I used to harshly judge beautiful people who looked like they spent more time on their appearance than their character or education. That was a foolish way of thinking.
It was foolish because I projected my self-resentment onto them. In other words, I was not pleased with my appearance and felt insecure as a result. Therefore, anyone who prioritized beauty and adorned themselves accordingly were reminders of what I thought I was lacking.
I also dealt with an internal struggle about materialism. I’m a natural-born tree-hugger and tend to detest the thought of acquiring things. Consequently, I harshly judged people who loved to shop and build a closet full of stuff they hardly used only to dispose of everything when it no longer had value.
A legitimate concern; however, pair that with an incessant insecurity and you’ve got yourself one confused soul.
These days, I feel secure in my appearance. I also feel secure in other people’s appearances. I no longer feel the struggle, and I actually embrace and appreciate fashion and beauty. Here’s why:
It’s not about me
Doesn’t it always boil down to narcissism?
Our natural tendency to view the world egotistically is such a relentless barrier in our relationships and our quest for happiness.
One of the best ways to overcome any insecurity, especially insecurities related to personal appearance, is to let go of the notion that the entire universe is looking at you.
Once I realized and accepted that other people’s appearances and lives have absolutely nothing to do with me, it was a lot easier to look at those people as a work of art and not a work of the devil.
It was also easier to look in the mirror and accept what I saw. And what I saw was a canvas.
I am a canvas
Not a canvas for lots of makeup and things that would make me look dramatically different, but a clean slate and an opportunity to clearly define who I am and show that person to the world.
I started taking good care of my skin in a way that aligns with my personal philosophies.
One of my overarching philosophies is that if I can’t put it in my body, I shouldn’t put it on my skin. So, I reduced the amount of products I used regularly, such as face wash, anti-aging moisturizers, zit cream, and peels, and replaced those products with items I found in my kitchen.
I mainly use coconut oil on my skin head-to-toe to wash and moisturize. The oil removes makeup and dirt while moisturizing and providing nutrients to my skin and insides.
Whenever my skin feels a little gritty, I make a quick scrub with sugar or salt and coconut or olive oil. When my skin is irritated, I grind up some old fashioned oats and mix them with tablespoon of yogurt. Work like a charm.
I’ll never part with my tinted moisturizer and mascara, however. These are necessities. Period. I also never leave the house without sunscreen to protect my skin from UV radiation, but mainly prefer to just limit my facial exposure to the sun.
This is just one example of how I learned to accept myself, stay true to my personal philosophies, and reveal a healthy, happy face to the world. Proof that caring about the way we look doesn’t have to be about vanity and getting other people’s approval.
I love fashion
Did you read that?! The all-natural, tree-hugging minimalist loves fashion.
But isn’t fashion so materialistic? Aren’t clothes and accessories and fine things the archenemy of world preservation and humanitarianism?
Here’s the deal…
The world never really changes. Only our perspectives change. And when we look at the world from a different perspective, we see things that we never knew existed.
The act of purchasing a piece of clothing is not inherently evil. Relying on that piece of clothing to provide us with happiness, safety, and security is not so good, however.
As long as we are conscious shoppers and make responsible purchasing decisions, I really don’t believe there is any harm in enjoying the beautiful works that human hands create.
Buying clothes from companies that utilize child labor, harmful chemicals, wasteful operations, and unethical business practices is definitely frowned upon. It’s hard to discern such companies when strutting around a store, so we are required to educate ourselves and be active participants in our purchasing instead of passive consumers that just accept whatever is in front of us.
I’m not an avid shopper by any means (except for wine…I shop for wine a lot…), but I do purposefully choose clothing items that reflect who I am and how I want others to feel when they are around me. As I learn more about designers and companies, I discover that there are many people in the world who are trying to turn fashion into a humanitarian effort.
For instance, International Princess Project creates clothing in order to provide jobs and stability for women who are victims of sex slavery and human trafficking in India. My cousin and guest author of this blog, Annie, gave me a pair of PUNJAMMIES shorts as a Christmas gift one year. It was such a meaningful purchase that both of us felt good about. I love talking about my PUNJAMMIES and knowing that Annie’s money was well spent. (Article on International Princess Project and PUNJAMMIES definitely pending. Stay tuned.)
My interest in fashion is yet another way I have learned to accept myself, stand up for what I believe in, and help change the world for the better. More proof that caring about the way we look doesn’t have to be about vanity, materialism, and societal approval.
Change your perspective, change the world as you know it
The moral of the story here is this: Care about looking your best and do so in a way that aligns with your personal philosophies, goals, and values.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to show the world your best face.
Looking good doesn’t have to be materialistic. If you place too much value in your appearance and your adornments, then the scale can tip to toward vanity. However, if you appreciate who you are, it is totally okay to take care of yourself so that you show the world your best self.
Make purchases that align with your philosophies to help support a better world for you to live in. Learn about companies and make sure they are acting in a way that is acceptable to you. Buy from organizations that support causes you believe in. Talk about these companies with your friends and use the products as gifts to help spread awareness.
Above all, love yourself.
You are a canvas. You are a work of art with all the colors you need to paint the image and life that express exactly who you are and how you want to view the world.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
I hope you see opportunity – opportunity to show the world exactly who you are and what you stand for.
Don’t buy into other people’s approval. Learn to love and accept yourself.
Let go of the notion that you are at the center of the universe, and view the world from a different perspective. You might just see how beautiful everyone truly is. And you might see beauty in yourself.