The Self-Criticism Makeover: A Cosmetics-Free Beauty Tutorial

Sometimes, it’s good to slather a beauty mask on our minds to rejuvenate our concepts of self-worth; to give our positive emotions a co-wash every now and then to keep them voluminous and abundant.
Publish date:
February 20, 2014

Invariably, there will come times when you feel hideous.

No matter how fabulous, vain and self-loving you are on normal days, those
times will come. You’ll look into your mirror, horrified, and wish to crumble
into a small pile of ugly dust.

It’s times like these where
makeup transforms from an art form that celebrates the beauty of your face into
a mask to hide its imperfections: we conceal the dark circles, put foundation over
the “bad” complexion, and for the love of God, do whatever’s necessary to get
rid of that enormous pimple, NOW.

Times like
these sometimes last weeks, months, and years. Sometimes, “times like these”
are all we’ve ever known.

We have a
lot of solutions for improving long-term health for beauty’s sake, like making
sure to moisturize our skin and eating lots of protein for our hair and nails.
Sometimes, though, it’s good to slather a beauty mask on our minds to
rejuvenate our concepts of self-worth; to give our positive emotions a co-wash
every now and then to keep them voluminous and abundant. We should treat our
emotional insides with the same attention and care that we treat our physical

Here are some tips to bolster your inner fortress of vanity
so that these unavoidable, crappy times feel at least slightly less crappy the
next time they roll around.

Ask yourself: to whom, or what, are you
comparing your appearance?

standards are very interesting things in that they are both extremely personal
in the way we internalize them, yet wildly generic and cultural outside of
that. Be it subconsciously or consciously, we wind up comparing ourselves to
our various ideals, whatever they may be and however closely they may follow
the mainsteam.

If we really deconstruct beauty standards to the inherently
subjective and culturally constructed things that they are--and no, I’m not
interested in a spiraling evo-psych debate about symmetrical faces--it becomes
glaringly clear, with time, that many of the things we learn to hate about ourselves
are perfectly normal, perfectly beautiful things.

When you find yourself judging
your appearance harshly, ask yourself what your beauty ideals are. If you don’t
fit into your own concept of what beauty is, it’s your concept that need
to be altered--not you.

Try not to project
outside stresses onto your own self-worth.

It’s really easy to
internalize outside stresses into both our worth as individuals and how we
look. When that’s added to the fact that stress can often cause acne breakouts,
it’s fertile grounds for seeds of self-criticism to take root.

The next time you notice that
you don’t love yourself as much as you should, consider the other things going
on in your life that may be affecting your mood. When life is hard enough on
its own, try to give yourself--and your looks--a little more leeway. Take a
bubble bath, listen to your favorite album, and take yourself out on a date.
You deserve the TLC!

You are often your
own worst critic.

No one has
seen our faces and bodies as many times as we ourselves have, and it’s
incredibly easy to hyper-scrutinize any perceived fault as a result. We have the
entirety of our lifetimes to pick apart the parts of our appearances that we
deem ugly, usually under the misconception that others will judge us based on
how hideous we supposedly look.

The thing
to remember in these instances is that many of the things that we’re
self-conscious about--the shape of our cheekbones, the thickness of our
eyebrows, rosacea and acne--are things that by and large barely register on
other people’s radar. People are too busy going about
their days to really sit and pay attention to what you consider the problem
areas of your face.

Having said
that, there are absolutely people who will go out of their way to make a
comment about your appearance
, often times with all the grace and sensitivity
of an internet comment troll. I don’t want to pretend that douchebags don’t exist,
because they do, and they absolutely suck.

When you hear those comments, and compare them to the
things that you think about yourself, how similar are they? If you’d never
think something so negative about yourself a day in your life, you have
enviably stalwart self-love and, while I thank you for doing so, probably don’t
need to be reading this article.

If your
self-criticism is nigh indistinguishable from your grossest run-in with a rogue
butthole--if you discover that you yourself are the nasty internet commenter
on the online article that is your appearance--it’s time to thoughtfully
re-assess some things.

Know when to ask for
help, and know that asking for help is ok.

For some, the battle
against our appearances is a lifelong, inborn thing that is almost impossible
to shake, much less cure with a few suggestions from an article.

you recognize yourself exhibiting symptoms of disordered eating or body dysmorphic disorder,
it’s good to be honest with yourself about the reality that what you’re feeling
may be much deeper than you, your appearance, or culture. It can be a scary
thing to consider, but know that the way you feel now doesn’t have to be the
way that you feel always, and asking for help from a therapist or therapy group
can do wonders to helping you know that you’re far less alone than you feel.

Do you have an internal beauty regimen? What kind of things
do you do for self-care?