Stop telling yourself you are.
We live in a society where we are judged on physical traits that we do not control. We are identified by others or ourselves with descriptions that are often damaging, whether intentional or ingrained in our perception of acceptable vocabulary. As a society we have finely tuned a mechanism of basing the value of others and ourselves on the external and material world. First impressions, after all, are the most important. Do you take the time to style your hair each morning? Based on a glance does it appear as though you possess the discipline to maintain an attractive weight? Are you projecting your self-worth to those around you by maintaining your image like you should be? Do you take seriously that the type of car you drive says something about you as a person? Each day we are bombarded with images of perfection that anyone in a supermarket or any other every day, average joe, normal type of place can see is not the typical. Despite the magnificent variety and “normalcy” around us we view these false, over sexualized, insecurity inducing images as ideals – luxury, success, happiness – the idea of being someone that others would look up to, respect, or envy. We think life would be better if we could exhibit those qualities. We, as a society, want to be more beautiful. Women want to be skinnier. Men want to be more muscular. Some of us openly put others down for not possessing these “qualities”, as though it deflects attention from our own short comings. We may bully others based on appearance – “I can’t believe she would go out looking like that in public!”, “Doesn’t he know he is too fat to wear that?”, “If she lost a few pounds she could be really pretty.”
It is hate speech that damages others, and our selves, through the solidification of false ideals.
Each year women and men spend untold amounts of money on products (cosmetics, diet pills, pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures and various material items) to “enhance” their beauty and make them feel better about themselves…. products that contain toxic chemicals, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, or carry other health risks. The slogan of all “beauty” campaigns should be “Reducing your longevity just got sexier!” How ridiculous is it that people buy this stuff from companies that perpetuate unattainable standards? They make you feel like you aren’t attractive enough on your own, so you give them money for products that are detrimental to your health, just so you feel better about yourself. Does that make any sense? Nobody needs to slather themselves in chemicals to be beautiful. You don’t need to stop eating carbs. You don’t need to look in the mirror and make a check list of things you need to work on or hide about yourself.
Next time you are in front of the mirror say something positive about yourself and then carry on your way. Next time you see someone that you don’t feel fits your physical ideals be conscious of your thought pattern and remind yourself that looks are not chosen and that value is based on a persons words and actions. Say something nice to that person instead. Take a moment and think about it. What do you value most in others? What standards are you holding yourself to? If you left the house without make up do you think others would judge you negatively? Make a conscious effort to let go of those standards and to look past the external short comings of others and yourself. If you are less judgemental of others they will be less judgemental of you.
You are not your height, your weight, your salary, the car you drive, or the brands you wear. You are the goals you set, the way you treat others, the love you share with the world, the impact you make on society. You do not need to throw your money away on things to alter your external world. You can help our culture shift to healthy morals.