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On Beauty, an essay

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Let’s Actually Talk About Beauty – what it is and what it isn’t

What is beauty? Is it an opinion, a mind-set, a temporary feeling? Is beauty simply “in the eye of the beholder” and not at all inherent to the “beheld” subject? Philosophical ponderings aside, beauty just is. It’s a state of being – an “is-ness” we naturally embody. Beauty is not a concept, an opinion, or even an adjective. Beauty does not reside merely in the eye of the beholder – what resides there is someone’s opinion. Dare I say we’ve gone way off track with how we define beauty and it’s time to course-correct.

 

It’s Time to Dispel the Beauty Myth

Beauty has been corrupted and we’ve been deluded into thinking that being beautiful is only for certain people, or that beauty is attainable through external means. And, I’m the perfect poster child for this kind of manipulation. I’ve spent most of my life comparing myself to the images in fashion magazines and trying to fit into a fabricated construct of beautiful. Whether it was by taming my wildly curly hair to look more like the other girls at school, tweezing my eyebrows to a wisp (yep, the 90’s were cruel), or by restricting my diet in an attempt to rapidly shrink my post-partum waistline, I experienced the notion of being beautiful as something to work toward and not something I inherently possessed.

 

Being Beautiful – a paradigm shift

Beauty is a natural state of being. Yet, we’ve been conditioned to define beauty as something we aspire to, and that we must chase it to become it. Beauty brands large and small echo the sentiment that we must do certain things (like buy their products) so we can have a certain look (translation: fit in) and then we will be beautiful (i.e. accepted). In service of their bottom line, our relationship to our beauty has suffered. This backwards approach to fulfillment (doing something to have something to then be something) creates a constant cycle of dissatisfaction. It keeps us in consumption mode, thinking we can buy our way to being beautiful. However, something amazing happens when we shift our understanding of beauty to a “being-doing-having” approach. By being in our beauty we start doing things from an empowered place that bring true joy and fulfillment, and having that which we seek. It’s a paradigm shift that works in all areas of life, especially well in the context of experiencing our own beauty.

 

Beauty is Our Birthright

Beauty is not something we can go out and get and it certainly does not exist in a bottle, jar, or tube. Beauty has never been “out there.” The truth is, beauty has been within us all along – accessible to everyone. Being in our beauty can be such a joyful and nurturing experience, and there are many ways we can feel our beauty more deeply and tools that connect us to this delightful place. So let’s reclaim the words “beauty” and “beautiful” from all those commercials and magazine ads that obscure our very personal experience of beauty with their mass ideology. Let’s heal from all the damaging self-talk, the insidious ad-speak, and all the misguided definitions of beauty. It’s time to shed our masks, the layers of shame, and any of the labels society has adhered to our bodies, our faces, and our beings. It’s time to embrace our truth and take back our beauty.

 

So, tell me do you agree? Disagree? I'd love to continue this conversation in the comments! As always, thank you for reading. xo

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