What my less than ‘perfect’ eyebrows taught me about beauty and the Dhamma

Written by Nana Lim
2 mins read
Published on Jul 29, 2022

TLDR: How often do our looks influence our self-perception? With social media becoming increasingly consumed, how does that shape our self worth? Nana reflects on her eyebrows and the Dhamma.

I do not know about you, but I have minimal eyebrows. 

They are so light that it almost appears like I have none.

Eyebrow tattoos?  

At work, my colleagues would constantly tease me about them, and advise me to get an eyebrow tattoo. They often discuss beauty-enhancing measures, such as botox, fat burning, nose jobs, and the list goes on.  

On one occasion, I shared about this work environment with a good friend, and she reminded me to be mindful because I could get swept away by the constant association.

I secretly thought it was ludicrous; my Dhamma roots are strong and going! I will not be swayed by such comments that people make.

Eyelid stickers and the creeping vanity

Recently I learnt about eyelid stickers, which really helped me look prettier (in my humble opinion), and they became my daily use.  

Not long later,  as I was waiting at the MRT station I caught myself searching up eye surgeries for double eyelids! I even began noticing the fine lines across my forehead and debated the use of botox to preserve my youth. 

This was something that has never crossed my mind before, not in all my 29 years of life.  Yet here I was, trying to find a way to beautify myself and prolong it.  

I became self-conscious of each facial imperfection which never bothered me before. 

To stop me from giving in to these desires,  I began observing those who are old;  and I have yet to find an 80-year-old person who retains her youthful looks.  

What I came to realise is, that no matter what products we apply to our faces, or the beauty enhancement procedures we undergo, physical beauty will inevitably fade.  

This experience reminded me of two things the Buddha has taught:

1. Associate not with the fools, but with the wise.  Who we associate with, is also what our mind associates with.  This affects us in a wholesome, or unwholesome manner.

2. Constantly bring to mind, the five daily reflections; one of which is “I am subject to aging.”

After this realisation, my colleagues who talk about beauty products no longer stir my mind to seek beauty. I, instead, try to focus on building my inner beauty. To be unshaken by praise, blame, fame, disrepute, gain, loss, happiness, and sadness.

Wise Steps:

  • Reflect on the people you mix with for they can affect the way you view yourself
  • Recollecting on impermanence and ageing is a great way to overcome unhealthy obsessions with beauty 

Author: Nana Lim

A cat worshipper. Nana is still on the journey of discovering more about life and its surprises. Helping me along the way is mindfulness, voluntary service and reading books of past luminaries. I don’t usually write but when I do, it’s about reflections on life.

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