Personality cannot be photoshopped

When I’m walking down the street and I see someone, I don’t wonder about his personality. The sad reality is that I’ll only take the time to observe what he looks like.

Don’t get me wrong, you can infer much from one’s appearance, but too often we disregard the person underneath their distracting features, hair, makeup, and clothing alike. Walking past someone on a sidewalk is certainly excusable. But faced with a person, do we assume too much from their visual impression?

We should take the time to get to know someone before we automatically make judgments. When the verdict is in and whether is it positive or negative, you can go to sleep a little less guiltily.

People are worth more than their facial features and their bone structure. Authors and singers don’t and shouldn’t have to rely on physical attraction to promote talents that have nothing to do with such a thing.

Of course, what they look like still holds some importance, but the sheer success and following they acquire from a skill such as writing or singing comes from hard work and talent, not what they look like.

When many see this happen on a daily basis, the idea becomes engraved in their conscience, so that they believe that their potential reaches only as far as their makeup lasts. This belief could be detrimental to someone’s self esteem! No matter how many times other people support you and tell you that you are worth it, that you are talented or smart, you won’t feel that way unless you believe it yourself.

Whenever people put an emphasis on physical appearance as the determining factor in worth and value, the problem is exacerbated. Worse, we gradually become dependent upon outside opinions to assure us of our importance, when self-love is the greatest experience.

Of course, one’s opinion of another’s visual appearance is always arbitrary, but there are definitely recurring trends in society today that have convinced many that fat is ugly, that a thigh gap is desirable, that tan skin is sexy, that there’s a certain equilibrium between big and small feet, and so much more.

But who are we to judge, when our appearances is something that we have little control over? Sure, you can dye your hair and plaster on makeup, but self-love. Self-love. Who told you that your hair color was boring and drab? Who convinced you that you shouldn’t want to embrace your freckles? The images in magazines and advertisements are constantly changing, but we should not be taught to follow trends.

Unfortunately, what everyone tells us is never taken seriously. Parents, teachers, and encouraging friends always claim that the good people will care only about inner beauty, when in reality, if someone has determined that another individual is “ugly,” they won’t even bother taking the time to dig deeper and find that perhaps the other person has a personality so bright and charismatic that their mother would go crazy.

On the other hand, this happens in the reverse as well. When someone is seen as handsome or beautiful, they are desirable. Their entire persona comes off as handsome and beautiful too. In this sense, there is less misunderstanding because people will tend to draw closer to these people. In fact, there are many individuals that society considers good looking, that have absolutely atrocious personalities, all masked under their pretty faces. (Which is not to exclude the possibility of someone being both arbitrarily beautiful on the inside and out!)

If you became close enough to a person like this to find out their true nature, then bless your soul, because I find that so many people just ignore the blatant character flaws and continue spending time with someone, entirely for their physical appearance.

It is the constant obsession with looks, the ongoing battle with insecurity that everyone faces. What are we to do about such a negative phenomenon in our world?

Everyone struggles. I have my ups and downs with body image and combats with inaccurate first impressions, so it is evident to me that there must be a middle ground.

Don’t completely disregard body image. Stay fit, but only for healthy reasons. Exercise and eat well for yourself, not for other people, because this sort of motivation never lasts. It’s also based on the necessity for other people’s approval, when everyone knows that in the real world, there will always be people who see something wrong with you, whether on the inside or the out.

Body image is important, but not for the reasons we’ve been believing recently. It’s important to have a confidence, but not to dress or look like every other person on the streets.

Beauty and physical appearance are also fading qualities. Lots of high schoolers (including myself at times) find it hard to remember that dimples disappear, that skin grows leathery and old, and that youthful skin is not forever.

Of course, I”m not suggesting that we should get to know every person we walk past on the street, but in a closer situation, perhaps it is worth getting to know someone before you base your opinion solely off their looks.

Prioritizing physical features is both pointless and destructive. Sure, they matter, but only to a certain extent. I’m sure I’ve missed out on great friendship opportunities simply because of my naive, judgmental assumptions.

– inspired by my Tumblr reblogs

– neverstationary post about body image from October 2012

2 comments

  1. Pingback: When admiration goes too far | Catherine Zhang
  2. Pingback: I love my body; do you love yours? | Never Stationary

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