I have an uncomfortable relationship with beauty. For me, and I think for many women, beauty is a loaded word. As women, we get mixed messages about beauty. If we care too much about our appearance, we are vain, if we don’t care enough, we are lazy. As we age the messages only become harsher. It seems our only path to beauty over 50 is to look young or at least younger. Beauty is sold to us as an external standard in which we are judged. It is about pleasing the eye of the beholder. Often times it seems that beauty puts women into a cycle of seeking whatever we are not in order to be beautiful. The cycle is exhausting and leaves women and girls questioning their beauty and ultimately judging their worth.
Recent global research by Dove demonstrates the uncomfortable relationship women and girls have with beauty:
- Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
- Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable describing themselves as ‘beautiful’
- 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
- 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful, but do not see their own beauty
- More than half of women globally (54%) agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic
In defense of my self-esteem and self-worth, I spent years convincing myself that feeling beautiful was not important. But beauty is a powerful force in the world. Beauty is why we watch sunsets, seek out rainbows and bask in the glow of a full moon. Ladies, it is natural to want feel beautiful, to be beautiful, to be one with the power of beauty. I also believe that when we look in the mirror and don’t see our beauty, we diminish our power. We diminish our power to see ourselves and embrace our reflections. It is powerful to see our wrinkles and appreciate the laughs, tears and smiles that etched the lines into our delicate skin. It is powerful to see the stretch marks and recognize that we brought life into this world. It is powerful to see our true selves and not look away.
I am on the journey of rediscovering my beauty and reclaiming my reflection. Here’s what I have learned so far:
- Beauty is something I can’t define, but we I know it when I see it and when I feel it.
- When it comes to my beauty, I am the beholder.
- Desiring beauty is not about vanity, it’s about seeking our divine.
- It feels amazing to help a woman look in the mirror and love her reflection.
- When I feel beautiful there is no room for shame, guilt or judgment, for myself or others.
- Most of all I have learned that we are all worthy of feeling beautiful.
In the defense of beauty, please join me on the journey. It is a worthy mission to rediscover the power of our beauty and reclaim our reflections. Be part of the new generation of women who know we are worthy of feeling beautiful, who know we are beautiful. Let’s work together to change the world for our daughters. When we see our beauty, we pave the way for them to see theirs.
Aristotle had it right when he said, “Beauty is the gift of God.” Ladies, who are we to deny ourselves the gift?