“People care much more for how things look than how things are.”
― Donna Lynn Hope
I still remember the day I heard a family friend had passed away from cancer earlier this year. Just few months before I heard the news, I had the greatest pleasure of being able to see him. The last words he said to me was 你真美. It made me feel quite emotional, but I just smiled and said thank you. It is simply amazing when we think about the beautiful, kind hearted and not to mention strong, strong people in this world. What inspired me to write about the topic of a ‘shallow’ world, is from my experiences in the last three years. Of course, most of it may be a huge generalisation. The rule of life is that there will always be people who do bad things and good things. There will always be people that are kind and genuine, and other’s…not so quite.
There are many memories and experiences that put my mind into perspective, which is something I strongly advise many people to do from time to time, especially if they are facing something tough or something extremely small – but seemingly tough. We can often be self contained, and only live in our own little world, but forget that there is a huge world out there, with billions of people living their own extremely different lives. We live in a society, that tries so darn hard to define what’s cool, what’s normal and what’s in. We live in a society where sex sells, beauty sells and degrading women and men’s physical features can earn billions of money.
When I speak of this, I have to mention that I am extremely passionate for the creative industry. It is a common misconception that the fashion industry is shallow. Like every industry, it has its own negative clouds and stereotypes, such as having models that are much too thin, people only make friends with ‘attractive’ people and a common assumption that many people are shallow. Truth be told, that unfortunately regardless of being in the creative industry or not, the world is full of many shallow people. For example the many articles written on how men are still payed higher salaries than women, or how attractive people are more likely to receive a promotion (eg. halo effect). Without further ado, here is a list of things I just wish so deeply could change in some small or big way.
1) People are afraid to live. Heck, sometimes I’m scared to do certain things, but then I forget and need to remind myself, Katie – every second and breath you breathe is a gift! Which is so wonderful and sort of exciting, when you remind yourself that there are limitless things you are can achieve. Self-talk is very powerful. Often we can talk ourselves into things that do not exist or things that are simply not true. We forget to live deeply when we only live on the surface. Remember to embrace life from the palm of your hands.
2) Our perception of beauty is distorted. Society wise that is. I admire a blogger called Margaret Zhang (from shinebythree.com). It’s true what she said, in terms of many Asian women’s perception of beauty. They want bigger eyes, longer lashes and flawless pale skin, rather than embracing their own beautiful eyes as naturally as they are. Speaking in my mind, that as an Asian I naturally have slightly big eyes – to avoid any hypocrisy. I couldn’t agree more with her. I loved a recent interview, where she said she currently does not own a foundation. It reminds us that too often we try to conceal our skin, where as natural beauty needs much more emphasis in terms of the sort of healthy lifestyle we need to be pursuing.
If we wear make up, we should bear in mind that it should emphasise our own natural beauty and features, rather than wearing make up to hide features we don’t want to show. For example, I simply love freckles. I think they are such a beautiful aspect of a person. Or a gap in the tooth, crooked smile or natural eyebrows. Beauty is not defined by anyone, but our own perception of it. Beauty is not having big eyes, thin legs and having a height of a model. It’s only expected that the big media will tell us that we are not good enough, so that we will buy more products.
In what ever we do, we need to remain true to ourselves. Often people are much more beautiful than they realise, but society tells them different. If you want to wear make up, wear it, and if you don’t, don’t. Beauty is not only physical, but hugely about personality. As cliche as it sounds, and yes it is cliche, but beauty is from within. It takes hugely from our actions, beliefs, the way we move, project ourselves and show kindness to others.
3) Lack of feeling and showing signs of deep emotion. Unfortunately there are many fake people in this world. It puts a little strain in conversations or makes it difficult to know if a person is enjoying the conversation. I always feel that a smile loosens a conversation up so much more, but unfortunately many people speak words of kindness, but do not show it. As they say, our eyes show the windows to our soul. As humans, and especially as adults, too often we hide our true selves in fear of exposing our weaknesses. However, sensitivity should not be seen as a weakness in society. Empathy, honesty, sensitivity and feeling are very powerful aspects of being human. Remember that.
4) Forgetting to reconnect within ourselves. I remember a specific memory at high school, when I would have conversations with some of my friends, they would express their views honestly. However, when having a conversation with a big group, they would agree as if somehow convincing themselves that they love this and that too. The problem is too many people try to fit in. Too many people want the latest technology, make up or car. Within ourselves, there is the individual person that knows what he/she likes and doesn’t like. It’s important not to lose yourself in the world and most of all to never lie to yourself. The best thing I admire in a person, is honesty and kindness – not to mention to throw in some humour. The ability to disagree without offending or the ability to state something other’s would not tell you – and others would only keep talking about behind your back.
5) Judgment. 9/10 times people will judge. Harsh, right? But it’s true. And that’s when we get to do the whole self talk of, you know what, it doesn’t bother me, because my judgment of myself is much more important. I am a firm believer that the friends we make are extremely important. If you surround yourself with successful people, you are more likely to strive for it. If you surround yourself with negative influences, you are likely to pursue it. In saying that, it doesn’t go for everyone, but generally, the people we surround ourselves with, will influence us. Nobody wants to be around someone who consistently talks about others behind their back or vents their personal life on you constantly. Which is why sadly, few friends I left talked too consistently about others that I could not hear any more. But to surround yourself with people that you feel you can relate to and that are genuine, is simply the best.
6) A visual world. With the digital world as prominent and advanced as ever, we live in a world with many social media platforms and contact at your convenience. I don’t take the train often, but when I do, I notice that almost every person is robotically on their phone staring down at the screen. Call me old school, but it puts me off when people cannot spend those precious seconds to enjoy having their own company surely. Understandable if one is sorting business or have an emergency, but how often do we really need to use our phones. Is it to avoid looking awkwardly sitting alone? If it is, embrace it, cos that’s what I do. I make the most of the time I can spend alone. We are as visual as ever, that often I wonder how much of an impact it makes in our lives and how we see the world.
I deleted my facebook a few months ago, because I believe that seeing my family and close friends in person are much more important to me, than seeing constant memes, having hundreds of friends and silly videos that I will mindlessly scroll through. I couldn’t understand the concept of why we need to show off certain photos to people (although, call me a hypocrite because I do have a Facebook page), but nevertheless, I hope you understand what I mean in general – that often people constantly post for the wrong reasons. That likes are not what life is about. It does not equate to your self value or popularity. And the sad thing is even when celebrities who have a high following post posts of strong value about strive to make a difference (world poverty, animal conservation etc..), the photos of her long lashes and revealing dress gets three to four times more likes.
7) Divorce rates are higher than ever before. About 50% of marriages in America result in divorce, which sadly also reflects in some areas in other countries around the world. The issue with the amount of divorce rates is that many of us have grown up (including myself) with parents that have divorced when we were still at a young age. These issues will range from all kinds of personal reasons. However, sadly in some cases, it is simply because people are lacking commitment more and more so. In some essence, our media is corrupted with the amount of music, film and so on that says this and that is okay, which naturally will end up with separation. In my view, I do not believe having one night stands and constantly flirting with others for all the wrong reasons will ever result in true love. Relationships are not easy, no matter what kind. Every relationship requires commitment, love and acceptance.
If people ever speak to you as if they know you inside out – remember this – only you know what you have been through in every single aspect. You are the only one who has spent from the beginning of your life to this moment here on Earth. In a judgmental and shallow world, it is important to stay most of all, true to yourself and honest to yourself. Live and breathe on this earth with gratitude and kindness. Spread it like fire. There will always be times where it’s difficult and people will try to bring you down, but remember ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’
photo credits: lovethispic.com