Often times we hear that we all care too much about our appearance or we shouldn’t care so much of how we look. I’m here to tell you that I disagree with that sentiment and in fact, I don’t think we are being mindful enough about our appearance. *GASP!* I know, right?
Here’s the thing, we put a lot of time and energy into the way we think we’re supposed to look. We think we should have whiter teeth, fancier clothes, perfect make up and always be runway ready. That’s A. a lot of pressure and B. not at all what we should be doing.
The effort we should be putting into our appearance is being wasted on things to make us all the same. The energy we spend is wasted on our obsession to look how we think we should look.
But we should be putting in effort to how we look every day. Just in a very different way. You see, obsessing over looks is a wee bit narcissistic especially when the goal is to gain approval from others.
I don’t mean you need to be dressed to the nines every day. Nor am I saying that you even have to put pants on every day, though it is illegal in many places to walk around with no pants in public sooooo there’s that.
Let’s make something clear; your body is just a meat sack designed to carry your soul through this thing we call life. But there are genuine reasons to be mindful of your appearance and many of them have to do with letting your real self shine through.
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You’ll feel more confident
When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good your self-esteem, confidence, and happiness all get a boost. Taking care of your appearance is a basic form of self-love. Keeping your body clean, happy, and comfortable has been shown to improve mental health as well.
Tell me how you feel when you wear your absolute favorite outfit. Probably super hot and on top of the world, right? You feel ready to take on the challenges that the world has to offer and beat them all.
Maintaining your appearance means you’re healthier too
This is not always the case of course. Make up can hide a lot. But maintaining your overall health makes you look happier and more glowy (is that a word? It is now).
When you’re ill or super tired, you don’t look your best. That’s just a fact. You skin will probably be dull, hair lank, face pale. On the inside you also probably feel like crap. Taking care of your health feels better on the inside which makes the outside feel better which makes your insides feel happier which makes your outsides all glowy and stuff.
Drinking enough water and having a good skin care routine makes you skin all soft and dewy. Exercising (especially cardio) helps your hair grow longer and thicker. Getting enough sleep keeps the eye bags away and posture straighter. A balanced + nutritious diet helps…..well everything.
You’re Pretty much a Monkey
Primates have huge visual centers in their brains. This means that we humans use our vision more than any other senses which is unusual for the animal kingdom. Our hearing is okay and our smell is meh. But our sight though, our sight is one point. So, primates use sight to quickly recognize a threat or a friend.
So as a primate, which you are, first impressions matter. Can impressions change? Definitely. But do first impressions matter? Very much so, yes. You see, as primates we make assumptions of someone within about 4 seconds of meeting them.
It shows what you value
What do you value? Fun? Work? Naps? Ethical and sustainable fashion? (preach sis!) Our appearance can tell the world what we value. Those values are deeply ingrained in us and are an important part of who we are. Our appearance can show those off. And showing off who you truly are is a wonderful thing….unless you’re a spy but that’s a different problem all together.
Your appearance isn’t limited to what you wear or put on your body
Your appearance isn’t just clothes or make up. It isn’t just vanity points or societal ideals of attractiveness. It is also you demeanor. Your posture. And your body language.
Your attitude can change your appearance. Think about this, when you’re in a bad mood, people can normally tell, right? Unless you have an awesome poker face, primates often have very expressive facial features. Scowling, short, clipped speech, tenseness around the jaw, and general lack of a smile are all signs of being closed off or pissy.
*NOTE! If someone (often a creepy man) tells you to smile more, please tell them to kindly eff off.
Also, I am not telling you that you have to smile or to change anything about your demeanor to please anyone else. What I am saying is to be mindful of those things. If you want to be putting out the vibe that you are a happy, bubbly person and you want to feel happy and bubbly, smiling and what not help that. If you want to let people know that you’re there to work and not to socialize do what you need to do and always have headphones with you.
Good posture exudes confidence. It immediately makes you seem more like a leader, likable, and trustworthy. If these are things you want to show to the world, good posture is a great place to start.
How to Start Being Mindful of Your Appearance
Evaluate how you feel
Evaluate how you feel each day about your appearance. While for many of us this can be an uncomfortable experience (especially if you’ve struggled with any type of body dysmorphia) but it is an important thing for healing. Recognize the bad feelings and the good ones without judgement.
You are not your thoughts. And you are not your feelings. You are simply an observer of the two. When you begin being mindful of how you look, I don’t want you criticizing everything “wrong” with yourself. Mindfulness is being intentionally aware of yourself with kindness. And when you start, you may have to remind yourself of this a lot. Remind yourself of that and that you are enough just how you are.
However, when you begin to have a happier, healthier relationship with your appearance, you are able to recognize the ways you take care of your appearance and which make you feel best. Maybe you feel great and confident with your hair down, maybe you feel more like a hamster has made a nest when your hair is down (me too, friend, me too). Or maybe you feel unlike yourself wearing heels but feel bad ass in a leather jacket.
You can even evaluate the way you’re feeling in the morning before getting ready and make adjustments on your appearance. That’s the nice thing about your appearance, it can be played with and different features can be highlighted depending on your mood. Feeling extra bold? Put on some bad ass lipstick. Flirty? Cute sun dress. Bad ass lady boss? Power ponytail. Just feeling like yourself? Your favorite tee and some jeans.
There is no rule saying you can’t play around with your appearance and have fun. How do you know what look makes you happiest without trial and error?
Find your style
If you’re casual don’t change that, embrace it. If you like getting all done up every day, don’t stop. Dress the way you feel best. Be practical with what you actually love to wear. If you want to wear more dresses but don’t actually enjoy wearing them, you don’t need to wear them.
You’re hear to show the world who you are, authentically and unapologetically. If you like sweatpants and baggy t-shirts, own it. If you love the flowy flowery dresses and jewelry, own that. Or if you’re like me and don’t like the struggle of mixing and matching in the name of style, just make everything you own black.
So find the clothes that you wear and wear them confidently. Your style is your chance to express yourself and who you are. Your style is a thing that can immediately tell others what you value and is a perfect way for you to showcase what you love.
There is no shame in being mindful of your appearance. Your looks aren’t everything. Physical beauty fades with the years but that doesn’t mean that your appearance doesn’t matter.
Although our bodies are just meat sacks for our souls, they are still part of us. And we should cherish every part of ourselves inside and out. Being mindful of how we take care of our outsides is just as important as being mindful of how we take care of our insides. Each affects the other because they are connected. They are part of you. Think of your body as a canvas for your soul. Express yourself through that canvas. Make it as beautifully you as you can. So wear what you want, smile if you want, and express yourself as you want.
Remember true beauty isn’t how you look, it’s who you are. And being you is the most beautiful thing you can give the world. Being mindful of your looks doesn’t make or break your beauty, it can only add to it if it makes you feel good.
If you’re ready to learn more about mindfulness get your FREE 10-minute mindfulness guide below to help you get started living a more intentional and happier life!