I need to be beautiful.
Is that true?
How do I react when I believe the thought ‘I need to be beautiful’?
I feel terrible about myself when I look in the mirror. I focus on the parts of me that I think are unsightly.
I agonise over what to wear, and will often take an hour to get dressed, getting thoroughly stressed out trying different combinations. I put myself into debt by buying things I think will make me more beautiful — clothes, beauty products, nailpolish, expensive haircuts, etc. This is extremely stressful and financially draining. I do things that adversely affect my health in order to appear more beautiful and stylish: I wear a handbag, wear make-up, nailpolish, perfume, dye my hair. I compete with everyone in terms of appearance. I feel extremely jealous of people I see on the street who are thinner, or who I believe are more beautiful than I am. I compete with my friends, wanting to be the thinnest and most beautiful of them all. This leads to a LOT of stress, and also to the aforementioned frequent stress over the perfect outfit. I look at everyone in terms of their appearance (usually strangers) and internally ridicule them. I judge strangers according to their weight and level of attractiveness. I feel guilty and I attack myself for doing things I believe will make me fat and therefore not beautiful, mostly eating junk food.
I displace my anger at myself for judging according to appearance onto others and condemn them for doing the very same thing. I experience a profound sense of stress and self-hatred when I see an unflattering photo of myself, or when I think I look fat, or when I forget to pluck my eyebrows. I have ‘fat and ugly’ days when I feel completely depressed and powerless. I feel deeply uncomfortable in social situations on ‘fat and ugly’ days. I even consider cancelling social engagements. I compare myself to people in magazines, ads and other fashion-related images and feel awful about myself.
Who am I without the thought ‘I need to be beautiful’?
When I look at myself in the mirror I see only my love and compassion radiating out. I wear whatever is clean, and it only takes me a few minutes to get dressed. I put on make-up only if I want to. I look on people with love, and only love. I find what they wear and their bodies completely charming, if I notice their appearance at all. I wear whatever to gatherings with friends, and I don’t look at fashion photos because I’m not that interested. I am so full of love and joy, for everyone, and for myself. I know my value, and I know the value of others.
Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need to be beautiful’?
Turn it around.
– I don’t need to be beautiful.
Reasons it could be better to not be beautiful:
1. I don’t have to deal with unwanted attention.
2. I get to save a lot of money.
3. I get to save a lot of time and energy.
4. I won’t work as a model, actress, flight stewardess, or any other occupation that depends on my appearance.
5. People will be more likely to converse with me because they’re interested in me, not because they’re dazzled by my appearance.
6. I can eat whatever I want.
– My thinking needs to be beautiful.
This is what I’m actually after. I want to beautify my thinking, and remove attachment to negative thoughts, so I can be happy! I’ve tried to appear beautiful because I think it will make me happy (it doesn’t); making my thinking beautiful is what will actually make me happy.