In a world filled with Instagram images, beauty filter apps and size zero celebrities, it can be hard to feel beautiful. Especially when all of these images seem to say that in order to be beautiful you need to be stick thin and blemish free.
Yet… despite us being fully aware that these images are not 100% natural and that behind every image there is a team of digital editors and make-up artists – this knowledge doesn’t stop us from comparing ourselves to these models or from developing feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.
Instead, we end up measuring ourselves against these images and placing beauty on an impossibly high pedestal. A pedestal that often feels insurmountable, unattainable and only accessible to the elite.
Beauty and Social Media
Take Instagram for example…
This social media platform was originally designed to allow its members to share beautiful imagery with their friends, family and other members of the network. From photos of locations and places you had visited to images of delicious meals consumed on a night out; it all started off pretty innocent.
Yet with time – and I think you’ll agree with this – this platform has dramatically transformed into what can only be described as ‘selfie central’. True, you can still browse stunning landscapes and yummy desserts, but alongside this, you can also see a greater focus on self-promotion/imagery amongst its members.
And this opinion can sadly be applied to a number of social media networks.
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp… in a lot of cases, people now use these platforms to solely show-off pictures of themselves looking amazing.
Now, don’t get me wrong… There is nothing wrong with sharing images of your life. In fact, everyone deserves the chance to show off moments when they looked and felt incredible.
However, when every photo on social media only ever shows you someone photographed at their best angle or after their image has been filtered through a ‘beauty’ app; then what you are left with is the perception that to be beautiful you need to be free of any imperfections.
And this simply isn’t true…
Magazines similarly paint beauty a certain way, creating unrealistic expectations on how you should look and dress. For instance, when have you ever seen a cover of a celebrity where they are suffering from bloating, a spot breakout or bags under their eyes? The answer is – never! Instead, their skin is always shown to be smooth, clear and healthy, and there is never a hair out of place.
And this is incredibly frustrating because deep down we know this isn’t how they look day to day. Safe in the sanctuary of their homes/ away from the camera, they are just like the rest of us. They too suffer from insecurities and issues with their skin, appearance and weight.
So what can you do? How can you ensure that these media perceptions of beauty don’t influence your own self-worth?
Simple. First, you’ve got to accept that beauty is a double-edged sword. It is not good, but neither is it bad. It is simply two sides of the same coin that are controlled by your emotions and perceptions.
Next, you’ve got to take strength from the common saying: ‘You look as good as you feel.’
And it’s true!
Whenever you feel down or self-conscious about your appearance, this feeling easily translates into your body language, posture and behaviour. However, whenever you feel amazing – you know those moments when you are wearing a certain dress that compliments all your curves perfectly – this sense of vibrancy and positivity will escape from every pore.
And it is in these moments that true beauty emerges. It is just a matter of learning how to turn the negative into something positive, and believe in yourself.
You see, instead of placing all of these images on a pedestal and letting them affect your confidence. You can choose to look at these images in another way. In a positive way.
For instance, if makeup can help hide their blemishes – then why can’t they help hide yours? They are using nothing special. Nothing that you can’t find easily on the high street. Yet by mastering some clever make-up tricks, they have managed to hide those spots, cover up those bags, and ultimately raise their own self-esteem.
And you can do the same!
Raise Your Confidence
You too can take the ‘beast’ out of current perceptions of beauty, and instead learn an assortment of tricks that can help you to boost your own self-worth; raise your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Take the following:
Video Tutorials – YouTube is inundated with video tutorials teaching you how to do everything from contouring your face, to applying make-up/foundation for a flawless finish. You can even find videos containing make-up reviews – tested by real people – making it easier for you to find the right products for you.
Similarly, YouTube also offers an array of videos showing you how to achieve different hairstyles through a step by step process.
Visit a makeup stand – places such as Boots and Debenhams typically have makeup counters dedicated to particular brands. Now, these are a fantastic way to pick up tips, as not only are many willing to give you a free makeover (as part of a demonstration of their products); they have also got the equipment to determine the right shade of foundation you should wear.
Makeup artistry courses – similar to video tutorials, registering onto a make-up artistry course can give you an instant confidence boost, as not only can you learn about different make-up techniques; you can also gain a qualification that will enable you to start a new career path.
You don’t even need to attend a class! Association of Learning, for example, offer a range of beauty therapy and make-up artistry courses that are purposefully designed to be studied from the comfort of your own home. This means you can successfully learn all of these tricks in your own time, and still keep your day job. Their most popular course is the Beauty Therapy Level 2.
Trust yourself – all too often we get caught up on what the fashion industry says is ‘in’, instead of taking a look in the mirror and trusting our own perceptions of what suits our body shape.
So instead of trying to stay ‘on trend’, why not take a day to try on a variety of styles – yes even the ones you’ve said no to in the past – and see which clothes make you go ‘wow’ when you look in the mirror? At the end of the day, it is your opinion that matters most, no one else’s. So trust yourself and let your own tastes fashion your wardrobe.
By the end, you will have a wardrobe that will leave you feeling fantastic every day.
Like I said before – beauty is both good and bad. Which direction it falls is completely up to you.
Will you let it become a ‘beast’ and harm your self-esteem? Or will you take back control and become a master of your own beauty? Find the courage to believe in yourself and you’ll soon discover that beauty belongs to all.
Written in collaboration