“Beauty is not about having a pretty face. It is about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and most importantly a beautiful soul”- Dr. Kesiraju Ramprasad.
But, unfortunately, we live in a highly influential world. We are barraged with constant media streams that influence our lifestyle. We are fascinated by models, movies, film stars and their glamorous life. We grow up with a belief that outer beauty, physical appearance is most important. And most of the people are concerned more about their looks and outer beauty. Especially for women, perfect beauty with clear skin, the ideal figure and nice hair are a necessity to feel confident in modern society. “Shilpa sa figure” and “Aishwarya sa complexion” is a dream of every woman. So, what is wrong in it? Have a look at some of the examples of such thought.
Sonya, aged 28 years, is suffering from obesity since 3 years. She has tried various diet-exercise (but mostly short term) programs for weight loss. She has also taken many supplements for weight loss. But nothing has worked in the long run. She wants to be slim at any cost. And the main reason behind this obsession is that “she cannot wear modern Western dresses”, ” most of her friends have a perfect figure” and “she does not like to hear nasty comments from her surrounding people because of the way she looks”.
Even though she is aware that being obese, she is at high risk for developing various metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. She knows that her crash dieting and supplements may cause severe side effects, but in spite of that she does not like to talk about any health related issues. She just wants a perfect figure at any cost.
Rema has pimples and scars on her face, and she is extremely anxious about that. She is taking all sorts of anti-acne treatment (antibiotics, retinoids…even laser resurfacing and microdermabrasion) vigorously. She wants a clear and flawless complexion in the fastest time possible. She knows these procedures are quite expensive and may cause adverse effects too, but she does not care about it. She has only one dream – of the perfect complexion.
Pooja feels low self-esteem because of her short stature. She is ready to do anything for looking taller. From wearing to high heel (that might be uncomfortable for her) to taking height increasing supplements (that may cause adverse side effects) everything that can make her tall, always fascinates her.
It is clear from the above examples that physical and outer beauty find uppermost importance in our lives. Women are crazy about their cosmetic appearance. And this behaviour is not only related to their looks but it has a deep and eternal connection with their mental and psychological state too. Women with good looks and the perfect figure have a higher level of self-confidence and self-esteem, while a ‘girl or woman next door’ often suffers from low self-confidence and depression just because they lack in their physical appearance or the way they look.
What is the major drawback of this over self-consciousness?
The most disturbing consequence of this pattern is that women are putting beauty above their health. They want to reduce their weight, want a flawless and fair complexion and lustrous beautiful hair, just because they want to look gorgeous. Even though good physical appearance is often interlinked with good health, most women forget that connection. They concentrate only on outer beauty and tend to adopt all short term (some are even harmful) measures to get perfection in their look.
Who is responsible?
Modern society places a great emphasis on ideals of cosmetic and physical appearance. It’s this emphasis that gives a lot of weight on only a perfect outer look rather than inner beauty and overall personality. And for women, this social pressure exceeds limits many times in their life. Marriage, social respect…even some kinds of jobs require the perfect look and this social pressure creates anxiety in women regarding their cosmetic appearance. They feel that they may be stigmatized and humiliated by society, just because of the way they look. Under the influence of this social insecurity, they take some risky and harmful decisions for getting a gorgeous look.
What is the solution?
Being a physician and mom of two lovely daughters, I am not against the importance of outer appearance. I don’t deny that physical and cosmetic appearance have a valuable space in our life. And we should try to give enough attention and efforts for maintaining a good personality. But I would like to share some essential and easy to do step for avoiding health disasters and unnecessary mental worries:
First health…then beauty
I believe that every woman should have a basic funda in her life that she will give first importance to her health and then she will focus on her physical and outer beauty. The greatest advantage of this mentality is that her efforts to find a solution for any cosmetic problems would be more realistic and she would get a long-lasting and harmless solution. For example: adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes:
- Eating healthy
- Regular exercise
- Drinking enough water
- Early to bed and early to rise
- Spending some quality alone
- Give enough attention to her mental and spiritual state
- Avoiding unnecessary worries
- Regular health check-up
These are some essential lifestyle changes, that will give not only offer you better health, but also solve major cosmetic problems like weight gain, skin imperfections as well. It is an optimistic and positive approach to solving all health and cosmetic problems.
Believe in creation of God
It may sound a little philosophical, we all should try to admire it . We should believe that we all are the creations of god. Some people are tall, some short, some have fair complexion and some have dark. The karma is in our hand. So, instead of placing a great emphasis on physical appearance, we should try to focus on our duties and responsibilities.
It all about our attitude
Trying to focus on overall personality development is the best way to combat depression and inferiority complex. If you feel inferior because of any physical lacking, improve your overall personality. It’s all about your positive attitude, smart make up, appropriate clothing, a well-organised appearance and a beautiful smile. These are enough to boost your self-esteem. And by doing that, you will be able to get social respect and recognition in a positive way.
Avoid shortcuts and short-term treatment option
“Lose 5 kg weight in just one week” or “Clear your all pimples within 5 days”; these kinds of marketing strategies may sound appealing, but actually these statements are marketing and publicity stunts only. There are millions of beauty and fitness products and their biggest motive is to sell their products. So, do not be impatient. Do proper research and product evaluation before using them.
Always take medical consultation before starting any fitness and beauty regimen
Each individual is different and unique, so is their body and physical condition too. It is not necessary that if a beauty product or fitness regimen has benefitted your neighbour or friend, then it is equally good for you. It may cause an allergic reaction or severe side effects. So it is always advisable to take medical advice before starting any new fitness and beauty regimen.
Be a “Role model” and set a positive example for kids and society
I am sure that we all have noticed that our children imitate what we do much more than they follow our words. And if we set a wrong example of giving supreme importance to our looks; they will also repeat the same thing, making it a never-ending trend for our society. So, try to be a “role model”, demonstrate confident and balanced behaviour, do not be afraid to be unique. Have humility and willingness to change social evil from our society.
So these were my ideas to set a “First Health then beauty” trend in our society. What are your thoughts? Please do share with us. Until then, eat healthy and live well!