I’m getting married this month.

It’s a big day in our lives, and I want to look my best. I’ve been watching what I eat, I’ve been whitening my teeth by brushing at night with charcoal (yes, it’s a thing, and my entire mouth turns black for a few minutes… not pretty), and I’ve been attempting to get a sun-kissed look on my skin (a combination of natural sun, and bottled sun… I burn easily). I’m busy booking and attending appointments, spending time browsing hair and makeup styles, and talking back and forth with multiple people about how I should look on the big day.

And I’m getting a little tired of it all.

Here’s the thing: my fiancée loves me, for me. He sees me in my sweats and sans-makeup-face more often than being dressy and dolled up, and he still wants to marry me.

As we started planning for the celebration, I began following some websites and social media accounts for tips, and I ended up blocking and cancelling my subscriptions.

What happened to just being yourself? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves for these events? Whether it’s a wedding, or a graduation, or a reunion, or anything – we put heavy expectations on ourselves to “fix” who we already are.

We deprive ourselves of delicious food. We worry about what we’re wearing. We spend unnecessary amounts of money. We compare ourselves to others. And it hurts us by not valuing who we naturally are (oh, and speaking of hurt, don’t even get me started about waxing and plucking those stray lip hairs).

Of course I want to have beautiful photos, and of course I want to feel confident and attractive on our wedding day, but I can do that without beating myself up in the process. Our photos will be more beautiful if I’m feeling and looking like myself, and I’ll be more confident if I’m comfortable.

I want to fight back on the idea of “beauty is pain,” because it’s not. You, as you are, are beautiful, and you shouldn’t have to hurt – physically or emotionally – to achieve it. Beauty is not hard, because it’s easy to be your natural and authentic self.

I’m speaking about all this for this month’s column because it’s current in my life right now, but I also think it’s relevant for many of our lives, at many different stages. The next time you see an article about losing weight specifically for an event, or thinking you need to fix yourself for a superficial reason, remember that the people in your life love you for you. And you should love you for you as well.

“Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s…” yeah, it’s you. You were born with beauty already, and you don’t need any product to tell you otherwise.