One thing I've come to learn in all of my soul searching over the past year or so is that comparison to others is a quick way to ruin your own life. For me, I've struggled most with comparison when it comes to my appearance. Our culture is the most connected and consumptive of its kind, and because of this, we're constantly inundated with visuals of society's idea of the perfect woman. And, she feels more accessible than ever thanks mostly to social media. We've created a very narrow box for what beauty can mean in our society, and most of us don't quite fit the bill. There is nothing wrong with this type of beauty, however there is everything wrong with rejecting other types of beauty in favor of this particular mold. It breeds a comparison culture, and a culture of self-hatred and shame. We spend hours upon hours each day working to achieve an ideal that we may never reach, berating what makes us different, and putting ourselves down. At least, I know that I have, and sometimes still do.
I'm ready to break free of the need to compare myself to others. I'm ready to kick any and all body image garbage to the curb.
Caroline suggested that I take some time to re-write what I've told myself for years is beautiful, mostly influenced by my ideas of what society thinks is beauty. So, I'm writing a new 'manifesto' for what beauty really means to me.
Here we go.
The Blissed-Up Beauty Manifesto
Beauty is not just a symmetrical face, free of lines and wrinkles, an unobtrusive nose, a pinned back pair of ears, a slightly defined but not too defined chin, and eyes that are perfectly shaped with lashes that flap like fans.
It is a contagious smile, an inner light that shines out for others to see in the glimmer of an eye. It's creases and laugh lines and sun burn, the things that we gain from the experiences we have. It's the differences that make us who we are: our grandmother's noses, our father's lips, our mother's cheek bones.
Beauty is not just a perfectly sculpted body, all jagged and angles and bones, with long legs and a size zero waist, a flat stomach, and just enough muscle definition without appearing bulky.
It's a body that shows up with confidence, wherever it goes. It's a softness and warmth, smooth lines rather than angular, inviting to the touch. The kind of softness that implies youth even when youth is gone. It's well cared for and loved. Beauty is a body that is miraculous and strong- it does things both great and small to propel us forward in life, to help us to fulfill our greatest desires and to help others, too. It is the fact that our bodies are ever adapting and changing to meet our needs, our greatest champion and supporter. That our body works as life's vehicle for our dreams and our destiny.
Beauty is a feeling. It's an aura of self-love, a look directly into the eye. It's a proud display of the inner soul and the outer being, a welcoming gesture, an inviting posture. It's a glow that you can feel, an energy that pulls you in. It's kindness, it's joy, it's connection. It's in our propensity to show up and honor ourselves and those around us.
Beauty is in our uniqueness, the little things that one day will be irreplaceable to someone else but for today are yours and yours alone.
Beauty exists in all of us, and once we learn to celebrate what's beautiful about ourselves instead of criticizing what we think needs to change, that beauty will radiate for all to see.