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Addiction to Looking Good

Whether you grew from an adorable toddler into a knockout or morphed from an “ugly duckling” into a “swan,” you may have become addicted to looking good. Because this culture worships and rewards beauty, if you’re attractive (especially if you’re female), you may be so hooked on receiving admiring glances and gushing compliments on your appearance, that you may not realize how attached you are to them. You even may be greedy for praise and convinced you can’t live without it.

If you were cute as a button as a child and blossomed into a striking adult—with classic or eye-catching looks—you may have been complimented and rewarded all your life for nature’s gifts. Receiving too much praise for appearance, especially if you get none or few compliments for other innate qualities and learned skills, may make you believe that you are nothing more than a pretty face or an ideal body. Somewhere along the way, you may have stopped trying to be anything but a pretty package, forsaking other avenues that make you feel good about yourself. If so, you’ve been cheated and continue to cheat yourself because you’ve ended up relying on your looks to hold yourself in high regard.

On the other hand, maybe you were a plain or gawky child, but have developed into a stunner. Specifically, maybe you were chubby and are now thin or were told all your life, “You have such a pretty/handsome face. If only you’d lose some weight.” Now you’ve lost it and really are a head-turner and it feels oh-so-wonderful to have people stealing admiring glances at you. You may believe that you can make up for feeling ugly, overweight, or unattractive as a child by being thin now, and may be unwilling to relinquish thinness because you love to be admired and complimented.

There’s nothing wrong with valuing your appearance. The problem arises if you are compromising your health because you are addicted to flattery or if you are not rounding out your personality because you’ve become dependent on your looks to bring you happiness and success. You will never feel confident and authentically good about yourself unless you know that you are lovable, talented, and valued in spite of looking good. It’s one thing to enjoy compliments; it’s another to need them so badly that you use them to fill yourself up inside with positive feelings and believe that without them (or being thin) you are nothing much. If you suspect that you may be addicted to looking good, take a minute to consider your attachment to thinness or beauty and how it may be working against you.