The Pop Psychology of Looking Good

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all? Let’s face it: looking good makes us feel good, boosts our confidence, and keeps us ready for all those impromptu photos we get tagged in but didn’t have time to primp for. It also has a direct effect on how others perceive us. So, looking good is a definitely a good thing. Yet, what about those special times when we’re feeling so sick that we look like death warmed over? We can’t count on any false flattery from our fickle friend The Looking Glass, either, as it will only take great delight in taunting us in our misery.
Earlier this year I had the flu. We all know how much fun that is, but I literally felt sicker whenever I made the mistake of checking out my reflection. I could’ve easily been cast in one of those Night of the Living Dead movies, and knowing that only perpetuated my agony. Even though no one was going to see me, I knew I looked bad, so it altered my mindset, which changed how I felt.
I couldn’t take it anymore, so I dragged my sorry self out of bed, forced a brush through my hair, and put on some makeup. Granted, it was done with all the skill of a tipsy three-year-old since I was weak, shaky, and feverish—but it was an improvement. By the time I was done, I no longer appeared to be a zombie. Looking better had a direct, positive effect on the way I felt physically because, again, it changed my mindset. Plus, my mirror was no longer heckling me.
How we look has a direct impact on our self-esteem, or lack thereof. We could be strutting our stuff down the sidewalk—feeling poised, polished, and put together—then one quick, sideways glance at our reflection in a store window unravels it all. We’ve all been there. We can’t believe we left the house like that. Suddenly our struts become self-defeated trudges. Our award-winning smiles instantly fade into scowls. No one’s perfect, and we should never strive for perfection as it only results in hair-pulling episodes of OCD. We just need to put our personal best foot forward and hopefully never allow ourselves to look like we “just stepped in it.”
If our designer suits are covered in dog hair, our handbags resemble much-used diaper bags, or our runny mascara has turned us into deranged circus clowns, we simply won’t have the confidence we need in ourselves—and neither will anyone else—to accomplish our goals. That “recently rolled off the couch” look doesn’t cut it.
Also, first impressions are often lasting impressions, regardless of whether we’re meeting with new board members, interviewing for jobs, or even going on blind dates. So, in order to make good impressions, we need to pay attention to our appearances. Not in a pretentious prima donna way, but in an “I care enough about myself to take care of myself” way, that both impresses and inspires others.
If we invest the time it takes to look our best, it will be time well spent. As a result, we’ll feel good about ourselves, come off as self-assured (because we are self-assured), and—most importantly—we’ll look fabulous in all those social media photo tags!
By Bonnie Daly on 2018-10-05

Bonnie Daly lives in the quaint seaside city of New London, Connecticut with her husband Tim and their son Cameron, and works out of a very cool writing shed in her backyard. Bonnie is the author of six books, her latest work being the YA/Children’s novel Surviving Gretchen. She is also an editor and screenwriter. The ongoing restoration of her 1902 Victorian is one of her greatest passions, along with spending time with her family, playing the piano, tennis, and spoiling her collies. She's old enough to feel completely justified in not revealing her age. ;)