In Intermediate school, I slid down a hill and got mud all over my pants. I truly thought everyone at the school knew and the rest of my school years would be ruined. When I think back on scenarios like this, I can’t believe how much my image mattered to me. Different aspects of life, such as influences, society, and the future, pressure people into believing they have to act or look a certain way which can ultimately be exhausting.
A popular saying I used to hear growing up was “you are who you surround yourself with.” I never really understood this until my late teenage years because I always thought insanely high of the people around me. Then, I slowly started to notice a shift in morals between my high school friends and myself. There were a lot of things that differed when it came to the topic of our future and basic human values, such as how to treat a person. Suddenly I didn’t see these people as long-term friends, but I was associated with them due to being around them my entire high school career. I noticed that when I would meet new people, they constantly thought I was a completely different person than I was because of the friends I had. Not only can the people you hang out with influence the person you become, but it can also interfere with the image people have of you.
Beauty standards are an issue people have been fighting for years to disappear. As many times as the world tries to normalize being natural, such as wearing no makeup and loving your body as is, there will always be some self-doubt because of society's portrayal of people. Beyond beauty standards, people have begun embracing their flaws, for example, imperfect skin and stretch marks. This releases a different form of insecurity when a person may feel as though they aren’t confident in themselves like other people are. The twisted logic people face because of the idea that they need to either look or act the same way the people who are published on social media are, truly takes a toll on mental health.
As I get older I am more aware of the way people view me because of who I want to be when I am older. With social media being a hot topic in the 21st century, people tend to be more cautious with what they put out there for the world to see. Alongside this, people also need to build a reputation for themselves if they do want to pursue their future careers. For example, internships and receiving good grades in college. The stress of having to build a name for yourself to stand out to someone can be draining. This creates the concept that if a person fails to get what they’ve been working for, then they aren’t good enough.
Alongside the negatives of focusing too much on image, there is a lot that can be prioritized to feel more content with societal standards. Although having people around you can weigh on your image in a lousy way, having astounding people in your life can balance it out. Good influences can shape you into a better person and take the light off of the worse half of the influences in your life. These positive influences can go hand-in-hand with beauty and mental standards as well. Having these influences can create a clearer mental state if they have the same standards as you in life. As well as the experience that is tied to your background checks when applying for jobs can truly open up more opportunities in the future.
People, including myself, get caught up with the negative effects that come with self-image. There’s a lot of pressure growing up to act or look a specific way by various people in your life. This can even include people who care about you and simply don’t realize the words they say are affecting you in any way. Although the tension between beauty, mental, future goals, and people's standards can be tiresome, there is another outlook on these perspectives that can be altered. We already spend so much of our time trying to live up to other people's expectations, let's choose to focus on our own.