Dying to be Pretty

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul.”

Audrey Hepburn

We all desire to be attractive. Pursuing an aesthetically pleasing avatar had been programmed into the collective consciousness for thousands of years. And it continues to be inextricably linked to our self-esteem and how we see ourselves in the world.

MAYBE SHE’S BORN WITH IT…BUT IF NOT, WE CAN CREATE IT.

When I was young, we didn’t have social media platforms to compare ourselves to; we had teen magazines. All the most beautiful specimens on the earth were photographed for their fans to adore.

And while it could undoubtedly make you feel like shit about yourself, there wasn’t much you could do about it. Sure, you could dye your hair, fix your nails, push your teeth back with braces and beg for a nose job, but you couldn’t escape YOU.

Fast forward to 2022, and it’s an entirely different ball game. Not only can you get all of the above, but you can alter your facial and body features so that you no longer resemble yourself. And at the very least, if you can’t afford those procedures, you can filter yourself to the nines until you have created the best version of yourself to live indefinitely in cyberspace.

So what’s wrong with that?

The answer is nothing.  There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be the best version of yourself.

Cleaning up your photographs, so they present well is not in and of itself harmful.

Moderate surgical enhancements to maintain a youthful look, fix a deformity or address a feature you have been desperately unhappy with are all acceptable, in my opinion.  It is not until they become an obsession that they become dangerous.

When we filter our faces to look like another human being or alter our avatars with surgeries and injectables to the point of no longer resembling our proper form, we must start to look at what is happening beneath the surface.

We have gone to an extreme.

An extreme is when we cross the line from beneficial to toxic.  Extremes indicate at tip in the balance of nature. And since nature always seeks to restore balance, the result of extremes can be devastating.

INFLUENCER CULTURE

Instagram, or the Gram.

Billions of people scroll through this cyberspace photo-sharing phenomenon daily. Many of them are looking to be a part of the world’s most prolific social media app, some hoping to garner that coveted “influencer”  title that comes with a hefty dollar amount and that coveted rise to fame.

Other uses for the app range from promoting businesses and brands to sharing photos with family and friends.

Is Instagram itself bad? No.

At its best,  it provides us with a connection to those we would otherwise not be able to connect with. It broadens our reach and allows us to engage with humans on a worldwide platform.

At its worst, it’s an abyss of narcissistic obsession creating a toxic mindset that destroys millions of users’ self-esteem.

While social media isn’t solely to blame for eons of beauty programming, it has forced us into that dreaded extreme.  But it didn’t start there.

It is embedded in our DNA to seek beauty and perfection outside of ourselves, mainly because we have forgotten the truth about their origins.

THE RAMIFICATIONS

Anorexia, appearance anxiety, body dysmorphia, low self-esteem, extreme self-hatred, depression, and suicide. We have always dealt with these things, but they have skyrocketed in the last few years.

Images of puffy, wrinkle-free faces, perfect ultra-white porcelain teeth, frozen heads, pulled jaws, fox eyes, and filled faces that make their owner unrecognizable have become the norm.  And it’s not just the faces that are worrisome. People are mutilating their bodies, starving themselves, or exercising to the point of exhaustion to keep up with a body type that has been heavily modified.

We are all beginning to look alike, removing any trace of culture, uniqueness, or originality from our avatars.  As a result, we wonder if we can even be considered beautiful without altering our faces and bodies beyond recognition.

And yet day in and day out, we continue to hold ourselves to this manufactured standard of beauty that those who participate in promoting can’t even live up to.

We are convincing ourselves that this altered state is what we must look like to be considered beautiful, even though most people’s natural beauty is far superior to any of it.  The mental confusion surrounding this behavior reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode, “Eye of the Beholder.”  If you haven’t watched it, take a peek.

This narcissistic self-obsession is poisoning the minds of young women and men everywhere, to the point where they feel hopeless. This hopelessness, while perpetuating; low self-esteem and self-hatred, has, in some cases, resulted in deadly consequences.  Because even if you could keep up with the constant trends, facial and body modifications, it does NOT solve the inherent problem lying beneath it all.

LACK OF SELF-WORTH.

When we don’t like ourselves and are led to believe that changing our physical avatars will solve all our problems, we are entering the realm of delusion.  “Just do what I do,” says a celebrity influencer, and down the rabbit hole, we go.

At first, we might fix one tiny thing. We notice we are getting more attention, and our self-esteem increases, but when it wanes ( as nature dictates through the law of rhythm), we rush out to change the next thing. We fix one more thing, then the next, then the next, and yet our lives still don’t improve.

Why is this the case? Because our underlying issues aren’t being addressed. The cry for attention and love we so desperately seek is not being remedied. Rather than miraculously fall in love with ourselves, we fill our subconscious with more negative thoughts every time we fail to meet this unrealistic expectation.

We see ourselves as uglier, older, fatter, dumber, etc. We realize that while we might be happy in certain moments, it is fleeting because we know that we aren’t infinitely more popular even if there was a spike; we can’t seem to reach fame’s greatest heights or get that person to fall in love with us even though we now resemble their crush. And if our follower count drops, or our engagement lessens? We fall deeper into despair.

This despair causes the illnesses mentioned above: anorexia, appearance anxiety, body dysmorphia, low self-esteem, extreme self-hatred, depression, and suicide. And while these things have always been around, we cannot deny there is a link between the use of social media apps and the accelerated downward spiral of our mental health.

We are killing ourselves and our children. But over what? Nothing but a lie.

THE REMEDY?

True beauty has nothing to do with the cream you put on your face, the poison you use to freeze it, the chemicals that fill it, or the implants that enhance your assets. While there is nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves, the idea that we NEED them to be considered attractive is a lie.

If you want to do all of that…DO IT.  But do it from the right mental space. Come to your body with the desire for these enhancements from a place of love.

Because true beauty has nothing to do with what you look like, and it NEVER will.

True beauty comes from within. It’s an energy that radiates from the inside out.

Let’s look at the most handsome person. In some cases, people may not be attracted to them because their beauty may be marred with a conceit or pride (lower vibrational energy)

Then there is a person who may not be what is considered “attractive.” Still, they are overflowing with loving-kindness (high vibrational energy); they speak softly and politely and suddenly become the most attractive person.

We need to shift our consciousness from obsessing over our physical beauty to cultivating our inner beauty.  This is not by shaming people with “I am better than you because I don’t use a filter.” This is equally toxic.

Everything in moderation is fine. It’s about navigating the ship out of the extreme.  It’s about meeting each other where we’re at with love and compassion.

In a society where the truth is presented as a lie and the liars our saviors, it will take quite a bit of self-reflection to get to this point of wisdom, but if we band together, we can do it. We have the power to make inner beauty the trend. If not for ourselves, for the health and well-being of our children and grandchildren.

As the late, great Whitney Houston once sang, “I found the greatest love of all inside of me.”

 

Keep Seeking,

 

 

 

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