Physical appearance isn’t everything.  Our culture often reinforces the idea that the way we look is our most important trait.  It’s a constant theme in the media, on social sites, and in relationships.  People compliment personal appearance as if it’s the highest form of regard.  “You look nice” is considered the greatest of praise.  Pictures posted on our own pages emphasize looks, make-up, clothes, and other things associated with our appearance.  I am not necessarily flattered by compliments on my appearance because most of the time the compliment is in reference to an artificial enhancement, clothes, a hair style, or some other trait that is really not ME.  What I’m being complimented on is not me as a person but how I’ve dressed myself up or taken the time to create an image for that day.  I’d much rather prefer someone compliment me on a character trait, a personal value, or some other aspect of my person hood that is not related to attractiveness.  I would like to hear more of “that was impressive the way you handled that situation” or “I admire you for overcoming that set back”.  Basing our value on transient appearance is only setting us up to hate ourselves.  Sometimes I feel like a complete failure as a person simply because my appearance does not measure up to actresses, models, young people, or even my own younger self.  I often wish I could feel supported in just being a half way decent person when I am kind, treat others respectfully, keep a commitment, and tell the truth.  I feel like I’ve been shamed most of my life for not being perfectly toned , fashionably dressed, attractively made up, trendily accessorized, and thin beyond what is healthy for my body type and life style 100% of the time.  If it’s not “dress for success” then it’s “don’t let yourself go”.  At what age can I simply be myself and stop constantly striving to look or act like someone else thinks is attractive?  Actually that age is now and, for the most part, I have jumped out of the bottomless pit of enhancing my looks.  One of my greatest regrets is having EVER focused on enhancing my physical attractiveness.  I believe I would have been much better off simply being myself, focusing on improving my character, and attracting people who were more interested in me as a person rather than how I looked.  I am pretty sure my life would have been much different and I would feel infinitely better about myself as a person.  I will continue to exercise good personal hygiene.  I will try not to dress like a total freak.  I will comb my hair.  I will shave my armpits occasionally.  I will shave my legs when it suits me.  I will continue to wear a minimal amount of make up based on what works for me (foundation and mascara only).  I am not sorry for how I look, what I weight, how I dress, and how I “carry myself”.  I am grateful I don’t get compliments on my appearance much.  I am very thankful (most of all) that I get less attention from men (my earliest memory of unwanted attention from the male of our species is about age 8). After all these years of trying and never achieving the ever-moving standard of physical attractiveness, I am happy to just enjoy being myself for whatever remaining time I have on earth.


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