Self-care is more than just looking well

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You can’t break glass ceilings looking like you don’t have a roof over your head!

There was a time when I had major self-doubts about my outlook towards grooming. I like people who show up to job interviews, dressed tidily. I like people who make an effort to make an effort for weddings. I started to wonder if that makes me superficial. I am not saying I am always well-groomed because my colleagues will vouch for the fact that while I came all dressed up during the first month of my employment, now my only aim is to show up and not in my PJs.

Having said that, self-grooming isn’t about wearing fancy clothes. It is about showering, keeping your nails clean, brushing your hair and looking tidy. It is about carrying yourself in an elegant manner…or in any manner that doesn’t make people think you live in Zombieland.

After giving it much thought, I realised that self-grooming isn’t about appearances, and hence not superficial. Here’s what it says about you.

IT PROMOTES SELF-LOVE
They say when you take care of things, they last. Which is why, we take care of everything we love, right? You will keep your more expensive and gorgeous Indian clothes, all dry-cleaned, ironed and stored in good packaging. You will keep your jewellery locked in your wardrobe because you don’t want to misplace it. If someone takes care of themselves, it shows a clear love and appreciation of self and life. “The moment you get into the habit of appreciating yourself you’ll no more feel the need for others’ validation,” says psychologist Shravya Kumar.

IT SAYS A PERSON IS DISCIPLINED
As a fellow human, part of this civilisation, I understand how tedious grooming can feel. When you’re so busy with different aspects of your life, you try to save time by skipping self-care activities. Honestly, I am a work in progress and when I see busy people having well-manicured hands ALL THE TIME, I really appreciate their time-management skills. Grooming is an essential part of our lives, and a person who is able to pull it off is bound to be disciplined and amazing at time management.

IT SHOWS A PERSON IS HYGIENIC AND HEALTHY
As I grew older, I became even more conscious about how I treat my body, and my soul. I feel a sense of pride and happiness when I am eating healthy, taking care of myself and basically, giving my soul a rather decent abode. Of course, we love our indulgences too but we need a balance. Grooming yourself externally also has a positive effect on your body and your mental health—and that’s something I love about a person.

IT SHOWS A PERSON IS AMBITIOUS
Do you know what else self-grooming does? It makes you appear more professional and helps you create a good impression. “For me, grooming is also a part or sub-part of the overall personality of an individual, which includes the communication skills that the person comes with. It is about body language—it’s about posture, the way you walk, the way you address someone, shake hands with someone and how you communicate. Your hiring manager may form opinions about you based on these aspects, over and above the skills that you bring to the table. Soft skills are more sought after in today’s world. Grooming isn’t merely about dressing fashionably or looking ‘presentable’, it is a whole lot of things and when it comes to success, your skills should be complemented with good conduct as well,” explains Ashutosh Thatte, the associate vice president of Human Resources at Edelman India.

Glass ceilings are not broken, looking like you need a shower. So if a person pays attention to being a charming cleanliness freak, you know success matters to them.

IT SHOWS A PERSON IS MATURE AND EVOLVING
“Grooming is not just about the external things, it shows how much you have evolved emotionally and mentally, how your perspectives have changed, and how you feel about yourself every day and other people around you,” points out Kumar.

Grooming is all about learning etiquette, being respectful of others, dressing as per occasion and location, and being clean. These aspects are essential for social beings and a groomed person comes across as someone whose head is in the right place, and who has good social skills. It shows they are willing to dedicate time and effort in self-improvement. Having said that, none of this means you have to stick to sexist and stereotypical expectations of self-grooming!

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