09/20/2012 05:31 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2012

You Can Fake Pretty But You Cannot Fake Beautiful

Thousands of dollars in makeup, hair products and skin treatments later, I still don't feel pretty enough. The standard of physical perfection seems to continue getting higher and more unobtainable. Meanwhile, in reality, we are faced with never being skinny enough, tan enough or symmetrical enough. And after my latest look in the mirror criticizing my hair and skin, I realized that this desire to continue improving my physical appearance is an addiction.

The pursuit of pretty is an endless one.

I'm a woman who enjoys fashion, getting dolled up and looking presentable. But the line between the desire to looking put-together and the desire to looking Photoshopped is a blurry one. As I'm getting older (and hopefully a little wiser), I'm realizing more and more that your looks will fade. And, if you base so much of your worth on your outer appearance, then when gravity eventually has its way with you, you won't be feeling very good about yourself. Instead of embracing getting older, we fear it and try to hide it based on our current North American perception of beauty. I've realized that instead of obsessing over another superficial way to increase my attactiveness, perhaps its a better investment to think about how I can become more beautiful on the inside -- which is ten times more attractive than the effect that any facial or eyeliner could ever have.

You can fake pretty. But you cannot fake beautiful.

True beauty radiates from within. The glow, the energy that you exude when you're beautiful on the inside comes from feeling comfortable with yourself, embodying confidence and embracing your self-worth. This beauty only gets better with age. Being pretty, on the other hand, doesn't last and can be faked easily. Through proper grooming, make-up techniques and Instagram filters, anyone can appear pretty. But that pretty package only depreciates over time -- and it's not sustainable.

To the women reading this piece, the next time your inner self-critic takes over when you're looking in the mirror, I challenge you to stop the negative dialogue about your looks. Instead of obsessing over how to become prettier, I encourage you to ask yourself how you can feed your inner beauty. Because when you nourish your soul, educate yourself and live in your essence, you radiate a type of beauty that no model or vixen can compete with. You are beautiful. Remember that.

Amy Chan is a relationship and lifestyle writer. To read more of her blogs, visit