To What Extent Should Your Looks Impact Your Personality?
My lifelong struggles with body insecurities and how I let people’s perceptions of me define my reality.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Be Your Best Friend with Anangsha, the weekend newsletter that remembers to look back once in a while to see how much it has evolved.
I was watching Sex Education on Netflix and it made me think about my insecurities as a teenager. When I look back at my own life, it hits me that a lot of my friends in school were pretending to be someone they’re not, just so they can gain societal approval.
I know you must have hated some parts about yourself too when you were a teenager, no matter what gender, sexuality, culture, country, or era you’re from.
Why is there such a universal problem and no universal solution for it?
This week’s newsletter is about that.
When I was younger, I thought you needed to look a particular way to command respect among your schoolmates.
I thought that if you don’t fit into the conventional societal standard of beauty — the slim fair, long hair version that we get to see in movies — you will always be a social outcast.
And, actually, as a teenager, my experiences also proved my belief right. Because back in school, I didn’t know how to carry myself. I didn’t have the confidence to feel good in my own skin.
I always strived to be someone else, a little thinner, a little fairer, a little more flawless.
But, of course, my wishes weren’t granted and the comments from my friends didn’t help.
I remember there was a girl with who I wanted to be best friends. She was one of the popular girls back then. One day, I was talking to her about my crush. She told me right to my face, “I know his taste and he only falls for pretty girls. He will never fall for someone like you.”
That broke my heart. Literally. I remember crying myself to sleep that night at home, cursing my looks, wondering what I can do to feel good, to feel pretty, to be comfortable in my own body.
This article is the story of my lifelong struggle with my looks and how I overcame all the negativity around how my skin and hair look. If you’ve ever looked into the mirror and wished you could look like someone else, then read on. I’m sure you’ll find something to relate to in this article.
How to define “beauty?”
I’ve learned that beauty is such an all-encompassing word.
You might be physically attractive. You might wear good clothes. You might have the most socially acceptable body size. But if you’re not confident in how you look, if you can’t carry yourself well, then your outward appearance doesn’t matter.
Because the way people perceive you has a lot more to do with how you behave than just how you look.
I know people say that first impressions are the last impressions. That you need to look good to actually impress people.
But just looking good isn’t enough.
You need to have a personality that people just can’t resist. You need to own who you are. You need to be different, so you can stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression on the minds of people you’re meeting for the first time.
Does that mean we should stop caring about our looks?
No, of course, not. No matter how much we have evolved as a species, our monkey brain still falls for colorful feathers and attractive body shapes.
But the truth is that there isn’t only one standard definition of “beautiful”.
It doesn’t matter how you look as long as you are confident in your skin.
As long as you can carry your beauty, own your traits, your characteristics with grace, then trust me, you will appear beautiful to whoever sets their eyes on you.
It is easy for me to write this as someone in her late twenties. But if I knew this in my teenage, it would have changed my life.
I wouldn’t have been so shy. I wouldn’t have been so afraid of approaching people or making friends. I would have definitely had better experiences because I wouldn’t have restricted myself to opportunities.
In my teenage years, I denied myself the opportunities I felt I didn’t deserve because I wasn’t beautiful enough.
If you’re reading this, I don’t care how you look. I don’t care what color your skin is, how straight your hair is, or how curvy your hips are. I want you to know that your beauty doesn’t lie in how you look.
You are beauty lies in your brain, in how kind and thoughtful you are, and how much of an impact you leave in the lives of the people around you.
We cannot control how we look, but we can definitely control how we think about ourselves, how we feel about our bodies.
We can control the narrative we tell ourselves.
So when you wake up tomorrow morning, tell yourself that you are beautiful, that you deserve everything good in the world. And that no force in the universe can diminish the fire burning in your heart.
You deserve all of that. And much more.
Trust it, own it, and attract all the good things you know you deserve.
At this point, I’m curious. Has there been a phase in your life when you absolutely hated your looks, but have grown to love yourself unconditionally now?
Reply to this email and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how difficult life was as a teenager vs now.
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That’s all from my end today. I’ll see you again soon. Till then, stay strong. Keep smiling and be awesome.