Taking ownership and control of your appearance while loving who you are on the inside. These things are not mutually exclusive.
I got to thinking about this today on the bus ride home. Why do people who put a lot of effort into their appearance do so? Why do some people not at all? Why do some people beat themselves up emotionally about the way they look to a point where it affects how they feel about themselves as a human being? Are people who put a lot of effort into their appearance shallow, or trying to hide themselves?
To address those who are unhappy with their appearance and because of that, don't put effort into it and feel badly about themselves for it - don't! Remember, you have the face God or your plastic surgeon gave you (hey, you never know!) but regardless, every day when you wake up and look in the mirror, that's what you're working with. Period. Wishing won't change it, and what you see in the mirror isn't reflecting the beauty inside of you. I find for myself that no matter what insecurities I might have about my appearance, putting effort into making myself look good reminds me that I'm worth it (to cop a cheesy line from L'Oreal!) and that I'm reflecting the beauty I know I have on the inside, to the outside. There is beauty in everyone, and finding it and expressing it can be a lot simpler than you think.
But this isn't to say that only those who put effort into a more natural look are happy with who they are. Put it this way - no one is born with the knowledge and skills to be a heart surgeon. You have to make a conscious decision to become one, and then apply yourself seriously to becoming one. Just because you weren't born knowing how to be a heart surgeon, does that mean you aren't meant to be one? Of course not! The same principle applies to your personal appearance! If you have dark hair and want to be blonde, do it! If you are pale and want to use self tanners until you're a bronze goddess, do it! If you want to wear a dark smokey eye look every damn day, do it! Just be sure that whatever you are doing to alter your appearance is to enhance the expression and celebration of who you are, not to create a mask or a disguise to hide the true you or pretend to be someone else because you're not happy in your heart.
The power of aesthetics is that you can look inside yourself at who you are and who you want to be, and display that outwardly for the world to see. Next time you look in the mirror, try not to think of who the world wants you to be, or who you wish you could be. Think about who you are, what you love about yourself and what you want to say without words. Then pick up that makeup brush, hair brush, bronzer or box of hair dye - and express it.