While looks have always been prominent, I’m finding the focus on looking perfect is intense these days. Scanning social media is just one indicator. It’s gotten so bad that people are filtering out their knuckles to make their hands appear smooth. The photo is via Daily Mail (don’t judge, it had the photo I needed :)!).
The need to look perfect has made Botox, fillers, and 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 famous people. 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.
I don’t have an issue with people getting work done. I am more concerned with what the extremes are doing to the esteem of some, especially teens.
Fake it ‘til you make it approach
If you can’t afford plastic surgery, Botox or fillers, 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 is that some people are bullying others online for looking so different than expected. It’s a no-win situation. 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.
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 a while.
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.
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 if it takes me until I’m 80-years-old, I will confidently rock a mini skirt!
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. I wrote about some DIY masks you can make in my new magazine Style Adventure Magazine.
- 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.
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 rock a mini, but right now I will wear them, but not as confidently as I want!