The allure of beauty: How to feel better about life

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High heels: hell of heaven? Photo courtesy of Flickr.

High heels: hell of heaven? Photo courtesy of Flickr.

My mother’s friend always used to say, “It’s better to look good than to feel good.” Now, I’m not going to say that as a motto, it will lead to a fabulously glamorous life — last I checked, her Facebook page was mostly devoted to her dogs. I personally don’t subscribe to her philosophy, but a revision of it does make sense to me:

If you can’t feel good, you might as well look good.

So just for one article, I’m going to disregard the fact that I am a psychology student, not bother to look up what the studies say and channel my shallow side.

The last week, I’ve been an anxious mess. I’m worried about everything from my upcoming history paper to being unlawfully detained. I can read the book my paper’s on, yes, but I can’t know for sure that I’m not going to be taken hostage as I’m doing so. Since I don’t have any Valium, I’m going to have to resign myself to the fact that, for the time being, I’m not going to feel good.

This is where the looking good part comes in. Yesterday, I wore jeans, a baggy T-shirt and no makeup. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there isn’t anything particularly good, either.

So this morning, I rebelled against my mood. I’m now armed with an all-black outfit with heels, a purple chunky gem bracelet and bright eye makeup. It doesn’t change who I am, but it’s like putting on a superhero uniform: World, here I come.

I can now fake that I’m doing great. Running into my ex who is spreading false rumors isn’t an issue today, ‘cause I look happy and successful (and don’t you wish you hadn’t left me). If someone asks me how I’m doing and I don’t want to talk about my present concerns, I can convincingly state that yes, I’m dong fine right now and please excuse me, I’m on my way to someplace wonderful.

Fake it ‘till you make it, right?

I know this isn’t a long-term solution. Despite what the beauty industry would have us believe, no amount of cute shoes and lip gloss can get me what I truly need. But after a week of stressing out, don’t I deserve a break?

I think so.

So for today, I’m gonna walk around like I don’t care that the world is full of criminals, homework and starving children. I honestly am concerned with those things, but we all need a holiday from reality. With my too-long list of worries, I can at least check off one thing: stressing about my appearance.

Besides, I can always settle back into stress-induced nonchalance concerning my appearance tomorrow. Today I’m gonna feel better ‘cause I look better.