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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
I’m sure many of us have heard this. Unfortunately, many people and influences in our lives have changed the meaning of this quote. We see our beauty coming from the outside and believe others judge us from our society-created definition of physical beauty.
Every day, we are hammered with ideas of beauty from advertisements, colleagues, friends, family, and more. Most of these ideas focus on external beauty, ignoring internal beauty.
Advertisements portray the socially-constructed external beauty, promising beauty that brings happiness with it. They imply using their products will create a life as amazing as the photo-shopped model who smiles and laughs for thirty seconds.
People we interact with talk about diets, exercise, and celebrities, all in the name of beauty. In fact, people use most of this talk to put themselves down, analyzing their imperfections.
“I just started this new diet–it’s about time I get rid of these last ten pounds!”
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“My hair is so weak and flat… What do you use for your hair?”
These comments are often followed by affirmations from others.
“But you’re beautiful just the way you are. I need to get these blemishes off my skin.”
Instead of talking about who we are or what we love, conversations can turn into self-bashing.
With all of this surrounding us daily, it can be highly difficult to determine what beauty is. We often just think about external beauty, analyzing any fault and doing whatever we can to ‘fix’ it.
At what cost does this external beauty come? Think about the time you spend analyzing your body, beating yourself up over imperfections, or even going to extreme measures to fix them. What could you have been doing instead? Could you have been living and loving life, instead of disliking yourself?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, beauty is “the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.” Even the dictionary does not focus only on external beauty.
My personal definition of beauty relies more on internal beauty. This is the beauty you share with the world every day through what you do and your interactions with people.
Beauty is doing what you can every day to be the type of person you want to be.
It’s about being the type of person you would look up to.
For me, beauty includes sharing body positivity. It means being kind and empathetic towards others. It means taking time for myself to recharge so I am ready to go again the next day. It means having fun and cracking jokes with friends. It means being there to help a friend in need.
Beauty is not perfection. It is not relying on external beauty.
Now back to the quote, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Every person has a different definition of beauty and they look for that beauty around them.
Some, unfortunately, will never be able to get past the external beauty. However, I believe most people see a deeper beauty, a beauty that can only be seen once you get to know someone.
It can be hard to imagine a life without a judgment around external beauty, a life where you can have confidence because of who you are, not because of what you look like.
Yet, think about how this would change life. I’m not suggesting we all disregard fashion, make-up and exercise, but that we see what is driving these forces. Do we enjoy it or is it part of creating an external beauty?
Nurture your internal beauty. Not everyone will see and appreciate it, but those who will are the ones who matter.
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