In 2012 I had told a few of my friends and family I was going to shave my head. I explained that I spend most of my time with my boys or working out and don’t really get to enjoy the benefits of long hair right now anyway. I was reminded right then of how big a hold others views can have on a person. Some of the women I told even got choked up thinking of how others would see me. The males that heard of this proposed act proceeded to tell me of THEIR preference for long hair and encouraging me to not commit fashion suicide. And while I actually agree that I am visually appealing with really long hair, it just isn’t practical for me right now, and I felt that should be okay. I decided I NEEDED to do it and these people needed to see that it’s OKAY to be different and follow your own destiny. But then I got thinking of just how many people could benefit from such a message.
This subject matter may not “speak” to everyone, but for those who it does I hope it impacts your life in a positive way. I myself wouldn’t even begin to understand the depths of this issue if it hadn’t been for my close friends and my fitness clients who opened my eyes to other peoples views of themselves and how they function in this world. I recall stoping by a friends house (we will call her Darla for now) to see if she’d like to get away for a few hours and go to lunch. She informed me that she had no make up on and her hair wasn’t back combed or flat ironed etc. (as if I couldn’t see that) and that she wouldn’t get through all that in time. I enthusiastically pointed out: “Your one step ahead of me, at least you’ve showered! Why not just go as you are! ”. I knew my comic relief had fallen on deaf ears when Darla’s head dropped and a sorrowful look came over her as she muttered “I can’t..I can’t let other people see me.” And I thought about that. She’s hiding behind all this hair and make up so she “fits in” and nobody really does “see her”. I have several friends who are beauticians, estheticians, make up artists and bomb shells that absolutely LOVE doing their hair and make up every single day. And they love doing it for others! I don’t view the make up and time consuming hair as an global issue. These mascara pushing women are not slave to being what society deems as beautiful. In fact, most of the women I know in the fashion industry are more likely to be daring with their look or show up to my house looking like a train wreak then friends like poor Darla who won’t even let their husbands see her naked (figuratively and literally speaking).
You can be whole and beautiful if you deem yourself so. Beauty can come from within and from without. But what you feel and want is important. There is really no need for other’s views on what you should and shouldn’t look like and their attachments to who you are and what you appear to be run your life.
There are many different types of people and preferences when it comes to primping. Some do it for enjoyment. Others out if habitual routine. But for those who dread doing it and almost feel slave to it could really benefit from some breathing. Of course, I too fall into the societal expectations and norms. For instance, I wax from my eyebrows to my ankles during the summer months. Do I enjoy it? No I do not; its inconvenient, time consuming, painful, and pretty pricy after a while. But I enjoy the after effects of the hair removal while playing water sports in the heat and the esthetic appeal when wearing close to nothing. Therefor I do it with minimal fuss and I do it for myself. Women not being allowed to have body hair does fall into another United States meme; but I am not necessarily slave to this idea. In the winter, all logic of hair removal does not apply. Its too cold -I need all the warmth I can find-, my body is covered most the time, and by the time the cold sets in I am sick of the hassle. So, I don’t shave or wax all winter long. The uneasiness this puts other people through baffles me. Its not even THEIR hair. They don’t have to touch it or most the time even see it, and yet I get requests from people all the time when my legs are hairy to “please shave”! How silly! Don’t shave that, do shave this, curl there, flat iron here…seriously? But because of how I view myself and the world around me I do not hesitate to laugh at the absurdity of their disgust. Though, not many people can truly be okay with themselves as I am and would feel so ashamed having gone through that ordeal. These are the people I’m hoping to reach.
Thus far I’ve only mentioned appearances and how many people feel like their being constantly followed by the paparazzi. But the list of memes out there ranges from keeping up with the jones’ clear to pressured career expectations. That external locus of control can be such a bitch for many people!
Everyone has their right to an opinion. I believe you shouldn’t let that person’s opinion mandate your choice of action toward making yourself happy. In turn you shouldn’t expect your opinions and feelings to rule other people either.
People have their own outlook, opinion and values. Most of us want to be altruistic and virtuous while simultaneously harboring some sense of integrity. But everyone does that differently. Your path may not be my path, and that’s okay! It is even wonderful that we are all so different. Start with the respect of self. Then the respect of others autonomy, ideals, choices, aspirations, property, and their personal/living space. If we try to treat others as they would like to be treated and not impose our own beliefs on them. If we can place value on everyone and everything’s individual life and show unconditional compassion and benevolence toward others without overwhelming expectations of reciprocity. Can there not be harmony?
Putting a lot of stock into what others think -to the point of it altering your own self-efficacy beliefs, values, morals, ethics- isn’t just draining but it is super confusing! Really, this life is so short and its up to you how you want to live it. In no way am I suggesting that a narcissistic-self-centered-egocentric view is the way to go, but that we all may benefit from self respect and acknowledgment of your own internal compass. And allow influence from others where you see fit.
Some believe they “must point out the ‘faults’ of others and make them aware of their offense”. By not passing judgment on others doesn’t automatically mean you condone their actions or ideals. It means that you respect their free agency enough to allow them the opportunity to live their own life. By not shaming other people into changing into what you know to be best doesn’t mean that you are not there to help. But by offering yourself and services and being vulnerable to rejection from that person you are already showing that you care. Which will go much further in helping them feel a sense of belonging then cutting them down or shutting them out.
So tell me, how long are you willing to play the puppet? The day to day choices you make for yourself out of love, compassion, and mindfulness can be more rewarding than decisions out of fear. When will you find your inner peace by choosing to not allow another person or event to control your emotions, actions….your life?