Redefining Beauty & Finding Balance – Considering what matters when discussing beauty and recognizing how the images we see and the words we hear impact our wellbeing.
In late 2018 I was in Los Angeles attending a conference. At one of the evening events I was introduced to a man on the board of a popular direct-to-consumer beauty company. He asked me about Genuine Glow and when I described how we take a positive approach to beauty and what that means, he said, “I don’t understand how you can sell a beauty product to women without making them feel bad about themselves?” I was taken aback, and we had another few minutes of conversation where I tried to explain further. It resulted in him stating, “Yeah, I just don’t get it.”
To exacerbate the situation, the man saying this was under 40 years old. This wasn’t an industry veteran who was outdated in his thinking; this was someone who I thought should know better because he’s on the board of a millennial geared brand.
Part of the challenge that comes with explaining what a ‘positive approach to beauty’ means is getting someone to recognize that it’s not telling people to stop caring about their appearance. Simply stated, it’s proclaiming no one should be made to feel bad about their appearance.
Beauty should be viewed as a tool to show your best self. With the emphasis on your best self, not someone else’s version of beauty. Certainly no one should hold back sharing their gifts and talents with the world because of insecurity surrounding how they look.
Yet in commercials, advertising, on social media, and even in the conversations we have with one another, we have an image of what beauty is and how women in particular are meant to look. And this has had a detrimental effect on our psyche. We’ve been conditioned to put so much emphasis on outer beauty.
According to a recent Time magazine article, Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years. But you wouldn’t guess it by viewing traditional advertising. There are a plethora of ads showing us that dewy and wrinkle free skin will be enough to put a smile on our faces. A January 2020 article in the Harvard Business Review showed how a team at the University of Warwick compared ‘life satisfaction’ data for almost 1 million people across 27 European countries. They compared this data with the annual advertising spend within those countries at the same time. The findings showed that there was a negative relationship between feelings of satisfaction and advertising. The higher the advertising spend, the less satisfied the people became.
Advertising, when it comes to our mental health is remarkably unregulated. With a society so focused on wellness and much more open about mental health than ever before, you would assume we would pay closer attention to the words we hear and the images we see. As well as being better informed about how they can tap into our insecurities.
We need to challenge our own beliefs when it comes to beauty standards and reprioritize what we consider to be beautiful, because low self-esteem is an epidemic. Wanting to look your best and taking steps to change your appearance shouldn’t cost you your confidence. We can still buy products and get services to help us look younger, like we sleep 8 hours a night, have a bright complexion, amazing eyelashes, shiny hair, whatever we want… but we can’t pretend that these things provide us with long-lasting happiness, they give us a temporary boost at best. Happiness based on appearance alone is fleeting.
While we all know that someone’s outside doesn’t equal their inside, the images we’re inundated with seem to prioritize visual beauty above most things.
I’m not making an argument for ignoring how you look or to stop paying attention to someone’s outside appearance, but I am asking that we question if these beauty beliefs are serving us, or holding us back? When you look in the mirror, do you see someone worthy of good things or do you look at what you want to cover up or change? Do you spend more time critique or complimenting yourself?
Isn’t it time we put the spotlight on inner beauty and appreciating whole, balanced people – or at least the people who are working to get there? I’d love to see and hear about people on their journey to peace and wellbeing and watch how their confidence shifts. To see how their day-to-day life has benefitted from their inner beauty discovery. But right now a lot of us are still operating with an incorrect “Once I have” philosophy. I’ve been a victim of it myself.
Once I have clear skin…
Once I lose weight…
Once I have (fill in the blank)… I will be better than I am now.
And while it’s true that any of these outside changes can be the catalyst for self-improvement, it’s only because we have tied our happiness to it, so we think we need this outside change first to feel good. People who believe a woman needs to feel bad to care about how she looks have conditioned us. When really all that feeling bad about our appearance does, is continue this “once I have” loop. It prevents us from possibility and opportunity because we’re so caught up in not being enough as we are.
So consider what matters when discussing beauty. Recognize and vocalize that it’s much more than outer beauty. Most likely you’ll find that people thriving in life, also take pride in their appearance because that’s what a positive approach to beauty is. It is showing a healthy respect you yourself.
Nicki Carrea believes that true beauty is synonymous with well-being. In 2015 she established Genuine Glow, an inside-outside wellness and skin care brand, and is a published beauty and wellness writer and speaker. Drawing on her life experiences she conceptualized and launched the Genuine Glow blog, which spotlights authentic voices, and creates a platform for shared experiences and human connection. Nicki is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and currently resides in New York City. You can connect with Nicki here: LinkedIn
Genuine Glow is a wellness and skin care brand that creates nutrient-rich exfoliators and specializes in inside-outside health and beauty. Established in 2015, Genuine Glow has been nominated for 3 CEW Awards (Best New Indie Beauty Brand, Best New Indie Skin Care Brand, and Best Exfoliator/Scrub) and chosen as a Top 50 Breakthrough Beauty Brand. You can connect with the brand here: Website, Instagram, Facebook
“Genuine Glow™ products and blog are not intended to cure, treat, prevent, mitigate or diagnose any disease, and are not intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body. The Genuine Glow blog is based on anecdotal wisdom and the experiences and research reported by others. We are not medical professionals and we have not independently tested these claims. Always consult your physician or mental healthcare provider if you have questions about a medical or psychiatric condition or if you seek medical advice.”
♦ Note: Genuine Glow is a brand meant to complement your lifestyle. Our company and employees views do not necessarily reflect or agree with every article we publish. We do however believe that open communication and honest expression is a beneficial tool that can be used for healing, growth, and connection.