How many times a day do you look in the mirror?
It’s probably more than you think.
From washing our faces in the bathroom & doing our makeup in the morning to catching quick glances at our reflections in windows as we walk to class, we’re constantly aware of the way that we look. We tell ourselves & others that looks don’t matter, but we still cringe at the thought of leaving the house bare-faced & we’re, naturally, self-conscious about the way we present ourselves to the world. It’s true that mascara, red lips, & a good blowout can help us look (& in turn, feel) our best — but, studies distinguish this effect between trait and state self-esteem, a stable sense of confidence versus a transient boost. Makeup & self-care rituals, in their best form, are meant to enhance a sense of beauty that we already know is there. It’s important that we create these beauty routines for ourselves, & no one else.
For the next three days, challenge yourself to look in the mirror as little as possible, or maybe not at all. Exist beyond your reflection & let go of self-doubts holding you back from being authentically yourself. Instead of worrying about external appearances, try refocusing those thoughts inward — what do YOU love most about yourself? What talents, experiences, & kindness do you bring to the world that no one else can? You’ll feel vulnerable at first, but you may find that you don’t need concealer, blush, & daily face masks in order to be successful. Confidence should come from within, regardless of your own inner critic.
Go ahead & put your best (fresh) face forward.
Let your skin breathe & feel the laugh lines crinkle with every smile. Set a beauty routine that feels good — moisturize, drink more water, use SPF on the cloudy days. Learn to appreciate the freckles on your body & the softness of your stomach. Forget about the scar on your hand from slamming it in a door, or that your teeth are a little crooked on the bottom. Direct your attention outward — worrying less about how you compare to others & noting the way their face lights up talking about something they’re passionate about. Maybe you’ll reconsider your own passions, like the stories you always wanted to write or the places you never found time to visit. When we close our eyes to our own inner critics & let go of the things that normally hold us back — fear, judgment, rejection — we find a clearer view of the things that are most important to us.
Put down the mirror & start embracing the parts of you that are more than skin-deep.
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart” (Kahlil Gibran).