What I Learned About Therapy by Googling "How to Apply Lipstick"

Truth be told, I don’t know much about makeup.  I’m not completely inept, but I don’t have a great knowledge base about how to apply my makeup or the different options available.  I rely on Pinterest and YouTube videos to help me learn what I’m supposed to do.  I’m in my late 20’s and honestly, I never really learned about this stuff.  I’ve managed to master a decent look that I can replicate quickly, but when the trends change or I get bored with my go-to’s, I have to do a lot of research.  It all seems so simple, especially when you watch the “how to” video on Sephora’s app, but then I try it at home and I look like a clown. 

But I braved the rows and rows of makeup a few weeks ago when my foundation was getting dangerously low.  I went up and down the displays at the store and eyed all these tools and cosmetics I had no idea how to use.  NO CLUE!  Then I saw this very trendy lipstick in a dark wine color.  Now, I know how to use lipstick even though I don’t wear it often.  I tried it on quickly as the store was about to close and I liked the color, so I bought it.  I decided I wanted to wear it the next day, but I was finding that I couldn’t get it to look right.  Am I supposed to go over the lip line, do I need a liner?  Why is it looking so uneven?  What’s going on with these funky corners?  It’s a pretty dark color and you could see every mistake. 

So there I was, finding myself googling “how to apply lipstick” as a grown woman.  I started wondering if there were even videos about applying lipstick, because I mean, how hard could it be.  Obviously I must be the only person on the planet feeling at a loss about something so simple. 

To my surprise, there are 5,500,000 results that come up when I googled, and 473,000 videos.  Wow!  I’m not the only one.  I started to feel so much better.  As I watched a few of the videos, I learned some cool tricks as I went.  One thing I picked up on from these tutorials is that the instructors started from the beginning with no assumptions about the audience’s knowledge.  They didn’t treat this like it was dumb or so simple that every viewer should just know how to do it.  They took their time to walk through it from the beginning and provided personalized information for different lip shapes or skin tones.  They weren’t afraid to start with the basics. 

I started thinking about this as I was preparing for my clients later that day.  So often people come into therapy ready to heal and longing to move forward quickly.  I get that because people also tend to wait a long time before they actually go to therapy.  I believe one reason is because they think that they are the only one’s dealing with something, they feel alone, they feel stupid when there’s something they should know how to deal or how to deal with that continues to plague them. 

Believe me, I felt ridiculous googling “how to apply lipstick” because it made me feel inferior or inadequate.  We feel like we should only ask for help when it’s something complicated or “important”.  But the truth is we need help and support during our whole journey, even for small things.  I realized how often I start with the basics in therapy, from the way people are breathing and doing exercises around that to how people are taking care of themselves throughout the day.  It seems obvious that we need balance in our lives, but sometimes we need someone to walk us through how to get that balance and keep us accountable for the changes we need to make.  Much of therapy is not overly complicated or sophisticated.  It’s important work and the theories behind it is important, but your issues don’t have to be complex, lifelong, or traumatic for you to find help in therapy. 

Sometimes slowing down and taking a look at something simple can benefit you immensely.  I guarantee, whatever the issue you’re facing is, you’re not alone.  There are other people going through it and you have a right to feel however you feel about it.  I want you to give yourself a permission slip to refocus on something that you’re struggling with this week.  That could be googling it, talking to a friend, reading a book, spending 15 minutes a day reflecting on it, going to a support group, exercising, or picking up the phone and calling a therapist.  Working on the basics can make huge changes in all aspects of your life, so don’t be afraid, don’t feel stupid, don’t let your judgments of yourself get in your way.  Acknowledge that it’s ok to not know everything and it ok to struggle in life (even with putting on your lipstick).  Hold that space for yourself, be compassionate, and now go do something about it. 

P.S. I still haven’t mastered the dark matte lip, but it’s gotten good enough to wear out in public!  And I’ve even gotten a compliment or two : ). 

If you are ready to start in therapy to work on the basics of taking care of yourself, or something more complex, don’t hesitate to give me a call.  I am a Marriage and Family Therapist located in the Clear Lake area of Houston, Tx.  I offer free 20-minute phone consultations to determine if we are a good fit to work together in therapy.  My number is (832) 827-3288 and I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon! 

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