Psychological aspects of stretch marks and the beauty cult
I get many emails describing how stretch marks ruined a life, made someone isolated and depressed, sometimes to the point of being suicidal. Nobody talks about it much. Psychologists and dermatologists seem to underestimate or ignore the effect of stretch marks on mental health and those afflicted do not talk about it because they feel ashamed to admit that a harmless skin imperfection is destroying their lives.
I remember my grandfather who was almost completely bald at the age of twenty told me that when he started getting bald at such an early age, he was extremely depressed. Shortly after, he met my grandmother who did not care about his baldness and they lived happily together for sixty years!
Chronic stress and unhappiness about one’s body can lead to clinical depression that is difficult to improve without medication.
The culture of being “perfect” and young is very distressing for many of those who do not feel “perfect” for whatever reason. While I certainly do support looking after oneself, I do not support the advertizing industry’s overblown ideal of eternal youth, the ridiculous cult of beauty which only purpose is to make you feel bad because the worse you feel the more money you will spend on looking and feeling better.
Bombarding you with “beautiful” people, “perfect” skin and heavily photoshopped glamor models is good business. You will spend more in increasingly desperate, but largely fruitless attempts to look like the shiny people in the shiny magazines.
The same with fashion. Let’s be honest: Fashion is for those who want to look like everyone else! Surely, wearing new clothes is enjoyable and I don’t say you should spend twenty years wearing the same shoes, but do not lay waste to your mood and bank account by succumbing to the pressure of always having the latest mobile phone, hair – or heel style.
To be honest, Big Cosmetics is not even the main cause of this vicious circle of trying to throw money at the inevitable forces of nature. They simply abuse our instincts to their advantage. Our genes are programmed to reproduce – everything in nature submits to this prime goal. This whole issue of feeling the need to be sexy is nothing else than our genes bullying us into doing what they are programmed to: To procreate. We are slaves of our own DNA. What’s at play is a survival-of-the-fittest scenario and the struggle to become the alpha male/female, a desirable procreation partner in an environment of competing genes. If you realize this and manage to more or less resist playing this game, you will be relieved and can enjoy looking good without the need for extremes and perfection.
Lots of supposedly physically “perfect” people have unhappy relationships anyway.
A daughter of a friend complained to her brother that she was ugly and he said:
“You are quite pretty but you are not gorgeous. That’s actually an advantage because that will keep superficial people away from you.”
Don’t obsess over things that can’t be changed. Or else you’ll suffer through your life. Focus on what you can change.
There currently is no method that can remove stretch marks. You can only improve their appearance, for example with dermarolling. Concentrate on achievable goals such as staying or becoming slim and toned (unless you really feel OK as you are), waering hairstyle that fits you and especially: Being pleasant to be with.
Why do you want to be perfect? To find a loving partner? Who do you think has a greater chance to find a nice partner? Who would you prefer as a partner?
Someone with stretch marks who’s overweight, depressed and usually snappy and in a bad mood?
..or a person with stretch marks who’s mostly in a good mood, has done his best to look good but who ignores his stretch marks, is a pleasure to be with?
I don’t blame stretchmark-afflicted people when they become depressed. Not at all. I totally understand it. It is extremely difficult to withstand the competitive environment we’re in. I only say that you should try to change what you can and decide to ignore the rest and that will likely result in finding an agreeable partner and it will also prevent your life being “suffered through”.
I’m not promoting a plattitude like: “Don’t worry about stretch marks, it can always be worse”. It’s not a competition of what is worse. It is about the approach you decide to have.
Important to remember: Living with a person who’s merely covered with stretch marks is very easy but living with a person who has low self-esteem is extremely difficult. Low self-esteem ruins everything.
There are billions of people on this planet. You just need to find one good, loving person for yourself who will not care about your stretch marks.
A tip for summer:
When you go swimming, make the decision that you will not look at the others at all, decide that you will not spend the entire day observing how many stretch marks others have or don’t have and how unlucky you are., etcetera. People with many stretch marks usually don’t go to the beach anyway. They stay at home and write desperate emails how they stay at home, cry and overeat, which makes me sad. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing your stretch marks in a swimsuit, cover them with UV swimwear. I have written a forum posting about it:
You have a helpful point of view or interesting info to add?
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|I never knew people felt that way about stretch marks. I never even thought about people’s stretch marks as a major issue. Like, I just never notice them as being that unattractive. On the other hand, I have felt exactly the same about acne scars on my face and on my back. I had often felt self loathing and horrible about my appearance. I was in the music business as a singer which after a while I got really bad with being obsessed about how I looked. It was to the point that I had to stop doing music b/c it stopped being about creative self-e pression and only about self-image. I am 42 now and I look good/younger for my age and all I can say is that this seems so important when your younger but it WILL get better but you really have to force yourself to focus on something else.I am still mildly self conscious about my scars but I absolutely cannot allow myself to feel bad about them. I am so much more than this body and believe these scars are here to teach me something. All we can do is do the best we can to be kind and decent people to ourselves FIRST and others. I am not my scars. You are not your stretch marks. There is so much more meaning to this life than these superficial obstacles. Find your peace and acceptance and do the best you can to be centered in love. It will get better.|
|Hi guys! I don’t have stretch marks, but I have fat ugly legs. I never go to a beach in fear that will have to wear a swimsuit. I would never ever walk in public wearing a swimsuit. Yuck! Showing all that giggly ugliness while walking?! Never! I hate wearing pants. And skirts that are shorter than below knee length. When I feel especially fat I don’t socialize in fear of being judged for my fatness. Well, there you go. We all have “issues”. The point is to find your balance so you don’t suffer. Wear clothes you feel good in. And yes, as the article above says, don’t be a slave to fashion/cosmetic industry. Oh, and don’t read fashion magazines. They are designed to make feel ugly.|
Ashley Bryatt Wosh:
|This is very helpful.You see,not many people have this issue with their body like I do.I am covered in stretch-marks and I’m only 19.After obesity,anorexia, depression and over exercising there’s no way that I could get out og this with no damages.I absolutely hate myself.I try to live and love mysef,but it’s impossible.I’m not ugly,but when you live feeling pressured to be perfect like those people on tv,it’s impossible to feel okay about yourself.I’ve tried to commit suicide several times only because of my stretch-marks and people tell me to accept myself,but it’s truly hard.When I feel a bit happy,I see girls with beautiful bodies,showing their arms and legs..I feel useless.I try to find a job,but It’s pointless.I always feel useless compared to other girls who work with me.Point is that I’ll never be like them,and I’ve already given up living.Sometimes I feel like having cancer is easier to live with than living with stretch-marks.I have never been kissed or allowed myself to have a social life because I feel like I don’t deserve it,and I always think that other people will laugh at me.,etc.
I hope no one feels the way I do..