What Overpriced Makeup Taught Me

Written by Sally Cohen

Several months ago, I was hurrying down the streets of Manhattan together with a friend of mine. We were headed back to our dorm to settle down for the evening. It was getting late and we were tired (10 P.M. is way past everyone’s bedtime). On our way back to the dorm, we couldn’t help but notice a small but brightly-lit beauty shop. In spite of the late hour, the boutique was packed with people milling about in every aisle, desperately filling up baskets with eye creams and sparkly lipsticks, almost as if by midnight the products would turn into pumpkins. The conversation between my friend and I faltered for a moment as we slowed our pace to observe the feverish scene in front of us. After walking past several stores and taking some time to regain my equilibrium, my brain found the words to start me on a rant about how ridiculous it is to sell makeup for such exorbitant prices when you can purchase the same quality products for the cost of a cheap lunch meal. I went on about how deceitful it is to take advantage of the poor public who just don’t understand that buying foundation near a plastered blowup of Jennifer Lawrence won’t make them any richer or more famous. My friend, a fellow makeup lover herself, listened to my tirade of makeup injustice, nodding her head at all the right moments and conveying a sense of true understanding of the issues I brought to light. As a marketing student who’s taken full credit courses on marketing ploys, she knows it all. After being validated, my heart rate started to settle down and I felt myself breathing more calmly again. All is right again with the world… But suddenly, my friend hesitantly began to admit that there’s a lipstick she currently has her sights on even though she doesn’t like the color much or even the company that produces it. Stunned, I asked her the obvious: “Why do you want it?” and her response shocked me more than anything else that occurred that night. Color rose to her cheeks as she guiltily confessed, “Because Taylor Swift uses it! I know I only want it because of her. It’s not a wise consumer choice but hey, the marketing experts got me. I want that lipstick because of my favorite celebrity.”

I was floored—I totally didn’t see that one coming! But I wasn’t floored enough to withhold the bigger question growing in my mind… “How could this happen to you?! You know this is a trick. You know they hire a special team of people to catch consumers like us. How can you fall victim to their trap?”

My friend replied honestly, “You’re right. I do know. And I will know it from the second I pull out of my driveway all the way until I walk out of that makeup store, cute little shopping bag in tow.”

Before we start pulling out our gavels and judging my friend’s decision-making skills, let’s take a step back and put things into context here. Is this really such a shocking conversation?! Granted, I tried to be dramatic in recapping the events but might this story ring a vague little bell in the back of our minds? Perhaps one we would much rather ignore?

Let’s be honest; we do this too! And quite often. I’ll prove it: I’m a hardcore psychology major. I live it, I breathe it. I love everything about psychology– I am familiar with many of the techniques therapists use to train their clients how to reduce stress, manage anxiety, and regulate emotions, and I often apply them to my own personal life. But when I have three reports due in two days, I myself am too distracted to process the announcement in my favor that the due date was extended a week. And when I walk up to the front of the classroom to give over my how-to speech, the adrenaline pumps through my veins at speeds that not even my brainy math friends are about to calculate. And when I’m stuck in traffic with the slowest man in town occupying the car right in front of me, I find it extremely challenging to regulate my frustration. And like almost everyone else on earth, sometimes stress, anxiety, and negative emotions get the better of me. It happens! And people watch from the sidelines and comment, “But Sally, you know how to handle this. You’re a psychology student- one who’s teaching me! Don’t you remember: deep breathing, cognitive reframing, acceptance, exposure?”. And the truth is, yes. I do remember, but when I’m in that moment, when my stress is high, my heart’s on edge and I feel like I’m going to break from the pressure, it’s often easy to forget what I know. In fact, I sometimes even forget that I know at all. That I contain the answer within me along with the strength to face adversity in the heat of the moment.

So what did overpriced makeup teach me on that fateful night? Well, don’t allow yourself to be scammed for one, especially when you know the marketing tricks!!! But it also highlights a fundamental idea about the discrepancy between what we know and how we sometimes choose to behave. When we act in maladaptive ways that we know are wrong and conflict with how we know we should, we create a disconnect. That disconnect in of itself causes us to feel anxiety, because we are not functioning in conjunction with our belief system. The imbalance hurts and serves as a wake-up call for us to ask ourselves, “Hey, see what you did there? You knew that was wrong. You know what you need to do. You have the answers. Now trust yourself, and try again.”

Inspirational Message

The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.


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I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
I Tackled a Long List of Fears
When I first came to the Center for Anxiety, my list of anxieties/fears was long! I was scared of getting sick, getting stranded, driving, flying and more. With the help of my therapist, I immediately got to work and tackled every one of my fears. Now the world is open to me and I feel free! I can dream big and accomplish whatever I set my mind to! I am especially grateful that I was able to do all this without having to rely on medication. It was hard work – grueling at times! – but now I have the coping tools within me for life. In fact a family member recently said to me “You are awesome. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to because you don’t let fear stop you! ” Thank you Dr. Rosmarin and the Center for Anxiety staff for helping me get here. My fears no longer limit me and I love my life. Try it, it might turn your life around too!
Highly Skilled and Professional Treatment
When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
No More Panic
When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
Free of Obsessions
When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
Depression Lifted
I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
No More worries
I have wormed in healthcare for 36 years in many different settings, and I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the Center for Anxiety. When staff says they are going to call, I get a call. From the first contact, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency. I had a situation and needed to have sessions more than once per week, and my clinicians worked out a schedule to accommodate my needs. I was astounded that they attended to me so quickly and effectively - they made my priority their priority. My clinicians were also excellent at what they do - they have a plan for me each session, and it's clear that they have thought in advance about each session, and that they are listening to what I say and observing what I do, even though our sessions have been conducted via Telehealth. Compassion is a quality that I have all too often found to be lacking in my experiences as a healthcare professional and patient, and this is not the case with the Center for Anxiety. Of all the websites I found on Google, I am so thankful that God guided my hand to yours.

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