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    Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror and fully appreciating what you see before you.

    Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Sometimes, it feels as though we shun compliments in favour of modesty. To what end, though? For many years, women were persuaded never to draw attention to their beauty, intelligence, or humour. This outdated notion has fortunately begun to subside in an era of feminism but now, with the influx of edited media, women, as a collective, have suffered the pitfalls of such images. Often considering these images as the criterion of how one should look, act, travel, work and exist. It’s exhausting. Social media is only part of a much wider cultural phenomena. It has developed from societies that repressed women. And perhaps this is why especially in the UK, we seem to find it really tough to admit the good things about ourselves over any minor negative point.

    Is it not time that we embraced that ‘damn, I look good’ feeling’?

    'Olga Anderson'. Article: 'That 'Damn, I Look Good Feeling'. Source of the image:

    We’ve all had them at some point or another: those moments that arise when you are brimming with confidence (moments that, unfortunately, come few and far between for many of us). Nevertheless, they are the moments that fill us with a rush of ecstasy. Nothing can bring us down. No one can lecture us into believing we have any flaws. We feel powerful and beautiful and strong. They are some of the greatest moments a woman can own. 

    There will always be one ‘damn, I look good’ moment that is more prevalent to me than most. I was recently single and attending a wedding. There is, of course, already a stigma attached to the single girl at a wedding, let alone a recently single girl, post-breakup by only a few days, making it all the more important to style myself exceptionally.  The pity and sympathy concealed in swift glances and brief conversation would be simply too awful to endure. I will admit that it probably wasn't the nightmare I thought it would be, but was I scared to attend a wedding so soon? Yes, absolutely terrified! Did I know what I was going to wear? Not a clue. Did I survive? Like a trooper!

    On the morning of that wedding, I had decided upon an outfit relatively last-minute and it was a bold choice for me.  An oversized, painted, silk skirt detailed with a large, exposed silver zipper down the front. I tucked a black silk top with plunging v-neckline into the skirt and combined it with a slightly worn-out pair of heels. This was the woman who vowed never to wear separates to a wedding, since it had been deemed a fashion faux-pas circa mid-noughties. I took my time on my makeup and tied my hair up into a loose, high ponytail. Up until this point, I had never worn my hair up for weddings or events because I could never get the style right; still, I tried.

    Without a care in the world, I took one look in the mirror just as the sun was cascading into the room, and all I could think was, ‘damn, I look good’. For the first time in over a year, I felt like my best self. And it wasn't even entirely about the way I looked aesthetically, but something beyond. Yes, even I had to admit that I looked pretty damn good, but I also felt like myself. This happened in a split moment, all before the monster of modesty overtook me and I wondered why I was being so positive – or, in the eyes of some, why was I thinking so highly of myself? Women can’t do that! Or, at least, that’s what I had been taught.

    For so long, women have been taught that their looks exist solely for the appreciation of men. That a woman cannot – and should not – admit that she looks good, feels good or is good. And it is an extremely damaging mindset.

    We allow a lot of negativity into our thought process. Whether it’s from what people have said to us, implied, or because we haven't received validation from Facebook and Instagram likes. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and this certainly rings true in the modern world. We can find out the pertinence of this thought to the modern world by looking to Social Comparison Theory – a concept introduced by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954: “The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.” (Duff, K. (2012). Think social psychology. Boston, Mass.: Allyn & Bacon/Pearson.) It is, therefore, safe to say that comparison has become an innate part of being human. Uncertainty is a fear for most, and it is a fear somewhat disguised and assimilated into our daily lives; we've become unresponsive to the signals that forewarn us of its arrival.

    'Olga Anderson'. Article: 'That 'Damn, I Look Good Feeling'. Source of the image:

    It is, however, extremely rewarding when you realise that a self-compliment is not always a negative thing. If anything, it’s a positive! Similarly, embracing uncertainty is one of the greatest things that we can learn if we want to reduce the amount of fear and anxiety in our lives. 

    If we begin to design our own image of self, and begin to appreciate what we have, it’s likely that we’ll be happier. We will no longer rely on other people to make us happy and we’ll have more of those ‘damn, I look good’ days. We don’t need to go around voicing all the wonderful things that we think about ourselves on a daily basis to everyone that we pass in the street, but it is something that we should learn to embrace a little more often. There is no harm at looking in the mirror and noticing that your hair frames your face perfectly, or that your figure is looking rather in shape and that your smile really is quite beautiful.

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