IT HURTS TO BE BEAUTIFUL. I used to live by that statement, subjecting myself to painful treatments, restrictive diets, exhausting workouts and spending stupid amounts of money on my hair, skin and nails all for the sake of 'looking good'. Over the last few months I've spent a lot of time reflecting on what this whole idea of looking good really means and why we as a society are so focused on appearance?
What is it about a fit bod, flowing locks and flawless skin that's so appealing?
It's a cop out to blame it on genetics or chemistry. I'm not doubting modern science here or the fact that chemistry exists and is a force to be reckoned with, all I'm saying is I think our culture has added a superficial layer to this primal attraction philosophy. Our psyche has evolved to make split second decisions or judgements on people based solely on their outward appearance, and when these judgements don't line up with the character or personality of the person we're interacting with we make up excuses or exceptions that will allow our beliefs to remain intact. We're essentially battling the power of attraction so that we can surround ourselves with "attractive" people. The real kicker is, for must of us the only reason we do this is to feel accepted and search for some trivial sense of validation. It's not your fault though, this is how we've all been programmed. We're berated on a daily basis by air-brushed images of perfection, subtly dictating the hierarchy of the human form. So no wonder we want to be beautiful and surround ourselves with beautiful people, that's how you make it to the top!
It's all pretty ugly if you ask me...
My point here is that YOU HAVE A CHOICE. You can continue listening to your pre-programmed mind that's forcing you to seek out these superficial connections to ensure your survival in the shallow end of the social pool OR you can start to peel back the layers of that programming and take a deep dive into what type of connections are satisfying for your soul instead of your ego. You might be surprised to find out that the most satisfying connection of them all is the one you have with yourself.
For me this shift unfolded when I started my training to become a health coach. I intentionally began focusing all of my energy inwards, I tackled my thorny relationship with food, started connecting with my body and evaluating my programming around self image and the drive to feel attractive. This is when I realized just how much of my energy and attention was being wasted on vanity. If I wasn't eating 'healthy' (i.e not eating) or working out I was punishing myself for falling off track. I was attached this concept of constantly working towards a goal of perfection but had convinced myself that I was just trying to be healthy. I never acknowledged the massive amount of pressure there is in our society to look good, I was just sitting with it and unknowingly letting it drive my decisions around health and wellness.
With this awareness I was able to start letting go of my programming and begin re-wiring my brain towards making decisions that revolved around FEELING GOOD INSTEAD OF LOOKING GOOD. I've been working my whole life to look good because I thought it would make me feel good and it never panned out, I've been working 8 months on just the feeling good part and coincidentally, I look better. Instead of pushing myself to do workouts I hate, I do things that feel good in my body and that I know will support me feeling good in the future. Instead of eating foods out of deprivation in a constant struggle to maintain my weight, I eat foods that I know will give me energy and won't make me feel bloated or foggy brained and again, because I want to feel good. Making healthy choices no longer feels like something I have to force, I know how clear minded and inspired I feel when I eat well and get good rest so that's what I naturally want to do now. By taking all of the pressure off my decisions and listening to what my body wants I've freed up a ton of energy, I've dropped a few pounds, I've toned up, my skin is brighter and I like what I see when I look in the mirror.
Imagine that, feeling good actually looks good on me.
So start your own shift, experience what it's like to feel good by prioritizing yourself. Let go of trying to be something for someone else and focus on being a more vibrant and energized version of yourself. We don't get to decide how we look, but we damn well get to decide how we feel.