Written by Nikki Heyder
In a world inundated with beauty standards and trends, it's easy to lose touch with our inner voice and sense of self. Disconnection from our intuition can lead us down a path of making decisions about our bodies that don't align with our morals and values. The pressure to conform to societal norms often overshadows our own authentic desires. So how does a disconnection from our intuition even happen, and how does it impact our choices within the beauty industry?
Our intuition, often referred to as our inner compass, guides us toward choices that resonate with our true selves. Unfortunately for many of us, we lose the connection to this moral compass during our childhood years. If we grew up in families which were conditional, which didn’t favor or promote our own self-expression, or which shamed us for not ‘fitting in’ to societal norms, then it’s likely that we learned at a very young age that listening to our intuition only ever gets us into trouble or disappoints others.
As we get older, this disconnect has the potential to grow bigger and bigger - we may find ourselves struggling to make decisions and constantly seeking others' approval before our own. We second guess ourselves, worry about others perceptions of us, and often hide back from self-expression out of fear of rejection or criticism.
Coupled with the influence of the beauty industry, social media, and its ever-changing trends and ideals, it can easily manipulate our perceptions of beauty and self-worth. It's not uncommon to feel compelled to follow beauty routines, procedures, or trends that don't align with our values simply to fit in or meet societal expectations.
As humans it’s our innate want and desire since birth to be accepted, to be loved, to fit in. If we were animals in the wild, it would be imperative that we remained a part of the ‘pack’ because it’s through this pack that we remain safe, secure, well fed, and essentially have higher chances of survival. To be ostracized means to be unsafe. The same fear occurs in humans. No one wants to be left out of the pack. And oftentimes, that fear can overtake our core values.
Societal pressures can create what we refer to as a 'crowd effect,' where we feel compelled to conform to what's popular rather than honoring our individual preferences. We might find ourselves going along with certain beauty treatments or products because everyone else seems to be doing it, even if it doesn't sit well with our morals. When we do so, however, we don’t seem to feel any “better”. In fact, we often feel worse. We are disappointed in ourselves, we feel regretful, resentful, shameful, and may even feel a sense of innate loneliness and disconnection (despite trying to do everything to fit in).
So what can we do to ensure that we are in fact making decisions which align with our core values and morals? Firstly, we want to identify the difference between a fear-based decision and an intuitively led one.
Usually, when we make decisions out of fear we feel it more in our chest and head - it’s a thought-based decision which usually accompanies feelings of worry, panic, anxiety and overthinking. Alternatively, when we make intuitive based decisions, we usually feel it in the gut. Even if the decision is a hard or challenging one, it’s associated with a sense of groundedness, relief, and an inner ‘knowing’ that it might not be the easiest decision to make, but it is the “right” decision for us.
Below are a few ways that we can honor our values more when it comes to decision-making:
Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your personal values and what truly matters to you. Identify what beauty practices resonate with your authentic self and align with your beliefs. Identifying your core values can be done via chatting with someone you trust, through your journaling practice, or with the help of a therapist or coach who has the skills to explore your sense of identity in a curious and compassionate way.
Tune into Intuition: Practice mindfulness and self-awareness to reconnect with your intuition. Listen to the subtle nudges from within that guide you towards choices that feel right for you. You can start off with the simple things - go to the grocery store and notice what you feel intuitively drawn to when it comes to food for example. Ask yourself if this is something you intuitively need to do or something you “want” to do due to fears, societal expectations, or feelings of worry or overwhelm.
Question the Why: Before embracing a beauty trend or procedure, ask yourself why you're considering it. Is it because you genuinely need it and that it aligns with your core beliefs and values, or is it influenced by external pressures? How will your life be and feel differently once you do it? What are the benefits? What are the consequences?
Research and Educate: If you're considering a beauty product or procedure, do thorough research to ensure it aligns with your values and doesn't compromise your well-being. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, get second opinions, speak to others who have done the same thing, and take your time to make an educated, and informed decision.
Seek Like-Minded Communities: Surround yourself with individuals who share similar values. Engaging with like-minded communities can provide support and encouragement to stay true to your authentic decisions and don’t perpetuate beliefs that you “don’t fit in”. It’s all about finding YOUR people - the community which aligns with who you are. Once you find these people, you will feel a deep sense of connection and belonging.
Visit Nikki Heyder's website here: https://www.the-soul-institute.com/