By Sara Mills
The Tower (Princeton, New Jersey)
I wish I could say that every morning I wake up, look in the mirror, and love what I see. But I’d be lying. It’s impossible for everyone to feel like they are enough in a society that labels them as either pretty or ugly, stripping away everything else that makes them who they are. How can we be comfortable with who we are when we’re constantly being told to change? In this struggle to find ourselves, we need to remember that the standard of perfection is just an illusion. Beauty is about finding how to love yourself in a culture based upon self-criticism. I am told to want what I can’t have. People with curly hair want it straight and those with straight hair want it curly. I once felt ashamed to have curly hair. We need to remember that our uniqueness makes us beautiful. Now that I’m embracing my curls, I feel liberated.
The media stresses that we should love ourselves, but once we do, we’re labeled as narcissists. Social media tries to portray girls as naïve, insecure versions of themselves. It makes it seem like we’re supposed to be insecure, like there’s something wrong with being satisfied with ourselves. When we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin, society shoots us down with another label: arrogant. Maybe it’s just confidence.
Confidence is so fragile. It only takes a second for someone to call you ugly and shatter your self-esteem. I’m tired of all those lost hours spent pinpointing my own imperfections, judging myself based on a standard that only a sliver of our population actually reaches. Maybe I’d rather be arrogant.
People should be able to do whatever makes them feel most confident. For me, some days this might be just rolling out of bed and into the car, fresh–faced. But other days, I like to apply makeup. At the moment, the Internet is promoting a bare-faced look and shaming those who like to apply makeup. Where do we draw the line between empowerment and condescension?
I may not need to wear makeup, but I choose to. I like to experiment and change my makeup based on how I’m feeling. My eyeliner empowers me but it doesn’t define me. You cannot determine my level of confidence based on the color of my lips. Individuals should be celebrating and encouraging different lifestyle choices instead of shaming one because they choose not to live it.
Let’s stop worrying about what other people think, and realize that no one can love us more than we can love ourselves.
Photo Credit: Unsplash