top of page
bel2.png

Are you dying to look good?

How dead are you now?

On Saturday, September 18, 2021, my friend Lynn and I spent a delightful afternoon together, having lunch at a vegan buffet restaurant near Green Lake Park. Lynn served as my interpreter for the day, aiding me as I approached strangers in the park and engaged them in intriguing conversations.

Lynn and I delved into a discussion about the compromises people often make in an effort to appear or be considered "normal," which is an expression of the desire to "look good" and avoid "looking bad." Lynn revealed that her decision to marry and have two children was primarily motivated by a desire to conform to societal expectations and to fulfill what was considered the norm.

Her six-year-old son is dying

 

Lynn expressed, with a touch of sorrow, how her six-year-old son used to dance spontaneously and without inhibition. Recently, however, he has become "shy" and stopped dancing altogether. Perhaps he came to the conclusion that it was "not cool," or he feared others might perceive him as showing off. Maybe he began to worry that others would think his dancing was not "good enough."

Regardless of his specific reasoning, it's apparent that his decision to stop dancing freely and spontaneously was driven by a concern that he might "look good." This change in behavior illustrates a common resisted fear of judgment or societal expectations that suppresses individual expression and joy.

Her son is dying.

How much have you been dying in order to look good?

Pause for a moment to reflect on this idea: the concept of "looking good" isn't confined to appearing favorable in the eyes of others. It also encompasses the desire to meet our own standards and to feel good about ourselves. This multi-faceted view can influence our choices and self-expression in significant ways.

From childhood, we start to grasp the significance of appearing favorable to others, learning lessons such as "It's not wise to make mommy angry" or "Mommy approves when I get A's in school." Gradually, this external concept of "looking good" to parents or others becomes internalized, influencing our personal "standards" what it means to be "a good person." We might come to believe that we are good if we don't procrastinate and bad if we do. We may judge ourselves favorably if we act in a "kind and generous" manner and criticize ourselves if we behave "selfishly" or simply do what we want. This intricate interplay between external validation and self-validation shapes our decisions and the way we see ourselves throughout our lives.

Our identity becomes attached to (or in rebellion against) "looking good"

Regardless of whether parents or others continue to provide feedback on whether you meet their approval, the impact remains. You find yourself internally criticizing or even stifling parts of who you are, carrying on this self-suppression independently. There's a willingness to suppress and deny the innate desire to live with vibrancy and full self-expression, all in an attempt to conform to an internalized standard of looking good and doing what you "should" or "should not" think, feel, or do. This struggle is an ongoing process, where the aim to satisfy internalized expectations overrides the yearning to be authentically yourself.

The domination of "looking good" and "not looking bad" keeps us securely inside the House of Good and Bad (HOGAB). To the degree that we live inside this house we are continually dying as is Lynn's son out of his resisted fear of "looking bad" if he were to continue to dance spontaneously.

Why are many of us terrified of public speaking?

Public speaking, for many, is more frightening than death. Why? Because it presents the greatest chance of "not looking good" in front of the whole "tribe." Our DNA has "learned" (up until ten thousand years ago when we all lived in tribes of fewer than a hundred people) that if you looked bad to the whole tribe, you would likely die (literally).

In all areas of your life, in all your relationships, including most importantly the relationship with yourself, how much are you dying every day in order to look good?

Special note: don't hear that I am advocating no concern about whether you look good or not. I think a looking-good gene is part of our biology, unlike that of the super solitary mole. However, with Now-Next Integrity and Oneself-Others Integrity, you can still be sensitive to "looking good" and, at the same time, take good care of yourself and enjoy full self-expression: let's go dancing in the streets!

In fact, once you recognize that "looking good" is in your genes, then you can have fun by choosing courage to play with things like How You Occur for Others.

To the extent you answer any of the following questions with a "yes," you're dying in order to look good.

Answer each of the following questions with a 0-10 response. An answer of "0" means never. An answer of "10" means "all the time."

 

Begin each of the follow with, "Do I have any issues with..."

Special note: to have an "issue" with something means that it bothers you, you criticize yourself for it, you have a belief or thought that it shouldn't be this way and you could feel defensive if someone else mentions it.

  • dealing with stress or pressure?

  • dealing with worry or anxiety?

  • overwhelm or feeling behind on things?

  • procrastination?

  • lack of persistence?

  • perfectionism?

  • lack of patience with yourself?

  • feeling guilty about what you didn’t do in taking care of yourself?

  • feeling bad when you don’t get what you want?

  • feeling you’re behind on things or feeling you need to catch up with things-

  • the urgent often pushing out the important?

  • not accepting that you are powerless in many circumstances?

  • worrying about your future?

  • not enjoying now and the process?

  • not taking things step by step or trying to do too much at once?

  • developing expectations of yourself which may lead to you being upset with yourself later?

  • not scheduling enough buffer time in your day?

  • over promising with yourself?

  • not having enough time?

  • not having enough money?

  • gambling?

  • not keeping promises to yourself?

  • not giving up when it would be best to give up?

  • being indecisive or confused?

  • lacking life directions or not having life directions you’re happy with?

  • not being happy with your work or career?

  • feeling bored?

  • not making plans (especially daily plans) and following through on those plans?

  • making plans but ending up doing something else?

  • not being happy with what you do and achieve?

  • being lazy or not being ambitious enough?

  • being too ambitious?

  • not enjoying enough good entertainment?

  • not enough holidays, recreation, and breaks?

  • not having a lifestyle that you love?

  • feeling that life is meaningless?

  • not eating well or with eating too much?

  • not taking appropriate or enough supplements?

  • sitting too much and not moving around enough (not enough NEAT: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis)?

  • not enough exercise and keeping fit?

  • breathing through your mouth rather than your nose?

  • not being at a good weight?

  • recurring health issues?

  • not getting enough good sleep and being well rested?

  • not taking enough breaks?

  • not having enough energy?

  • not having resourceful moods?

  • not having sickness insurance (“health” insurance)?

  • drugs, smoking, or alcohol?

  • not creating partnership conversations and attitudes with others (especially when there’s a disagreement)?

  • not being present with others and listening to them deeply?

  • waiting for others to finish talking?

  • over promising to others?

  • not consistently keeping promises to others?

  • not having skills, habits, and attitudes to create and maintain mutually supportive and mutually selfish relationships with others?

  • unresolved conflicts with others?

  • not being complete with others?

  • avoiding addressing conflicts with others?

  • withdrawing from or ghosting others?

  • lack of patience with others?

  • developing expectations of others which may lead to you being upset with them later?

  • fear that others may blame you or not approve of you?

  • feeling that others are obligated to you?

  • feeling that you are obligated to others?

  • not living a life where you’re true to yourself?

  • feeling you’re not good enough?

  • feeling that you’re not smart enough?

  • feeling you’re unloved?

  • feeling not respected?

  • not belonging or with belonging?

  • feeling that you need others too much?

  • feeling another needs you too much?

  • feeling that others don’t listen to you?

  • feeling another/others try to control you too much?

  • trying to control another/others?

  • feeling out of integrity with others?

  • selling or marketing yourself?

  • fear that others will think you’re trying to sell them?

  • not being curious about and learning about how you occur for others?

  • starting conversations?

  • shyness or being reserved?

  • keeping conversations mutually enjoyable?

  • ending conversations?

  • not making requests easily and effectively?

  • others saying “no” to you or possibly rejecting you?

  • you not saying “no” to others easily and effectively?

  • not being honest and open with others?

  • being too open or honest with others?

  • not lying well when it would be best to lie?

  • not easily setting and maintaining good boundaries with others?

  • getting defensive with others?

  • blaming others when they blame you?

  • feeling that life or others are unfair?

  • feeling guilty regarding others;  regrets regarding others?

  • feeling grief or remorse?

  • feeling regret or guilt about something you did or didn’t do in your past?

  • relationships with children or grandchildren, parents, or extended family?

  • relationships with colleagues, bosses, clients, reports, or employees?

  • not having great friendships?

  • starting new relationships?

  • ending relationships?

  • not having enough friends?

  • feeling lonely?

  • not having enough solitude?

  • not having the sex life you want?

  • not having a great boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or significant other?

  • not having great intimacy?

  • not having a great partnership?

  • your relationships with animals (cats, dogs, etc.)?

Assessing how dead you are

About how many of the questions did you answer with "1" or more?

About how many did you answer with "3" or more? With "5" or more?

How many did you answer with "7" or more?

Undying 

The ultimate root of our "looking good" addiction is our belief that we need others' approval, or lack of disapproval, in order to know that we are okay. The fact is that we always have been and always will be okay. We always have been and always will be magnificent.

 

But, in not knowing this or in not believing this, we become addicted to "looking good," both to others and to ourselves. One of the primary keys to breaking outside the domination of "having to look good" is, even while still preferring to look good, we are willing to choose courage in taking the risk of "looking bad" in order to take care of ourselves and to live our life to the fullest.

Using 14:24 to access the resources of AskDwightHow is your key to the step-by-step process of undying.

bottom of page