Have you ever left the house in grungy clothes, without your hair or makeup done, because you thought you wouldn’t see anyone you know? This mindset seems common among young women. Modern-day dress codes are remarkably relaxed compared to what they were a couple of generations ago. (Don’t even get me started on leggings!) Unless you work in a traditional corporate environment, you probably don’t have to dress up regularly. And by “dressing up,” I don’t just mean wearing business clothes; I mean putting time into your hair, making sure your hands are manicured, and polishing your shoes. Think about it – when was the last time you polished a pair of shoes?!
On top of this generational change, we feel as though we can be especially careless when no one is around. Working from home? Why not stay in your pjs! Staying in to catch up on chores? Forgo the morning routine!
These habits may seem harmless; maybe even an improvement from the rigorous appearance expectations of generations past, but they may be diminishing our femininity. Plus, what message do you communicate to others (and to yourself) when you only feel the need to look nice when you will see specific people? It seems to me that this whispers the idea that I am “less” on my own; that my value comes through being validated by others. This is clearly a degrading idea when written out on paper, so why do we behave this way? Trading self-care for convenience subtly eliminates our unique feminine aura that make us so different from men.
To remedy this problem, I suggest that we start putting more effort into our looks for the sake of ourselves. I personally struggle with this because I’m a very low-maintenance person. When left to my own devices, my appearance turns into a frizzy, wrinkled mess. I’ve even worn clothes that smelled like mildew because I was too lazy to remove my clothes them from the washing machine in time! This behavior may be suitable for a male college student, but certainly not for a feminine woman. And I definitely don’t want to bring these habits into my future marriage. If you also hope to be married, realize that marriage won’t change you into a new person with new habits. That is why we must improve ourselves now.
If you live in a cold climate, winter is the perfect time to put some self-care into practice. I’ve started to regularly exfoliating my skin by making homemade sugar scrub with three ingredients: granulated sugar, essential oil (lavender works great), and an oil, such as olive or coconut. I’m actually killing two birds with one stone because the scrub is a handy way to use up the refined sugar I’m trying to cut out of my diet. Another habit to pick up in the dead of winter when there’s nothing going on is to draw a relaxing, hot bath. Add Epsom salts and essential oils to your bath water to detoxify and relax. If you’re really feeling motivated, light some candles and put some music on. After a few nights of treating yourself to these mini spa sessions, the week won’t seem normal without them!
So what I’ve learned from this experiment in self-care for the sake of self-care is that when you treat yourself poorly when you’re alone, it really does affect your outlook. Taking time to treat yourself well can very possibly “change your life,” because even though others may not notice, you will know that you’re wearing underwear that matches your bra, that your cuticles are trimmed and moisturized, that your hair is regularly trimmed, and that you floss your teeth everyday — and consequently have excellent gum health. Even small changes can boost your confidence levels. And we all know how attractive confidence is in men and women.
Maybe you think you are too busy to add self-care to your schedule. Well, we are all busy, but after considering the changes that can happen in your life, why not make time to do things like have your nails done (or do your own manicure), keep your ends trimmed, and perhaps re-work your budget to get an occasional massage? (The benefits of massage are well-documented, by the way. We also wrote about massage techniques before.)
After implementing some new habits into your life, you may start to notice that you are becoming a softer, more gentle person. As you treat your body and mind gently, you may in-turn treat the world more gently. This has a profound effect on the way that people react to you. For example, treating
men with genuine respect may result in men, if they are worth their salt, showing appropriate affection toward you!
Speaking of the way you treat your mind, intentional self-care cannot be limited to our physical bodies. We must also care for our minds and spirits. The Bible instructs us to guard our hearts with all vigilance, for from them flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). Our brains are constantly processing information from the media, TV, movies, friendships, relationships, and basically everything we’re exposed to.
Consider also this passage:
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8
We must be the guardians of our hearts, and the way we do that is by carefully choosing what we allow into our minds. In addition to the information we consume, we also must be conscious of what we say. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Perverse speech can break the spirit. (Yes, more Bible verses – they just pop into my mind!) Dwell on what is true, and speak what is true in love. This will profit our overall health. Humans are made of mind, body, and spirit – and good health means that all three of these components work together harmoniously.
To bring all of this information to a point: femininity is about having a spirit of openness. When we “tie up the loose ends” of our personal care routine, we become more confident and open to receive from others. As our insecurities start to diminish, we can love others well through vulnerability. So slow down and introduce some tender love and care into your life. As they say, to love others you must first love yourself.