Challenge the standards of what women and men should look like

Challenge standards

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 are standards of what’s considered attractive.

While looks have always been prominent, I’m finding that the focus on looks these days seems more important than what’s on the inside. Scanning Instagram is just one indicator. I’m almost ready to quit Instagram personally. I got too sucked into the game of only posting my best pictures, and it’s time to step out of it.

It happens with the blog too. Sometimes, it takes me as long to pick pictures to go with a post as it does to write it; especially the main one. I always wonder if the photo is polished enough to draw people in to read the post. And I have to say that I do spend a good deal of time writing a post, so the extra time hunting for pictures isn’t time I necessarily have with a full-time job too. I always hope that content will be enough, but I recognize that most of us are visual as well.

Increased pressure

Humber Bay

The need to look 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 get 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 their 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 than you do in person. The result of all of this is that 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?

_Love Locks_11

Love yourself as you are

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.

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. If it helps, stay off of social media for awhile.

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.

Washington Square Park, NYC

Smile more! Aldo playing guitar

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.

Flattery works, so give yourself compliments. 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.

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!

Bicep curls

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.
  • Sleep and drink enough water, for the same reasons as eating well.
  • Don’t forget to pamper yourself! Give yourself an at-home spa treatment once in a while.
  • When you’re feeling less than stellar, throw an outfit on that makes you feel your best, no matter where you’re going.

Reduce the time you spend with people that put you down. I sound like a broken record here but 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. Focus on the positive people in your life.

Sam Tim and Vin

I have a very supportive brother and sister!

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!

For some more tips read, Pick me ups to look and feel your best.

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

66 replies »

  1. Great blog! It is true that some people have unrealistic expectations. When setting goals, people need to think what is attainable and set reasonable goals. There are cases with people that have done plastic surgery and are still not happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Marko! I really appreciate it. I agree, that there are cases where they’re still not happy, and keep trying. It’s a hard cycle to break out of. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Have a great day!

      Like

  2. I love this post! And not sure if it’s just me, or if you changed your format. But I can’t “like” the post. The last few blog posts there has been no like button for me 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Susan! That means a lot. I did change my format, I wanted to test out something new. It’s been a few days. Thanks for giving me my first feedback on it. It seems a little weird to me without it too so I will probably change it back! Have a wonderful day 🙂

      Like

  3. Love this post. I’ve just stepped away from social media for a while. The fake photos really make it hard to get to the real ones and the reason why these tools were good in the beginning. Thanks for sharing 👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done post. This is an important topic and I am glad you included men as well. I know the pressures aren’t the same, but as someone getting up there in years, I do feel it and hear the comments about keeping myself in a specific shape to keep up, not for the health reasons

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. I appreciate it. I’m glad you found it useful for men as well. I have heard people say similar things to other men in my family too. Thanks very much for you sharing your experience.

      Like

  5. This is an excellent post. I appreciate the effort you put into all of your posts – especially now knowing that you take a long time to choose photos too! I have young children and I hope that the pendulum swings back a bit before they hit their teen years. As a parent you try your best to instill what values you can, but I look at everything outside of that and have some worry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you kindly. That means so much. I have to try to stop with the pics 🙂 it’s too much. That would be a tough one for sure, I can’t even imagine. I think from what I’ve seen, some are starting to step away from it a little bit from what I’ve seen with nieces and nephews so I think it is very possible. Thanks for sharing your story. Much appreciated.

      Like

    • Thank you kindly. That means a lot. It is hard I think for so many people but I haven’t heard a lot of people talking about it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I hope you have a wonderful day

      Like

  6. Love this post! I would have thought I was passed the age of caring what strangers thought of me online, but I found out I wasn’t when I was on IG. I got come comments from one person that hurt for some reason so I made my account private and barely go on it anymore. It is harder than when I was young for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much I appreciate it. Thanks also for sharing your experience. It is hard I think no matter what age, It’s a different level. It’s awful that someone was so rough that you had to take those measures.

      Like

  7. This is great. I do find IG an issue too primarily because it’s picture focused and snapchat because you still can filter yourself even for a video. Thanks for sharing, it is important to work on what we do for ourselves inside as well

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for sharing. This was great. I closed my IG account because I couldn’t take it. The ads even that are directed towards women are ridiculous. Apps to change everything about yourself is one of the reasons. The other is that people have accounts where they’re just taking other people’s photos off the internet and posting them

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much I appreciate it. Thanks for sharing your experience as well. Yeah I find interesting too that you can just post pics of other people. I’ve found it mostly in fashion or beauty (well where it’s obvious to me). Have a wonderful day

      Like

    • I agree, I really like some of the beautiful images and posts I see from people, and what it was when I first joined. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I hope you have a great night or day (depending on when you read this!) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. As a personal trainer I can say that there is a different level of requests for the fastest way to get a six-pack, bigger glutes, etc. without an understanding that it takes time and not all body types can support certain goals. I have lost a few clients because I didn’t give the quick fix solution they were looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience with it. I guess it’s true if you don’t give some people what they want, even if it’s impossible, they’ll go to the person that will tell them what they hear, even if it doesn’t work.

      Like

  10. Thanks for sharing. I find social media can be terrible for self-esteem. Everyone looks so picture perfect all the time. I recognize a lot of it is filtering, photoshop and makeup, but people younger than me are around this all the time

    Liked by 1 person

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