How Important Are Looks To You?

In a world obsessed with appearances, it’s wise to learn to look beyond the mirror

If someone were to ask how happy you are with your own looks, what would your reply be? This question is significantly different from being asked to rate your appearance because it concerns self-acceptance, rather than how you measure up against others.

Being women, our looks inevitably have a huge influence over how others perceive us. Two key factors determine whether one has a healthy self-perception: Internal assurance and external criticism. And it’s down to how well one balances both to find body confidence.

As numerous studies on this subject have revealed, there is a high level of personal dissatisfaction in the world where body image is concerned. A good half or more of us aren’t happy with what nature has given us in the looks department — females and males included. And things haven’t changed that much despite the media embracing diversity and challenging typical beauty conventions over the years. Are the aesthetic standards we set ourselves endlessly getting higher, or are we just perpetually discontented?

The simple explanation is that everyone (secretly or not) wants to look better. Vanity is an innate part of human nature. Even good-looking people are constantly trying to enhance their looks. These days, good is never good enough when we know that it can easily be made even better. With advancements in aesthetic surgery, the physical enhancements that we’ve always desired have never been more attainable. But what’s your aim — personal gratification or to conform to popular body-image ideals?

Fact is, we live in a world that wants to believe it isn’t superficial, yet somehow still places a lot of emphasis on physical attractiveness. Like it or not, you will be judged by your appearance; such is the nature of human behaviour. But here’s the catch: While good looks may open more doors in general, a lot more comes into play in extending that positive first impression. A pretty face is only enthralling for so long and when there’s nothing behind it to sustain one’s interest, that mesmerising effect is lost altogether.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re all for personal improvement, physical or otherwise. There’s nothing wrong in wanting to look good, especially if it gives you a boost in confidence. But appraising your self-worth or another person’s worth solely by appearance is a mistake, just as fixating on how you look in a selfie is a sign of narcissism.

For something so ephemeral, it’s fascinating how beauty is so fervently sought after. It’s good business for the lucrative beauty industry, but are we setting ourselves up for eventual failure? As looks fade and skin wrinkles, what’s left standing is your character. Can it hold up against the tests of life without attractive packaging? Perhaps it’s worth using the time you spend studying yourself in the mirror to ruminate on this instead.

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