It is very common for people in our culture to cover up their personal struggles by putting a happy, lovable face on for the world. People do not tend to bare their hardships to others because our society considers it a sign of weakness. This is a tragedy considering that sharing our struggles with others is integral to recovering from them. All too often, rather than working on their problems, people will cover them up with a winning disposition. An outer personality that is covering up a troubled inner life may seem like an easy fix, but the unhealthiness going on below the surface can be purely devastating.
Everyone likes a charming personality. This may come in the form of flirting, having great social skills, being funny or amusing or being memorable in some other positive way. This outer layer of the personality is often what sells a person, but it is also frequently not the most genuine side of a person. People are often aware of how they come across and how important first impressions are, so they will go out of their way to develop an attractive social persona in order to win people over. However, if they are neglecting a mental health problem, past trauma, emotional issue or disorder, this can be destructive to good mental health. Even those who think they are on top of the world because they win people over initially will discover that the truth of who they are comes out the closer they get to another person.
People may use an attractive social personality to cover up anger issues, depression, anxiety or a range of other less popular ways of being than charming. Recovering from these conditions is possible but in order to do so, the outer false layer must be peeled back in order to access the vulnerable parts of the person. A person who is deliberately avoiding this is only hurting themselves.
How often do we hear stories of someone who had a good image discovered to be a messed up person? This is a very frequent occurrence in our culture. We value appearance so highly that we neglect to care for and improve on what is going on beneath the surface. Mental illness and disorders are extremely prevalent in our society, but these conditions will not improve by covering them up with an attractive appearance. Hard work, patience and support are required in order for a person to recover from mental problems.
Our society values appearance very highly. An impressive wardrobe, good hair and skin and a toned body are at the top of everyone’s wish list and people put every ounce of their energy toward achieving it. Sadly, our culture obsessively strives for physical perfection all the while neglecting their internal self and the state of their mental health, leading to situations where people who were thought to be very well put together are actually found to be broken inside. People equate a good appearance with good moral character and mental stability, but outward appearance is a very bad way of determining the strength of these characteristics. Outward appearance is merely the package a person comes in. Their true identity lies beneath the surface of their appearance.
There are any number of mental problems that could be lying beneath the surface of an attractive appearance. Well dressed businessmen may prove to be sociopaths or sexual deviants. The beautiful prom queen may prove to be suicidal. The star athlete may prove to be an alcoholic. Mental disorders and addictions plague every level of society and often strike the people we would lease suspect of struggling because they are physically well put together. However, history proves time and time again that a pretty package does not equate to anything substantial.
The healthy thing to do in life when struggling with an emotional issue of some sort is to seek treatment or psychologically sound recovery from it. However, as we all know, it is very common for people not to pursue a healthy recovery from emotional issues. It is much more likely for a person to run away from their problems than it is for them to confront them and grow as a person. People frequently attempt to bury their issues beneath a pleasing facade. One particular way of attempting to cover up and bury past traumas or hurts is by making one’s self aesthetically pleasing to compensate for what they feel is an ugly inside. Use of a dazzling wardrobe is particularly common in this sense.
An attractive wardrobe has long been a common method of covering up emotional issues. This is because it is human nature to assess a person by their outward appearance, and apparel is an integral part of someone’s appearance. When someone’s wardrobe is disheveled or wrinkled, we judge them to be a sloppy person. But when their wardrobe is pressed and clean we determine them to be impressive and worthwhile. This is partly due to our over exaggerated value on looks and partly due to a valuable instinct we have for categorizing people. Many people find working on their emotional issues too hard, so instead, they compensate for them by dressing in impressive clothes.
Ultimately, this way of thinking is harmful and misguided. When emotional issues are not dealt with, they fester beneath the surface and lead to much larger problems than the initial emotional issue was. Harboring pain, anger or fear is toxic to a person’s mental health the way that doing nothing to heal a disease is toxic to a person’s body. You may be able to cover up a wound with a pretty bandage, but unless it is properly cared for, it will only increase in harmfulness. If you think you can cover up emotional scars by dressing well, you will only hurt yourself.
How many instances have you encountered when you are impressed by a person initially but overtime come to feel that there is something wrong with them? This is common because overcoming mental problems is difficult work, so many people prefer to simply cover up their mental problems with an appealing facade rather than put the necessary work into them. This results in a person who has an appealing outward persona and a dark, disturbed inner life.
One in every five people in North America has a mental disorder or some kind of past trauma they have not confronted. This may include common mental illnesses such as depression and addiction, or it may include a past traumatic event that affected the person’s life deeply. These struggles get buried by the progression of life events to the point that they require psychoanalysis, counseling and personal reevaluation. Many people try to go through life avoiding these challenges to their way of life and perception of the world, and bury their mental problems under a layer of falsities. They strive to charm the people they encounter with their false personality and keep their mental problems a secret. This works until someone draws close to them and sees through the facade they project to the world.
A person who is trying to manipulate others into buying their false personality will even go as far as to use their physical appearance as a means of winning people over. This is where the idea of a person who is beautiful on the outside but not beautiful on the inside comes from. People use their clothing and wardrobe to project an image of esteem and success, and their grooming habits to convince others of their flawlessness, all the while being dysfunctional on the inside. Mental problems only grow and poison a person from the inside out when they are not dealt with, so it is in everyone’s best interest for people to confront them and work at defeating them.