Be Your Own Definition Of Beautiful
“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies how very different our ideals of beauty would be.”- Anonymous
Like most young women, I felt constant pressure to be a certain size or to look a certain way. The message I picked from the media was literally “You need to look perfectly beautiful (the way we define beauty). If not, you are a horrible person, and no one will love you.”
I frequently felt anxiety and shame over this matter.
One day I realized that beauty is more about being present and engaged with your life and the people around you.
Our beauty shines when we love deeply and express that love sincerely. It shines brighter the more we are clear and authentic emotionally.
For example, I have been drawn to people because they do things like…
-Speak about their passions with conviction;
-Find the absurd and hilarious in every day situations;
-Listen with gentleness and compassion to people who are suffering;
-Throw themselves wholeheartedly into a pursuit they love;
-Exercise their intellect to gain more wisdom, understanding, and deeper philosophical insight;
-Admit their failures, shortcomings, and doubts with a simple and unpretentious sincerity;
-Speak out for those being treated unjustly and cruelly;
-Are vulnerable about difficult and potentially embarrassing times in their lives.
Narratives are shoved down our throats on a daily basis. Social norms subconsciously become inherent beliefs, but that is truly all that they are- ideas formed by a group of people. Not the absolute truth. Plus these social norms are pretty fickle. Back in the day western society used to idolise curves, then the trend about a decade ago was being stick thin and pencilled eyebrows. Now it’s curves once again with full lips and thick eyebrows. Imagine if we could live for about 300 years and followed the social trends- all the changes the body would go through. The grandkids wouldn’t recognise you at all.
Unless you enjoy experimenting, it is so ridiculous. Morphing because everyone thinks it’s the way to be or because you think it will get you a partner isn’t really the way forward. It will be fickle again.
It can be hard to ignore and not succumb to such trends, but truth be told, when you feel at your best, and healthy in mind, body and spirit, there will be a radiance that is so magnetic, everything else doesn’t matter.
I remember when I started to experiment with make up as a teenager. My dad sat me down and said to me “you don’t need to wear too much, you have lovely eyes”…and I am very grateful for that because- although I still feel on some days I look tired, I felt comfortable without wearing loads of make up and it has actually done a huge favour to my skin.
Most importantly, and this fact is my favourite…there is a place for you where you naturally will be adored and admired. I remember a few years back, I was speaking to my aunt in India and she was telling me that amongst her group of school friends there was one who wasn’t really acknowledged as beautiful in Indian society. Then one day she met a Japanese man who thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen and really liked her and they got married and she moved abroad. Almost like the ugly duckling story. One society’s standard of beauty differs to another. And one individual’s perception of beauty differs to another.
Another example that I love is related to body hair. In many places across the world, common attitude towards body hair on females is to remove it. In some African countries, body hair is actually found to be extremely attractive. Amazing. Not one or the other is better, it depends what you prefer and what you think is appropriate for the environment that you are navigating through (there is a fine balance between being adaptable and preserving who you are)…. but it is nice to know that you can hop on a plane and somewhere else in the world you in a different state of being can be welcomed. It makes life interesting and diverse.