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Question I’ve been struggling a bit with

April 17, 2013

So I’m down a few pounds.

Also, the other day I decided it might be a good idea to try and make an effort to look nice for a whole month (not starting today, FYI anyone who runs into me).

And then the question hit, as it always does whenever I lose a few pounds or get dolled up to go out.

Doesn’t all of this weight loss and makeup and stuff directly contradict the whole idea of trying to love the way that I look? I wouldn’t say I feel like it’s hypocritical as much as I feel like it may be counter productive.

What do you think?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2013 1:04 pm

    No, I don’t think it does. Dressing/make up should be accents or a way to highlight yourself. I have changed the way I dress at work but don’t feel like it’s changed how i feel when i’m not at work. It’s a personal thing for sure, but my way of thinking is it these are ways to match how you feel.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      April 17, 2013 9:07 pm

      Matching how I feel has been a common theme to the responses. Do you find that dressing better at work makes you feel more professional? I think there are studies on this stuff.

  2. April 17, 2013 1:16 pm

    When people ask me what I find attractive, I say “people who are healthy”. There’s no getting around all of us having some form of idealism/beauty sense, even while striving to be as inclusive and accepting as we possibly can. My primary mission in life with a busted back and a nasty stress disorder is to simply do my best at taking care of myself, or else I’ll be of no use to anyone at all. Every step I take towards being able to walk more, eat a little better, bike faster and longer, is good- not just for me, but for everything around me, including the environment.
    So enjoy yourself and take joy in just being healthier, which opens up life more, gives you more choices, more physicality, more ability to do for others.

  3. April 17, 2013 1:33 pm

    I’m not sure its important to love the way you look. I think what is important is to love yourself independent from your looks.

    When we dress up or generally work on improving our appearance there is undoubtedly a boost in confidence. Its totally natural to feel better about yourself when you feel better about your appearance. What gets us into trouble is when we start attaching self worth to those feelings. That’s when the cycle begins where we can’t love ourselves unless we look good and I’ll never look good with this body shape and why couldn’t I have been born with those features and no one will ever love me and blah blah friggin blah!

    Make yourself up because you love yourself. Not the other way around.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      April 17, 2013 9:13 pm

      “That’s when the cycle begins where we can’t love ourselves unless we look good and I’ll never look good with this body shape and why couldn’t I have been born with those features and no one will ever love me and blah blah friggin blah!”

      You know what’s insane is that’s what I’m trying to fight. My battle is against my brain for sure.

      Thank you.

  4. April 17, 2013 4:18 pm

    My take? From what I’ve seen on your blog and other social media, you seem focused primarily on healthy eating and exercise with weight loss as a secondary result (i.e. the “right” way to lose weight). It’s normal to feel better about yourself when you’re eating health and exercising because your body and mind are getting everything they need. It’s not necessarily connected to the weight loss itself. You’re feeling better, healthier, more confident so you want to show that to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with doing that! Again, you’re taking care of yourself and being healthy; you’re not starving or going on crash diets to be super thin. I also know — because I have the same problem — that the big D-word is going to make you over-analyze and question why you’re feeling better about yourself (isn’t self-sabotage great?) but work to move past that doubt as best you can. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself because you’re taking care of yourself.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      April 17, 2013 9:14 pm

      The big D-word. I wish you were here. We would go out for drinks every Friday and talk about stuff. Because you’re awesome.

  5. April 17, 2013 4:22 pm

    The thought that make up or clothes are used to cover up ourselves in a purely beauty aspect I think is a relative new one. The major roles of cosmetics were to accentuate some portion of the individual rather than hide. Status, wealth, sexuality, fitness and ceremony were all components of make up and attire, of which status was probably the greatest impact as much of it was controlled by higher classes – European’s were fond of powdering their faces to appear more aristocratic as peasants worked in the fields and had darker skin because of it. It was more of a flaunt of your “betterness” than an issue of covering up a weakness.

    (It is worth noting that there was a use for cosmetics in hiding ill health, painting of blemishes or infections and the long term use of perfumes to hide foul/sickly odours. So they were used for masking some things. Strongly suspect that most of this has fallen by the wayside.)

    With make ups now commonplace, the whole angle has shifted primarily to the beauty aspect but, again, the historical role there is to accentuate rather than hide. They are meant to draw attention or highlight an aspect of mood/confidence/body. Clothing, likewise, has become an aspect of social function rather than class or beauty. You wear a suit to an interview to reflect formal, serious or capable aspects of yourself, but it cannot make up for not having or demonstrating those characteristics. Similar aspects with clothes you’d wear to work, to party, to sitting on the couch watching TV. It is to match the mood rather than hide one.

    The breakdown often comes when we decide that we need that make up or clothing to become something else. It mainly comes from advertising that lies to us in that we can become what we see in the TV if we only own what they sell. But clothes and make up are just tools that cannot remake us. Feeling good about ourselves (physically, at least) is more a product of saying that we don’t need cosmetics or fancy clothes to be ourselves and also saying we can be and are ourselves when we put them on.

    (Disclaimer: posted by a grad student who regularly wears dirty t-shirts into labs and allows his beard and hair to routinely become unruly because he’s rather smug in his own head about his self-worth/intelligence. Could very well be obliviously full of crap.)

    • theactivestick permalink*
      April 17, 2013 9:23 pm

      Grad students are my favourite, for this reason.

  6. April 17, 2013 8:21 pm

    It depends on why you’re trying to look good. Are you putting on the makeup/nice clothes because it makes YOU feel good, or because you want to look good for other people and/or fit a social norm? Motivation matters, but I think you can love yourself and love looking good at the same time! It’s kinda like the typical saying you hear from hockey players, “look good, feel good, …etc.” Feeling good (through healthy eating/working out) and looking good (makeup/dressing up) are huge mood enhancers and (the grad student in me wants to tell you) studies on positive emotions have shown that PA predicts a longer life (and helps with stress)! I don’t think you’re being counter productive. Keep up the motivation :)

    • theactivestick permalink*
      April 17, 2013 9:47 pm

      Thank you! Miss you on the Twitters.

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