Human beings have always been concerned with their appearance to one degree or another and in today’s world, it could be said that some people have gone from being concerned to being obsessed. This is not to say that this wasn’t the case in the past; what it comes down to is that this is something that far more people experience.
In the past, people would have had to deal with the pressure that the mainstream media created when it came to their appearance, and this was something that primarily effected women. There would have been some people who would have done everything they could to match up with a certain ideal and others who would have done everything they could to resist this pressure.
This would not have necessarily meant that they would have neglected their appearance; what it is likely to mean is that didn’t let this external source define their appearance. And although the mainstream media is still having an effect, there is another source that is having a far bigger impact.
While the mainstream media was something that people would have been exposed to from time to time in the past; social media is something that they can be exposed to on a more consistent basis. What this comes down to is that one can carry a device around with them that will allow them to go online at any moment.
During someone’s time online, it is still going to be possible for them to be influenced by the media. But what is likely to have a bigger influence on them is what their ‘friends’ share.
As a result of this, the pressure they experience when it comes to their appearance can come from the people they know as opposed to people they don’t know. Through seeing how other people look, someone can then feel the need to create the same appearance.
Yet it might not be enough for them to have the same or a similar appearance; they are likely to feel the need to upload what they look like. On one hand, this could mean that they change their profile picture, and on the other hand, it could mean that they end up uploading a number of different pictures.
This could be something that takes place every now and then, or it could be something that takes place on a regular basis. Through doing this, it is to be expected that they would end up spending a lot of time on their appearance.
It is then not so much that they need to look good offline; it is that they need to look good online. So just like someone can feel the need to ‘fit in’ in the real world, they can also have same need online.
One way for someone to get the ‘perfect’ pictures will be for them to edit the ones they take, and this means that there is less pressure on them to take a really good picture. They will have all kinds of filters to change their appearance and they will also be able to move any marks that stand out.
Through having this ability, it is easy to see how the pictures that someone uploads online might not look anything like them. In the real world, there are going to be certain things that they can do but they are not going to have the same amount of control.
One Step Further
What this could cause someone to do is to find ways to change their appearance in the real world, and this could mean that they end up having non cosmetic procedures. They may feel the need to remove certain wrinkles or to change the shape of their face, for instance.
This could also mean that they end up having Botox and this could become a normal part of their life. Along with this, they may also feel the need to always have a sun tan, and this could mean that they regularly use sun beds or routinely get a fake tan.
The Modern Day World
So if one does feel the need to always look good online, they are going to be creating a lot of additional pressure for themselves. This also likely to mean that it is a challenge for them to experience inner peace.
Instead of being able to ‘live in the moment’, their attention is generally going to be on how they look, and they could then find that they often think about what they could do to look even better. At the same time, they could be focused on what they need to do to maintain the appearance that they have.
Although it is going to be normal for their appearance to change as time passes, they may find that it is even harder for them to accept this. But if their whole identity is based on them looking a certain way, it is to be expected that they will find it harder to grow older.
They could believe that if their appearance changes, they will no longer be as value, and that they will no longer receive the same amount of approval, for instance. However, although it would be easy to blame social media, this would overlook the effect that society has as a whole.
A Natural Consequence
It could be said that when a society is obsessed with appearances, it is only natural for the people who live in that society to question their value as they grow older. What is valued in this kind of society is youth, and instead people being valued no matter how old they are, they are often seen as being irrelevant once they have reached a certain age.
Clearly, there is nothing wrong with someone looking after their appearance; however, if is ends up becoming an obsession, it is going to create problems. It will be a lot harder for them to enjoy life and for them to accept themselves.
If someone finds themselves in this position, it could be a sign that they need to reach out for support, and this could be provided by a therapist and/or a support group.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.