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What is beauty?

2014-02-11 14:25:19

Published on 2014-02-11 14:25:19

Lately I’ve been thinking about what is meant by the word beauty. The dictionary definitions are, for the most part, focussed on physical beauty:

“A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight”

“A beautiful or pleasing thing or person”

I did, however, find one definition that recognises beauty isn’t necessarily visual:

“A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect”

As a society we’ve long associated beauty with what is aesthetically pleasing, forgetting that it isn’t just physical.

In the same way that a woman’s worth in today’s society is often defined by appearance, so ironically is the definition of the word beauty.

Yet if society were to embrace a fuller definition of beauty, perhaps we would start valuing people for qualities such as their personality and skills.

In a world where the definition of beauty is narrow, it can be difficult to appreciate your own beauty. So how can you feel beautiful?

“You do not become beautiful by trying to be beautiful, but by finding the beauty that is already within you, and allowing that beauty to emerge.”

The truth is that when you start to actively seek beauty in the fullest sense of the word, you will find it.

Find beauty in everyone and everything around you

This requires you to suspend your judgemental thoughts about appearance. Rather than seeing people or things as beautiful or as ugly, find beauty in everyone and everything.

When you find yourself having a judgemental thought such as “She’s fat” or “I look better than she does.” Drop the judgement and say “There is beauty in everything; there is beauty everywhere.”

Find beauty in yourself

The perception of beauty from a physical viewpoint is subject to society’s outlook. However, beauty can be found in a person’s thoughts, words, skills, personality, behaviour, etc.  

Consider your answers to these questions:

What traits do you possess that make others love and respect you? 

What are you good at? What skills do others seek you out for?

What causes do you believe in and how do you support them? What benefit does that bring to others?

What do you love to do that brings you alive? What makes you smile?

What are the values that you hold dear? How do they play out in your day to day life?

What is beauty?

Who do you hold dearest in your life and how do you show them your love?

Your answers to these types of questions are the things that make you beautiful, deep down. When you define beauty in terms of looks alone you deny the wonderful and unique person that you are.

Discover beauty in what your body does for you

Negative body image is characterised by lack of gratitude towards your body and yourself. Make a habit of being grateful for what your body does for you:

Each night think about how it has served you. What has it allowed you to do? Dance? Exercise? Move from place to place? Our bodies are what allow us to experience and interact with the world – without them we would have no container for interacting with our environment.

Don’t believe the narrow definition of beauty sold to you by the media. To confine beauty to purely physical properties means missing out on the great beauty that is all around us if we only seek it out.

I think that F Scott Fitzgerald puts it beautifully:

“She was beautiful, not like those girls in magazines. She was beautiful for the way she thought. She was beautiful for that sparkle in her eye when she spoke about something she loved. She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile even when she was sad. No, she was not beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.” 

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