A World Without Mirrors

Human beings are naturally drawn to attractiveness. Through many of the psychology classes I have taken, I have learned about this concept and how it can affect many aspects of our lives. For example, when people view someone they deem attractive, they are instantly under the impression that this person has more positive attributes, such as intelligence and generosity. This is known as the halo effect. Think about it, this simply gives the upper hand to those who are seen as more attractive. This is unfair in so many ways - from job opportunities, to treatment in school and to areas of finance, we simply do not allow equal opportunities or privileges to everyone. In addition to how this affects society, the need to reach a certain level of attractiveness impacts our wellbeing and emotional health in so many ways; we become obsessed, believing the physical features of humans are the most important. 

Physical appearance has become somewhat of a fascination. We spend hours fixating on every detail of our skin and bodies, finding flaw after flaw. We look to the mirror for approval, which can make us our harshest critic and sometimes even our own enemy. Instead of embracing ourselves, we are treating our bodies as objects that need mending and fixing until we reach satisfaction (which may be practically impossible to many of us). Ultimately, the mirror and this need to look “perfect” creates challenges in cultivating a strong sense of self-esteem. Related to this, it is clear to me now that social media largely enhances and distorts the need for perfection. When scrolling through our feeds, we often get sucked into behaviors of social comparison, which results in distortions of reality. No one lives a perfect life, but social media allows us to be under false impressions that can lead us to be more critical of our own lives. 

How would our lives change if we were less preoccupied with appearances? I truly believe that every single human being would be happier. We would be less absorbed with thoughts about ourselves; thus, we would alleviate thoughts of anxiety and tension that circulate on a constant basis. We would have more profound interactions and relationships, as we would be able to put all of our focus into the whole individual, instead of first seeing a face and/or body and unconsciously forming an immediate impression.

How has this age of perfectionism impacted you? Do you notice your family or friends being affected? If not, try to observe small ways in which people are preoccupied with their faces and bodies. I guarantee you will start to understand a little more about how the mind is obsessed (and even mislead) about the importance of physical appearance. I encourage everyone to try and make small, conscious changes regarding how you view others. Try, really try, to look past the exterior. Consider how these unconscious ways of viewing people will affect both their impression of you and how the two of you will interact and form a relationship. Maybe you will surprise yourself and recognize that by doing this, you could really change your life and relationships.