As a Counselor-in-Training and a Certified Makeup-Artist there are a few links in connection with beauty that can help someone feel better about themselves. If we were to ask 100 different people, from 100 different walks of life what beauty meant, we would have 100 different variations of the term. So, I would not dare try to determine for you what that definition is. Suffice to say, beauty from societies point-of-view has made it unbearable for most of us to live up to the standard that is currently out there.
Many women, men, and children suffer from body-image issues as a result of wrong concepts of beauty. It is important to correctly identify what beauty means to you in order to understand how your mental health can be affected positively or negatively.
For this article, I will allow you to define beauty for yourself- So everytime I say beauty-please write out on a piece of paper-what beauty means to you. Please write out what beauty means in terms of what is seen on the outside and what is not seen. Now that we have that sorted out, let us look a little closer at make-up as part of the beauty world.
Make-up, is really what it says it is. There is no real or unseen definition for it. It is something that you put on to conceal, or to enhance your features. Some people like wearing it, some people don't. For some people they wear make up to make them feel better about themselves, for others, they wear it because they have always worn it and for others, they absolutely are against it. Wherever you stand, make-up is a very personal choice and should be respected.
I have always worn make-up. Make-up was something that enhanced my features as a young woman, and I never wore heavy make-up or eye-shadow. My routine involved, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick.
Over the years, of suffering with various illnesses, I lost a bit of my desire to care much about my appearance. I stopped wearing make-up and it did not seem like a big deal. Gradually, I became more depressed, but I was unaware of how my mental health and my looks were linked. Afterall, I still looked okay. I was pretty, and my husband wasn't gasping at my looks. Every now and then, I'd get the urge to wear a little lip-stick and my husband would say oh I prefer you without. I would smile, but it really didn't matter whether he did or not. I liked it. I wore it. Eventually, as I addressed my various emotional issues, and my health issues through counseling I began to evolve and feel better about myself. I began to learn more about what made me feel good about myself. I began to take more pleasure in make-up, and fashion, and health. I began to feel more pride and love for my body and appearance. I wanted to know about this make-up world. I began practicing tips, and tricks, and eventually I took a make-up artistry course.
Not everyone's path is going to be like mine. The point is, beauty is very personal for everyone. Mental and emotional issues are an experience everyone is going to experience at some point in their life. How we deal with those experiences will dictate how we move from point A-to-B.
If you are allowing beauty or make-up to change you negatively and your mental and emotional health is being affected, then I will recommend seeing someone who is a professional. If you are finding that your body-image, your self-esteem, your self-worth, your emotions are being controlled by whether or not you wear make-up, or need cosmetic surgery to look a certain way and the reasons are not motivated by self-love, and you are feeling pressured by images of harming yourself in order to live up to an idealistic image as opposed to wanting to feel better about yourself, then beauty is affecting you negatively.
Choosing to allow Beauty to influence your mental health for the better is a wonderful thing. Choosing to allow it to affect you for the worse-is not. Do not be ashamed. According to the North American Alliance on Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans live with a Mental Health condition". It is all about balance.
Shannon Shadman, LPC, MSMHC, NCC, M.Ed.