What Does Success Look Like to You?
The use of social media and the online world means that we can truly express ourselves as whoever and whatever we want to be. Nowadays, it is easy to conceal our identity so much so that an Instagram influencer with tens and thousands of followers could walk out and about in public and not be given any attention, due to the fact that they do not look even close to their filtered portraits online.
As well as causing difficulty when it comes to using an identity verification service that relies on using the image from your ID, it also goes much deeper than that.
A person’s Instagram profile is an easy place to build popularity online- even if you were not in that crowd at school. A carefully chosen filter, a clever hashtag there, and your pictures are at the top of everybody’s news feed, ready for the barrage of hearts, bringing self-worth with them.
Professional make-up is also something that is getting easier to achieve at home, with higher quality products available in drug stores, and millions of tutorials online on how to completely change your identity. Once professionally renown programs such as Photoshop can allow an amateur to primp and perfect their image to something that is unobtainable to the average human being.
What’s The Harm?
With the ability to manipulate your visual identity in a couple of clicks online, it is easy for one to become dysmorphic about what they look like. Young people are likely to use these images to compare themselves to what they see on their phones, leading to mental health problems and eating disorders.
Cosmetic surgeons are reporting a rise in people attending their surgeries with pictures of airbrushed celebrities. They even use pictures of their filtered selves and asking to look like they do in the pictures- smoother skin, slimmer noses, larger eyes, and fuller lips being the popular choice for today’s western ideals of beauty (maybe less so with the kitten faces, or floating hearts, though)
Changing your visual identity to fit in with society’s norms is not just a twenty-first-century thing. Even is far back as the Elizabethan era before that, women would manipulate their body shape using stiff clothing to cinch in their waists to unrealistically small proportions, or using lead powders to make their skin ghostly pale. These were dangerous practices and often made the women sick, either due to the poison of lead or through crushing their organs in the pursuit of a teeny tiny waist. Due to the high costs and the huge difference in social classes, this is something that was mainly reserved for the richest in society.
These days, having the ability to manipulate your appearance is becoming more and more accessible- it is easier for people to achieve their desired looks through temporary or permanent changes to their bodies. Some people even get into debt in the pursuit of their ideal forms of beauty. The health and beauty industry is estimated to be worth around $4 billion, and is on the rise- it’s easy to see why many big companies use beauty products to make their money.
With all of this emphasis on appearance, it’s hard to realise that there is so much more to your life than what you look like. This shouldn’t be big news, but…
Success is Not Measured By What You Look Like
While the concept of ‘success’ is an individualised principle, the common factor of its definition, is that it is far removed from a person’s physical appearance. Success is something that- like a person’s personal appearance, is changeable with time, but remains pivotal around the fact of making a difference to the lives of those around them.
It is an important thing to bring into the day-to-day. It is easy to compliment somebody on their appearance, their hair or their clothing, but try complimenting people on other factors other than what they look like. Try it for yourself, too…
- You light up a room when you walk into it!
- You have such a contagious laugh!
- I love it when you smile!
- Your passion for ____ is so inspiring!
- You are so smart!
- I love how kind you are to others
- You’re such a great listener
- You have some strong feminine energy happening
All of the above characteristics focus on what the person brings to others, not just to the person looking in the mirror. The simple fact is this: Above all else, you are you, and that is what makes you beautiful.
I know that this isn’t my usual money-related guidance but I hope you find something positive in it. Beauty, just like money is not an accurate way to measure someones success or happiness. The images you see online are NOT real! Keep being you and doing what makes you happy.