Interactions: How does one overcome societal expectations?

As humans, we often delude ourselves into thinking that we are different from the rest – within our species, and even amongst other species. My delusion is that I do makeup for myself and not for others’ validation. No matter how hard I try to tell myself and others that each pat of the foundation I use to cover my blemishes, and each caress of the brush on my cheek is for me, and me only, I could still never fully delude myself. I do understand that other individuals do put on makeup for their own validation. However, if I truly loved myself, I would not feel the need to wake up, before the Sun could even dare to shine, to grab a guillotine-like contraption and curl my lashes. Why would I do such a thing to myself? To feel pretty, of course. The rush of comfort whenever I have at least some color-correcting cream on my face all stems from what others expected from me, and in turn, what I have grown up to expect from myself. I was told to have clear, fair skin, long, pretty lashes, and pink, plump lips – the no makeup, but impossible to do without makeup, look – by my peers, strangers, media, and family members since I was born. The societal expectations that were not only bestowed upon me, but rather, us as a society, at birth have chained us from feeling comfortable with our true selves. 

Linked in the picture, a clip from the show, Euphoria

I have often tried to cover my insecurities with a mask of vanity. With the hope that as long as I trained my brain and others to believe that I have confidence in my looks and smarts, I too, would see myself this way. However, my heart did not obey my brain. As life progressed, my soul began to become more corrupted and hateful as I began to become a hypocrite – enforcing the expectations of society on everyone, and judging those who didn’t conform. How did I defeat this soul of mine that was tainted by society? Although cliché, I needed to work on myself and on my own traumas. It wasn’t the fact that I had to recognize my mistakes, but knowing where to start was the hard part. 

Courtesy of Forbes 

There is not one person in the world that will know you better than you. Thus, if you are in need of words of affirmation, only you can give yourself the right words at the right time. Recognizing this, I gave myself my own validation. Although in the past, the words of my delusion had no substance, these words of affirmation I told myself were different. They had meaning. This is due to the fact that I was able to recognize why I needed these words of validation in the first place. I realized that I needed to love myself before anything else. However, this is only the beginning of my long, and still ongoing, journey of overcoming these social, and now personal, expectations. In addition to attempting to love myself, I also needed to set myself free from the rules of society. I had to lead my life unrestrained from the standards of others. If the world outside was too overbearing, I knew I could find peace and validation within myself. Finding my inner sanctuary has allowed me to find my interests uninfluenced by what has been expected of me. Loving myself and not abiding by the rules has enabled me to be more adventurous and proud of who I am. Although I am still unable to break free from the grasp that makeup has on me, I have cared less in deluding myself and others on why I put it on. I put on makeup to look pretty to others. And soon, I will feel pretty – with just me.  

Courtesy of Lone Wong

How does one overcome social expectations? With self. Although I  have only talked about my experiences, everyone’s experiences are different and varying expectations are bestowed upon them. It is important to not follow me word for word, but instead, start your own journey of self-growth and love in an overbearing society.

One thought on “Interactions: How does one overcome societal expectations?

  1. I like how the images are placed close to an impactful idea to drive home a point, like these parts: “My heart did not obey my brain,” and “start your own journey of self growth…” The pictures and quotes that relate to these points really help the reader interpret and think about your topic.


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