You're Wasting Your Time Trying to Look Good
Scrolling through social media today, I saw post after post after post from women about one topic: their looks.
Posts about weight and weight loss and feeling pudgy. Posts about how they are ugly or apologizing for not having makeup or for messy hair. As I scrolled on and looked at all the negative body talk, it hit me.
We waste so much of our lives worrying about how we look when we are worth so, so, so much more than that.
I know that’s not a novel thought. I know there have been millions of articles published about body positivity and self-worth. Still, how effective are these messages in combatting the equally if not more prominent message in the media--that we must look a certain way to be worthy?
Minutes before noticing all of the negative body talk, I, too, had been engaging in the daily war with my body and looks. I had been studying my stomach in the mirror trying to assess how much bigger it is than a few years ago. I was making a mental checklist of all of the beauty routines I needed to do today--a face mask to help with those wrinkles, a hair mask to add more shine and take away frizz. I needed to put on the fake eyelashes because mine were too weak and fill in my eyebrows which are remnants from the early 2000s overplucking trend. The list kept growing, as it always does, and I felt exhausted and behind before the day even really started.
There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your looks. There is nothing wrong with makeup and beauty products if they make you feel good (God knows I have quite a collection of products in my bathroom because I love them). But at what point does having fun with trying to improve your looks overtake your self-worth or detract from your priorities? At what point can we say enough is enough, I am beautiful as I am? Because in my experience, it’s never enough. You will never, in your mind, live up to the impossible beauty standards we are bombarded with daily. You will never see yourself for the beautiful person you are--your eyes are trained to focus on the “problems.” If you lose those ten pounds or get rid of those wrinkles or perfect your eyeliner, there will always be something else your eyes focus on. If we aren’t careful, the beauty industry convinces us that we are nothing but a walking set of appearance problems that need fixed. If we let it, the industry will convince us we aren’t beautiful or skinny enough or worthy of the life we want.
A few weeks ago, I spent an hour curling my hair, putting on eyelashes, shaving my legs, plucking my eyebrows, slapping on fake nails, and perfecting my lipstick. I missed out on an hour of sunshine, an hour with my dog, an hour sipping coffee to cover myself in products. A few hours into the day, my nails were snagging on things, the eyelashes were driving me nuts, and the lipstick was all over my favorite coffee cup. And, after finally being fed up and ripping off the nails, eyelashes, and wiping off the makeup, I felt freer. It was like emerging from a suffocating coffin. It was like breathing for the first time because I realized that all of the annoying procedures and steps I had taken weren’t really necessary. I didn’t need eyelashes to see the gorgeous sunset or my husband’s smile. I didn’t need perfect eyebrows for him to be proud of what I’ve accomplished or for my dreams to come true. I didn’t need fake nails to pet my dog or to grab the life I want.
Did I look like a magazine cover? Hell no. I didn’t when all of the makeup items were perfectly placed to begin with. But in those moments, I realized how much of my time was wasted trying to look good instead of trying to live a good life, a life that fulfilled me. I realized how much “extra” we do in order to meet standards we made up in our heads.
When I looked at those social media posts today, I didn’t see too much belly fat or fine lines or the frizzy hair they claimed to have. I just saw beauty. Unique, one-of-a-kind beauty. I saw strength in their eyes and vulnerability in their hearts. I saw dream chasers, inspirations, and women who have so much on their plate but keep showing up. I saw so many things--but not the things they were agonizing over.
We all have finite time here. This past week, I can’t stop thinking about the families in Surfside waiting for news. My heart aches when I think of those people whose lives were cut short in an instant. Tragedies like the Surfside Building Collapse remind us that nothing is guaranteed. Everything can change in a moment’s notice. Confidence is a beautiful thing. Expressing yourself and your style through makeup and fashion is a good thing. But when we become so obsessed with our outer appearance that we forget our worth, we are in danger of missing out on the most beautiful parts of life.
So the next time you find yourself at war with your looks, just stop. Put the nails and eyelashes and pencils and glosses down. Stop squishing your stomach or eyeing up the cellulite. Stop worrying about the numbers on the scale or the size of your bra. Instead, look into the eyes staring at you in the mirror and remember that you are strong, wise, capable, and most of all, you are worthy.
So damn worthy.
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