This week I took a step outside of my comfort zone and went without make-up. The purpose of this week was to go without letting my looks define me, so the other half of this challenge was to go without wearing labels. I down-graded my wardrobe and wore a lot of leggings, plain t-shirts and scarves.
And as much as I would like to think that make-up and how I dress are trivial things, going without it for a week revealed some underlying issues that I was very startled to find.
I consider myself confident and strong, I thought no make-up for a week? No problem. And at first, there were no problems. As the week went by, there was no difference in how people treated me. Most people were surprised when I pointed out to them I wasn’t wearing any make-up. The majority of the comments I received were people telling me they couldn’t tell the difference.
But as I reflect back on my week now, I realized that I could tell the difference, and unfortunately that’s all it took to make me feel less confident this week.
For some reason, I thought that without make-up I looked like the sub-par version of myself. And this attitude transferred into other areas of my life and became slightly detrimental.
I second-guessed myself. When I was talking with people, I was concerned with how I looked to them. I even received more compliments this week than I ever expected, but instead of accepting those compliments and allowing myself to feel flattered, I brushed the compliments off and assumed my friends and family were just being nice. I didn’t believe them.
And when I dug to the core of how I felt this week without make-up, I had a hard time distinguishing which affected me more: how other people perceived me or how I perceived myself.
In theory, I would like to say that how I perceive myself is more important than what others think of me. I believe that how you perceive and feel about yourself has a larger, more powerful influence on the person you are, more powerful than letting make-up, clothes or other people define you.
However, this week my theory was tested.
Eliminating an important part of my morning routine forced me to reevaluate what exactly makes me feel beautiful. Getting ready in the morning, taking my time and looking my best makes me feel beautiful to a certain extent. I realized that being in control of how I look also has a pretty strong influence on how I feel.
I'll be honest, this is difficult to write about. Beauty should be about who I am on the inside, not what I look like on the outside. I thought I understood and practiced that but this week I realized this isn't totally the case. I have always been proud of my healthy self-esteem. I thought that nothing could faze me. But this week tripped me up a bit and now I am left with even more questions. Maybe all along I have based some of my self-esteem on how I look on the outside instead of defining my beauty and myself on what's on the inside.
So this is what I need to work on: defining my beauty and myself on my own terms and asking myself what else I have mistakenly based some of my self-worth on, because I’m sure there is a longer list than I would like to think.
So ask yourself the hard questions, what do you base your self-worth on?