As I wrote in a previous ripening on secretly comparing myself to my friends I can hear the feminist arguments of my youth reverberating in my head – “But focusing on how we look is demeaning, it takes our focus away from the real issues of life and sets women against women in a war for men’s attention.”
So here’s what I think: taking pride in our appearance, even or perhaps especially, on those days when quite frankly we’re not feeling our best, is an act of extreme self-care.
We all have our own standards about what ‘enough effort’ is, and I suspect at some level, our internal voice lets us know when we are sliding from enough effort to “deeply insecure but if I fix my external appearance the rest of my life will be fixed too.”
Taking pride in our appearance is a very human act. Nothing says “I don’t care about myself” or “I put others, work – fill in the blank – before myself” quicker than how we look. This is not about what size we are, or wearing our oldest, most comfy sweatshirt around the house. This is the “I don’t care/it doesn’t matter” action of walking out the door feeling less than our best because of the time we haven’t spent on ourselves and what we’re wearing.
Taking pride in our appearance might mean:
- being more thoughtful about what we feel like wearing and will make us feel good given the day ahead
- taking a little more time to apply moisturiser with gentleness and purpose instead of just slapping it on and hoping it does what it’s supposed to do
- spending a moment as we look in the mirror to appreciate what we like about our bodies and being grateful for how they continue to serve us
- giving our hair and make up a little more attention so we are satisfied with the result
- doing something just for us, by wearing our good underwear or special socks instead of the everyday stuff
Taking pride in our appearance requires us to take time for ourselves. To cherish ourselves by bathing, dressing and grooming our selves in ways that make us feel good. It’s not about trying to impress anyone else other than ourselves.
So the next time you’re having a bad hair day or a bad life day – pause and consider what you need to put on, or take off, or take particular care with, to ensure that the message you give to yourself is “I care and I’m worth it”.
What do you do to take pride in your appearance, especially on the ‘not so great days’?