Beauty is an inside job
What do we think of when we think ‘beautiful’? Thankfully, beauty in 2018 is diverse. The old rules no longer apply. There is a movement to celebrate uniqueness and reality in place of ‘fake’ appearances.
Social media isn’t helping though in the way it promotes the wrong perception of what beauty should be, and the need to always look ‘ready’ for that selfie. We are bombarded with images of what we are ‘supposed’ to look like and because we’re social creatures, there is a need to ‘conform’. But what about when this impacts on our mental health? Supermodel, Adwoa Aboah, has spoken openly about her history with depression and her suicide attempt and observes that “this fake life that we try and project into the universe” is not authentic.
Luckily there is a growing number of such icons, known for their beauty, who are highlighting the fact that long legs, a tiny waist and lots of make-up is no longer relevant. What is important is what’s underneath. Model Milly Evans struggled to get support because people couldn’t understand that someone attractive can be depressed. And when model Christie Turlington quit her addiction to tobacco she put on weight and felt happier but was rejected by the fashion industry. The result? A return to school, a healthier lifestyle and charity work. Which is more beautiful? We need to dispel the myths that beauty brings you happiness.
Body Neurosis doesn’t discriminate. We can look beautiful to others but we still strive for our own version of perfection. And because there is no such thing, such a mission is very likely to affect our emotional health. A 2016 survey found that almost two thirds of Brits were on a diet in the quest to get the perfect body. That doesn’t sound very fulfilling.
So, what is beauty today? Someone with a positive sense of self who projects confidence and security. It’s about having genuine relationships based on the ‘real’ us (warts and all). It’s about positive attention based on more than appearance. It’s feeling a sense of control and appreciation instead of the 24/7 quest for the next ‘best’ thing. It’s about having a real sense of meaning and purpose in our lives beyond beauty and fashion. And it’s about experiencing status by recognising our strengths, our achievements and competencies. So the important question is, “What makes you beautiful?”
Mental Health & Wellbeing: Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Trainer & Consultant
It’s Time for Change