We live in a culture that is obsessed with physical beauty.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid being bombarded with messages telling us that we don’t measure up to a very narrow standard of what we ought to look like. Because of that fact, we’ve created a society suffering from a bad case of collective low self-esteem.
Corporations have jumped at the chance to sell us a million different products that promise to save us from ugliness and the media’s in on the game too. Magazine covers, news stories and talk shows all scream at us with stories about how we can lose weight, tighten up sagging skin, grow our hair on our head, stop growing hair on our faces, cure zits, attract a man, attract a woman, make our butts rounder and our lips plumper. There’s even a prescription drug that’s supposed to make your eyelashes thicker. And you know what? All of this nonsense isn’t going to fix anything.
Most of what we think is beautiful is simply an illusion; easily obtained by anyone. It’s like wearing a costume. Grow the hair, get the tan, tone the muscles, stick on the eyelashes, slick on the lipstick and add some boobs (if you’re a woman) and you’ve basically got it.
Except, those props aren’t the real beauty. They’re just the accessories.
When I was in middle school, I was bullied and made to believe that I was a hideously deformed freak (I wasn’t), and every night I’d pray before I went to bed for God to please, please make me pretty. I believed that if I were pretty that all my problems would be solved. I thought beauty was the key to love and acceptance and that being beautiful was a guarantee against heartbreak and loneliness.
It seems that many people, of all ages, still believe this. I think that our fears of not being loved, not being wanted, not belonging and being scared are what’s at the root of our culture’s vicious beauty obsession.
Being beautiful isn’t going to fix anything. Beauty isn’t an insurance policy against tragedy. If you were to ask some of the most beautiful women who ever lived, they’d agree. Look at Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor. How about Jackie Kennedy? For goodness sakes, even Halle Berry got cheated on!
Seriously, someone cheated on Halle Berry. Let that sink in for a second.
But don’t get me wrong. Beauty is a worthy aspiration and there is no virtue whatsoever in eschewing good looks or those perceived to have them. Just don’t desire beauty for the wrong reasons. Be beautiful because beauty is the highest expression of our physical selves. Seek beauty as a reflection of the divine that radiates from us all. Those are the right reasons.
You want to know how to be beautiful? Here’s how it’s done:
You have to understand that beauty is something you already have.
Beauty is accessible to every single human being alive. It’s not something set aside for the wealthy or the famous or the skinny. If you constantly strive for beauty you are coming from a place of lack instead of a place of abundance and with that mindset, you will never see yourself as beautiful enough. I can’t even count the insanely gorgeous women I know who see only their flaws and are blind to how pretty they truly are. Stop chasing beauty. You’ve got it right now.
Beauty is good health.
Evolution has trained us to find healthiness attractive and that makes a lot of sense, so if you want to be beautiful, be healthy first and that doesn’t mean starving to death, burning your skin or poisoning your body with alcohol, smoke and processed foods. Live pure to be pretty.
Give yourself permission to sleep.
So many of us are exhausted and burnt out and we feel guilty if we take time to rest. Rest is essential to our well-being and must be prioritized. When we are over-tired we can’t look or feel our best.
There is no end to the benefits of exercise and you know them all: muscle tone, stress relief, color in your skin. All of these things make you more beautiful, so get moving. I happen to think I am at my most gorgeous at the end of a hot yoga class when my hair’s gone wild from the humidity and my cheeks are rosy from the heat and exertion.
I swear this stuff is a miracle substance sent down to us from the goddess of beauty. I use it as moisturizer and hair conditioner. You can shave with it and it works better than any lip balm. Plus, you can cook with it. Some people even say that eating it will help you lose weight.
Don’t mess with yourself too much.
You don’t need 13 different hair products and a tackle box full of makeup. Keep it simple. So many people feel badly about their looks so they use style to hide how they truly look. Makeup, clothing and hair aren’t a costume to cover you. Use these things with a lighthearted spirit of fun to enhance who you truly are, not as a mask.
You don’t need that Botox.
Come on, do you really think injecting deadly poison into your face is a good idea? That stuff is bad energy and it’ll make you look like Cruella Deville. If you’re going to spend money on a cosmetic procedure, the first place you should go is to the dentist. Good oral health is a sign of your overall health and nothing will boost your appearance or your self-esteem more than a beautiful smile.
Be kind. Be calm. Be compassionate and sincere.
Negativity is beauty’s enemy. My grandmother always told me that pretty is as pretty does and that old saying is right. Nothing’s uglier than fear, hate, bitterness, anxiety, cruelty or lies. Do whatever you must to banish these things from your experience.
Joy is radiant.
Stop obsessing over your size, your nose, your belly pooch and start doing the inner work.
What do you need to be happy? How can you follow your bliss? When you are happy you exude light and laughter. Others will be drawn to your good energy.
You won’t just look beautiful, you will be beautiful.
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Assist Ed: Melissa Petty/Ed: Sara Crolick