People struggle with how they view themselves. Is it through the lens of societal expectations? Is it through the lens of personal worth and self-satisfaction?
People focus so much on what they expect of others but rarely do they ask what they expect of themselves. Not having clarity in that issue can be the source of tremendous anxiety and discontent.
Humanity is an art form. We recognize the general shapes, emotions and intents, but it is expressed differently in ways both intimately familiar yet completely foreign.
Much as wildly different forms of art can be beautiful, so are people. And much like art, value in the moment is heavily influenced by societal norms, beliefs and expectations.
Define Your Self-Worth
People are often beautiful and not appreciated by society. People can be creative geniuses and forgotten forever. Life is not fair because you can be all the things you believe yourself to be but believed by everyone else to be none of those things.
This is where it is essential to define your own self-worth, understand your own standards of beauty and hold tightly to them. Don’t try to change society by yourself. Understand the world around you but hold fast to your place within it.
And then, having done so, if you want to make changes, then it’s done to meet your standards, fill your needs.
If you want to wear makeup, do it because of how it makes you feel or if it fits your need to accomplish a societal goal. If you want to go to BodEnvy for plastic surgery, have it done because it helps you align with your personal values, not society’s.
It is not possible to be everything you want to be and everything everyone else wants you to be. Understand what you want to be and what you need to be capable of being when needed to strike the balance that will bring you personal satisfaction and professional, societal success — if that’s even what you want.
Physical and Internal Needs
As humans, our physical needs are very basic. Food and shelter. That’s it. Conversely, our internal needs are highly complex. Love, acceptance, personal satisfaction, ambition to name only a few. People often place so much value on the quality of the physical needs that they sacrifice the more complex and infinitely more delicate internal needs.
Physical needs are more closely tied to society and societal expectations, which absolutely engenders a wide variety of dismorphias as we attempt to bridge the gaps between societal and personal expectations.
What’s interesting is that you see value systems for each existing at the extremes: the “cash rules everything around me” crowd versus “eff your [INSERT CONCEPT] standards” crowd. Each side roundly rejects the other. But it’s possible that the truth, like most things, is a healthy balance of both.
The struggle with those extreme ideologies is the same that makes the concept of a healthy balance problematic. A healthy balance is not one size fits all. For one person, a healthy balance may mean a little of one concept and a lot of another. For someone else, it’s an even mix of the ideologies. A healthy balance is self-determined.