Self-respect should not be mistaken for insecurity

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Anyone who is close to me knows that I thoroughly enjoy the world of fashion and pampering myself. I would much rather wear a cute dress than a comfy pair of sweatpants. Sometimes I have a tendency to wear heels when going to class. I like doing my hair and makeup and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

These are things that make me happy and feel good about myself. These are things that a lot of other people do in their daily routines.

Yet somehow because I do these things, people assume that I’m some narcissistic and unconfident individual who has very little insight to life. To this, I say that accusation is a far cry from who I actually am as a person.

Just because I like to take care of myself and present myself in a way that makes me comfortable, that does not mean that I am one-dimensional or stupid. I am completely aware that there is a life outside of the mall, spa and my bathroom mirror. I know about world issues and the recent turn of events in Canadian politics and I also am doing well academically.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour once said, “just because you like to put on a beautiful Carolina Herrera dress or a pair of J-Brand jeans instead of something basic from K-Mart, it doesn’t mean that you’re a dumb person.” This quote is the closest thing I’ve heard to the truth.

I don’t think that a particular brand of clothing should also brand a person’s intelligence or their capacity to think philosophically. If you just break it all down, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your new pair of jeans are from Wal-Mart or Guess, they are just jeans. As long as they serve their purpose and you are happy with how they make you feel, you shouldn’t have to justify your choices to anyone else.

My frustrations with self-maintenance do not end there. If I’m not being accused of being conceited or dim-witted, I am being accused of unrealistic perfectionism and being too critical of myself.

Yes, I am a young woman who does have her insecurities, but just because I decide to take an extra half an hour out of my morning routine to put on makeup doesn’t mean that I feel irreparably broken and think that a few swabs of mascara will cure all of my problems.

Sometimes people will feel the need to pull me aside and say, “you really shouldn’t wear makeup, you look better without it” as if they need to reassure me with confidence.

The truth is, I don’t wear makeup all that often. I am perfectly comfortable not wearing makeup just as I am with it. In fact, I mostly prefer myself without makeup. Sometimes, I just like to spoil myself and get all dolled up when going out.

It’s not fair for someone to feel victimized for taking care of themselves, just like it isn’t fair to make a victim of someone who has very little interest in clothes or pampering themselves. In both cases, people will say that you’re petty and unsure about yourself. It really is nothing more than a losing battle.

The problem is that society doesn’t tell you that it is okay to call yourself beautiful and to love yourself. There is this belief that someone else always has to do it for you.

I believe that is a flawed way of thinking. You can’t always expect other people to believe in you. That part you have to do for yourself, no matter how you decide to express that.

So if you’re someone who takes pleasure in caring for yourself and is constantly told that you’re small-minded and lack confidence or self-worth for it, don’t listen to it.

I think it would be fair to say that comments like that say more about them than it does about you.

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