5, I will eventually confidently rock a mini, but right now I will wear them, but not as confidently as I want!

I hope some of these tips work for you too. Let me know some of yours.

32 replies »

  1. What a wonderful article Sam. Nowadays, especially Generation Z where they are so privileged with latest technologies, think that everything is owed to them and that life is all about the exterior outlook. I just remember my teenage years trying my hardest to be the best student and that was the most important thing to me back then. Not saying that all Gen Z is focused on just looks but social media is not helping at all defining what beautiful is and what it should mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Rudina! I do feel a little blessed growing up when this wasn’t a concern. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be a teenager right now with these types of pressures. I just noticed another new app that you can change your skin, hair and eye colours. I can’t believe that is being promoted…I have to find it again to get the name to see what it is really about. Thanks for sharing your perspective and your story!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written! I was a scrawny kid growing up and got picked on which made me want to be a body builder. However, after trying too hard, I learned to accept my body and be positive and proud. Even though I still work out, I am focused on on the mental and physical well being of myself and having energy. Your article was a personal connection.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much! That means a lot. I did the same thing. I tried so many things to gain weight and just couldn’t so I’ve had to accept it. And like you said, be proud (which was the hardest part for me). I work out to feel good and keep healthy now. Thank you very much for sharing your story. It was also a personal connection for me! I don’t know many who felt the same. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Have a great day!


  3. There was a movie a while back called “Shallow Hal” starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow where Black’s character see’s Paltrow’s character who is fat in the movie as someone who is gorgeous. I think its a part of seeing others with beauty and grace as well as showing kindness to people no matter how they look. Not everyone is going to be supermodel thin or ruggedly handsome. Be good to one another and things will be alright.

    Liked by 2 people

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