Redefining what it means to be beautiful

Who is the most beautiful person you know? Think about it. Picture someone in your head. Now think about what makes them beautiful. Is it their eyes, their smile, their long legs, or slim waist? What is it that defines what is beautiful or what the most appealing body shape is? The truth is, there really shouldn’t be a finite definition of what is beautiful. As women, we are constantly bombarded with ads, fashion spreads, and even social media posts that idealize a certain type of figure for a woman’s body. As a result, a whole culture and lifestyle has emerged of women who will do anything and everything to transform themselves into that ideal.

As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am of the mind that all women are beautiful. People come in all shapes and sizes and there is beauty in every one. That’s the wonderful thing about the human body, there is no one right answer. Every combination of eye color, hair color, skin tone, and figure has its own unique beauty and value. Who wants to be the same as everyone else? Instead of trying to conform, as women we should try to celebrate each other’s individual beauty. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of being different, find something you love about yourself and accentuate that. Make what you love about yourself the focus and your whole attitude and outlook will change for the better.

We all have those unique aspects that make us uncomfortable, but its important to embrace them, not hide them. I have a pretty strong jawline for a small girl and for a long time it made my face appear to have a rounder shape. It always made me really uncomfortable — especially seeing images of women with gorgeously slim, almost chiseled faces. For years I tried to hide my jaw with my hair. One day, I was looking through a magazine and saw a picture of a beautiful model and noticed she had a jawline just like mine. In this picture, she was completely owning it and, in fact, showing it off. There was a regal sense of strength to her demeanor that really resonated with me. Once I saw this, I began to notice other women I admired, actresses, public figures, and supermodels who all had this jawline. I started to accept it instead of hide it. Now, I now try to use hairstyles and makeup choices that complement my jawline and face shape, not hide it. Since then, I have had a newfound sense of confidence and comfort in my own skin that was not there before.

There has always been some kind of standard for women to live up to. I recently saw a very interesting video about the ideal body images throughout time. I was shocked to see how much the perceptions of what was attractive and beautiful have changed throughout time. It also showed me how twisted more modern ideals of a women’s figure are. In centuries past, more full-figured women were considered the ideal and curves were celebrated as opposed to discouraged.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being healthy and trying to improve yourself. If there is something you don’t like about yourself that you are motivated to change — go for it! If you want to play and try a new hair color – have at it! What I am saying is that we as women need to be conscious of the fine line between self improvement and self loathing. There is a healthy way to make a difference and feel good about yourself without harming yourself in the process.

Now, I love food too much to ever think of going down this path, but I am continually shocked by the number of women I meet who share with me their struggles with eating disorders, body image, and seeing themselves as beautiful. This really saddens and scares me. I have watched dear friends of mine wither away and just plain starve themselves while others just turn a blind eye. There’s the other side of the coin too with the women who eat normally or even overeat but then exhaust themselves with an overly rigorous workout routine. Once again — a healthy lifestyle is one to aspire to, but all things in moderation. As long as you are healthy and feel good about yourself, there is no need to go overboard to fit into a “perfect” cookie cutter mold.

In looking at the images and representations of ideal figures, what many women, especially women today, do not realize is that many of the “perfect” women we see today have been photoshopped, airbrushed, and styled by professionals who are the best of the best in making people look their best. Now, if we all had a glam squad looking after us every moment of every day we would all look perfect too, but thats not the point! That would take away what is most beautiful about a woman — her unique quirks and qualities.

I have come to believe that there is more beauty in imperfection than there is in perfection. Anyone can trim and nip and spray and pluck and brush their way to perfection. No one else can be exactly what you are when you are fresh faced and fancy free. That is when your inner light can shine through to the world. That is the true definition of beauty.

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