NOTE: When I say “beautiful” here, I mean it only in the physical sense, so don’t bash me for not including people who have amazing personalities, have a good heart, etc. Also, I don’t mean to offend anyone in the advice section, this is just my personal opinion! But I do apologize in advance if you do get offended in some way. Anyways, enjoy the article~~
The world is full of beauty standards. They differ from country to country, but they are standards nevertheless.
Until middle school, I never noticed or cared whether someone was tall, short, fat, skinny, pretty, or average. I only noticed what people wore and owned. If I liked anything of theirs, I would try and get myself similar things. However, in middle school, people actually told you to your face if you were aesthetically pleasing or not. According to most people at the time, I was not. When I learned the truth, I was devastated. I thought I looked fine and liked my style, but I began to question myself when I realized what I actually looked like to my peers. Thus came a long struggle for self-acceptance.
My mom always told me that natural was best, so I stayed away from makeup as much as I could. I didn’t even wear makeup for formal occasions. Apparently, that was a faux pas because you should never be underdressed for a school dance. Also, I had a friend at the time who was very into kawaii (cute, girlish) clothes, so I really looked up to her because she always looked good. The main point: I started comparing myself to her in every way possible. I was insanely jealous how she was able to snag a boyfriend so easily, draw so well, and have cute looks at the same time. Meanwhile, I was the girl who was too tall, too fat, too ugly, and never been confessed to when everyone else seemed to be pairing off. The situation wasn’t pretty, and I lost friends because of my overwhelming insecurity about my looks and my relationship status.
I thought I could do better in high school, since I had then swapped my glasses for contact lenses and started wearing pink lipstick to school. However, my so-called “confidence” was soon shattered when I saw that nearly every girl in my grade was both shorter and thinner than I was (the guys liked petite, feminine-looking girls). What made it worse was that the whole friend jealousy thing started up again. Fast forward to senior year, and my friend had a bunch of guy friends, had been on a string of dates, was the captain of the tennis team, and looked gorgeous even without dressing up or putting on makeup. Anyways, you get the picture. I was tired. I had tried so hard for years to look good and take pride in my appearance, but I couldn’t. I changed my hairstyle every half a year, but somehow nothing got people telling me that I was “pretty” unless they were a close friend of mine. My friend noticed my problem, and she gave me some real good, tough love. The next thing she said, changed my life ever since.
“Go look in the mirror every day and say something that you like about yourself. It could be anything. But, don’t stop doing this until you finally like what you see.”
So, I did. I also practiced my makeup and learned to pick out clothes that reflected my personal style rather than what everyone else wore. When I didn’t like what I saw, I changed it so that I did (eg. by wearing more makeup, cutting my hair so that I could hide any flaws, etc). Now, 8 years out of middle school and 5 years out of high school, I can proudly say that when I look into the mirror every morning, I finally like what I see (most of the time). So, for those of you who went through a similar phase, here’s some advice for you:
- It’s okay to have insecurities. They say that confidence is key to feeling good about yourself, but nobody is confident 100% of the time. The trick is to use your insecurities to improve yourself rather than to bring yourself down.
- Natural is not always best. I learned this the hard way. I learned to appreciate my appearance because I put on more makeup and owned the look rather than obsessing over my bare face all the time. Now, if you feel confident without any makeup, good for you! However, if you do want to use makeup, there is no limit to how much you “should” use to feel beautiful. Same goes for any alterations you want to make to yourself in any way. As long as you are comfortable doing something and you feel good about it, by all means do it. Forget the haters, your confidence and mental health comes first ❤
- Take pride in your appearance. The best way to feel good about yourself is to put effort into looking your best. You’ll be glad you did.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. I know, I know, this is probably the hardest thing ever. I see the clothing models on the Korean fashion website, and I still wish that I looked like that. However, it’s important to always remind yourself that you are beautiful too, because you worked hard to achieve your desired results. Plus, who really notices others’ physical flaws unless they’re creeps? So, hold your head high and strut your stuff like you’re the next Gigi Hadid or Blake Lively.
That’s it, folks, and if you have any comments, please share below!