We are constantly pressured to look beautiful. Everyone agrees that judging others by their looks is shallow, but unfortunately the world we live in and our evolutionary make-up, favours err well, make-up. Beauty and image help us to achieve our goals on a practical level, but ultimately developing our inner selves should be our main goal.
Make-up attracts men
Research shows that women who wear make-up are more likely to be approached by men in a bar and also positive facial expressions such as smiling, make us more attractive to the opposite sex.
In a Newsweek survey of 202 corporate hiring managers, 57% said that unattractive candidates are likely to have a harder time landing a job and while more than half advised spending as much time and money on “making sure they look attractive” as on perfecting a résumé.
I personally often struggle with the idea of making myself beautiful for others. For one, it takes a lot of effort and at least another 20 minutes of the time I could spend in bed in the morning. It also feels like succumbing to social pressure and the rebellious part of me wants to resist this. I want to say I don’t care what I look like. Surely what’s inside is more important than what’s outside?
While this may be true, we can’t escape the society we live in and where we need to survive socially and professionally. It’s ironic but being beautiful outside, will attract others to us and make them want to get to know us better on the inside.
Today, you need to think of yourself as a brand and your looks contribute to how your brand is perceived, and when you look good you also become more confident.
Beauty before brains?
Luckily not! When it comes to dating, research has shown that in modern societies, men place a greater emphasis on finding a partner that is intelligent, while those in more traditional societies still place more value on beauty and cooking skills when looking for a wife.
The other side of the coin is that as women and men became more equal in their earning power, women are now more likely to prioritise looks over money when assessing a partner, because they are now less dependent on men to secure them financially.
We are hard wired from an evolutionary perspective to prefer beautiful people, even babies prefer to look at beautiful people. Physically our beauty is linked to our hormones, which are linked (like everything else it seems) to reproduction.
Beauty comes from within
Ultimately, I believe and everyone knows that beauty comes from within. It’s the personality, chemistry, charisma, the mind and spirit that a person radiates, which makes them beautiful to us. But physical beauty and presentation is still obviously a bonus.
Your image as a practical tool to achieve your goals
Simply put, to achieve results in this society, it is important to present the best image of yourself from both inside and out. Even if you don’t believe that your physical image is important in the grand scheme of things, it will help you to achieve your goals on a practical level if you look the part.
What’s important to remember though is that while beauty and image are tools to get what we want and increase our confidence, what’s inside – our personality, actions and our soul are the things that we should really be working to perfect. In the end physical form won’t last forever, but the positive actions we take and the work we do on our inner selves, no one can ever take away from us.
“Your physical attributes, like your body, are merely borrowed. Do not set your heart on them, for they are transient and only last for an hour. Your spirit by contrast is eternal: your body is on this earth, like a lamp, but its light comes from that everlasting Source above.” (Rumi, Masnavi IV: 1840 – 2)
What do you think, should we make the effort to look good? Or should we just not care about what others think?