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: