The Pressure To Be Beautiful

There is no doubt that there is immense pressure to be beautiful. Maybe there is pressure for you to have abs, be toned, be tough; maybe the pressure you experience is to be fit and skinny, to be ‘pretty’, lose some weight, or gain some weight. Your culture, your age, your gender and your ethnicity may all be factors affecting the pressure you feel around how you should look, and how you and those around you define beauty. Something I have noticed is that when someone says they feel and are beautiful, they get labelled as ‘vain’. Hey, everyone is beautiful and if you can see that, then that is one of the best things you can admit to yourself. Sadly, it is incredibly rare to find someone completely ok with the way they look; no matter how ‘perfect’ someone may appear, if you ask them if they love the way they look there is always something they would improve or are not happy with. Just because someone fits your definition of beautiful or perfect, does not mean they are happy.

All around us there is pressure and products to try to help us reach the sometimes superficial expectations for our appearance that we set ourselves; diet pills, detoxes, fitness pills and powders, beauty products – the list goes on. I myself will not deny I am sometimes a sucker for such things; I have found myself on detoxes that make me feel lifeless just to lose weight that I probably don’t need to, yet still I order them online. In my younger teens I received treatment, and am fortunately recovered from having anorexia and bulimia that literally took control of my life. The truth is that neither of these things made me feel any more beautiful than before like I thought they would; with the latter I got very sick and thought I looked ‘uglier’ and ‘fatter’ than I had ever been, when in reality I was literally starving myself to death.

So what is my point with all of this? I would like to encourage you to accept yourself as you are. It is hard, I know, but you are worth more than your weight, the makeup on your face, the number of abs you have, and the size of clothes you wear. When people are complimenting you, accept it. It’s harder said than done, but that person would not say it unless they meant it. Heck, maybe you feel and look damn good or did something awesome, so compliment yourself!

I challenge you to compliment yourself every day and see what happens. Maybe compliment yourself on how well you did on an assignment, how good you look in that dress, how you have increased your running distance, how you are a good friend, maybe even compliment yourself for being awesome. Write it down and put it in a jar to read when you are feeling down, or maybe say it aloud in front of the mirror. Maybe do neither of these two things, and just think it to yourself. Compliment others too; it could change their whole day around and make a bigger difference than you think.

If it’s about weight, smash the scale if it helps, because it is nothing. And you are worth everything. Beauty is more than skin deep; your personality, your laugh, your goals, your dreams, your wishes, they are all beautiful. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL; the journey to seeing it yourself may be long and most of us are still trying to get there. I truly hope you experience the beauty you hold that everyone around you so easily sees.

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