How to Overcome Filters in Everyday Life.

We’ve all used the magic wand of photoshop. I mean –  who doesn’t love a little bit of magic? But, the problem with this is that magic seems real. So, how is the magic of photoshop affecting our sense of reality? 

As we scroll through social media, we see hashtags such as #bodygoals and #glowingskin under photos that give us the impression of perfection. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having goals or glowing skin. But goals are based on thoughts and beliefs. And thoughts and beliefs are heavily controlled by culture (Scheel, Ph.D., 2014)). So, aiming to attain the “perfect body” or “perfect skin” is not really the same as pursuing a goal. A goal is something attainable, something you can work towards, and something you believe in. A belief is the acceptance that something is true or that it exists (Castelfranchi, 2007). However, perfection does not exist even though we are conditioned by culture and media to believe that indeed, it does (Scheel, Ph.D., 2014). If something does not exist, you can not work towards it, and believing in it is misaligned with what is possible. Fortunately, perfection being the same as beauty is not everyone’s reality. 

For example, take aging. In the West, signs of aging are largely seen as imperfections. However, in some Japanese aesthetic traditions, the beauty of something is cherished precisely because of its evanescence or ability to age – its naturalness. “Hence, the favorite symbols for beauty like the falling cherry blossoms, mist, rain, snow, and wind; autumn leaves and other materials especially signify the effects of aging but also convey great beauty. More simply, the change and impermanence of many of our everyday objects and activities, does not necessarily detract from their aesthetic value; they can instead enhance it” (Saito, 2001).


Photo: Getty images/istockphoto

Given that, if imperfections are natural – if aging is natural, why can’t it be seen as something beautiful? Beliefs are the reason. Beauty is what you believe to be beautiful. But, we have seen time and time again that society assigns those beliefs for us.  We have to find ways to overcome damaging beliefs and create our own ideas around beauty. 


1. Try not to expect looking filtered in real life.

Filters are not reality, and it’s best when they’re not a part of our own beauty standards. Like magic, even though filters may look real they are not. It’s wonderful to enhance aspects of ourselves, but we must ultimately believe in the beauty of our naturalness. We don’t have to aspire towards looking filtered in real life. 


2. Understand the difference between image and reflection

In society, sometimes we have to present a certain way or adhere to specific aesthetic standards. And in some ways, we have to filter our behavior and our features to adhere to a specific image. But, just because who we naturally and truly are doesn’t align with the image we are expected to sometimes portray, doesn’t mean that we are not naturally beautiful. Of course, we have to maintain our values and personal integrity, but just because we’re adjusting our behavior to an environment doesn’t necessarily mean we’re “trying hard.” You are not an imposter, and know that you hold beauty in every setting. The beauty of your reflection, who you truly are, never goes away.


3. Know That Everyone Is Different, and That’s Okay.

We don’t need to look alike or adhere to such rigid beliefs around beauty. Beauty is adaptable. That’s why people around the world have so many different beliefs about it. Beauty, in and of itself, is a flexible concept. Remember, that perfection is rigid, and beauty is not. Conceptually, the two aren’t very related. So, we don’t have to filter ourselves just because our image doesn’t seem perfect. Truthfully, during everyday life, we don’t have “seem” like anything but ourselves. 


Castelfranchi, Cristiano. Paglieri, Fabio.Vol. 155, No. 2, Knowledge, Rationality & Action. Changing Minds: The Role of Beliefs in Cognitive Dynamics (Mar., 2007).

Saito, Yuriko. Everyday Aesthetics. Philosophy and Literature. John Hopkin University Press. 2001.

Scheel, Judy. Culture Dictates the Standard of Beauty. Psychology Today. 2014.

Coverphoto cred: istockphotos