What Do We Tell The Ugly People? (Is It Wrong To Lie To Boost Someone's Self Esteem?)
March 14, 2016 at 3:00 PM
First off, you must forgive the blunt headline. I am generally not one to believe in 'classes' of people, the ugly, the average, the beautiful, etc. I prefer to believe, that everyone generally speaking, has the potential, to find themselves in any of these categories. Depending on their self-care routine, if you caught them on a good day, their level of wealth, etc.
While we're explaining things, let me also point out that I am not here to "fat shame" or "ugly shame" or any kind of such discrimination. What I would like to talk about, however, is how we as society, treat people who fall into any of the aforementioned categories. Not only that, but how we provide feedback on people's aesthetics in general.
Currently, most people are operating under the principle, that if you want to be nice to someone, whether family, friend, or just someone you want to show kindness to, the only acceptable kind of feedback on their appearance, is positive feedback. Even if something is visible which is noticeably off-putting, you are to focus on any positives you see, or if none are present, just tell them they're looking great anyway. Afterall, it can't hurt, right? It will make them feel better, and that's really all that matters.
I've always said "Negative feedback is FAR more valuable to me, than positive feedback, because with negative, I can see what I can work to improve on, or be made aware of things I myself may not of known, or be told new techniques or ideas I had not considered." This way of thinking leads to short-term hurt. The negative feedback is, painful, to say the least. Heck, it can ruin your whole day. However, short term hurt leads to long-term growth. You learn, you adjust, you improve, and next time, the negatives have now become positives. This is a personal viewpoint that has served me well in the past.
I'd rather talk about it from the end of the commenter, though. If someone, say, on Facebook, posts a Selfie, and they've asked for your thoughts on how they look, and in this example, they look quite apparently horrendous, how do you handle this? You can say "you're beautiful", or you can tell them how splotchy their foundation is, and that they should try a closed mouth smile unless they've brushed their teeth better. This might appear harsh, but only because it's so uncommon for people to speak the truth. We are so sheltered and protected from reality. But what if you DID say the truth? They would learn better foundation application techniques, and they would brush their teeth more regularly. You did the unpleasant deed of telling an uncomfortable truth, but you've just done a small part in improving the person's life, and they will be treated better by society when those problems are no longer present.
We are, I suppose, taking for granted in this article, that all involved actually care about looking visually pleasing, and that they value their physical form. Not all people share this value, and that is OK. This only applies to people who actually WANT feedback. If it's unwanted, then it's not appropriate to be giving them this feedback, it will surely come across as hurtful or insulting.
This situation is even more common and relevant to the Trans community, as people like us are constantly reaching out for feedback and opinions, as we have to forge new appearances, new identities, and without help, it can sometimes be a very treacherous and unpleasant road to travel. Some of us will never be "passable", but that does not mean these people are beyond improvement. Instead of misleading someone, why not offer them tips or suggestions on how to look even better?
I guess to sum it up, I'm just tired of seeing people mindlessly complimenting those who need constructive feedback the most, you're hurting them, not helping them.
No one is beyond repair. Help them, don't give up on them.
To touch on a somewhat related personal note... There was a time when I REALLY needed constructive negative feedback, I asked for it, a lot. I never got it. It made my journey of improving my physical appearance 100x more difficult, and lead me to more hurt in social situations. I just wish people had had the courage to tell me what I needed to hear, instead of telling me how beautiful I supposedly was.
I truly hope that I have written this in a way which does not come off as rude or insensitive. I am just one person, I don't have all the right answers, but I hope I've said something useful today.
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