Yes, everyone IS beautiful.

(Just to warn you: this blog post is longer than my usual post, so please pull up a seat and relax) 🙂

I recently came across a (widely popular) blog post titled, “Not Everyone Is Beautiful“. I admit seeing it challenged me to the core. Being that I am a Body Image Coach and talk a LOT about beauty, the title threw me off but I figured I should give it a chance. As I started reading it, some of what she said resonated with me and caused me to ponder. The truth is, society does own the word “beautiful” and when most people think of the word, they automatically think of “looks” or “physical beauty”.

She went on to talk about the harmful effects of using the word “beautiful” to young girls, saying, ” It sends our young women horrible mixed messages, telling them that everyone is beautiful, and sending them into despair when the boys flock after someone with a thinner waistline and a wider bust.”

Her conclusion is to “let go” of the word beautiful and replace it with words such as “valuable” and “worth loving”.

If I can digress for a minute, let’s look at these lyrics from a song that I love.

You are so beautiful to me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful to me

Such joy and happiness you bring
Such joy and happiness you bring
Like a dream
A guiding light that shines in the night
Heavens gift to me

You are so beautiful to me

(written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher)

and here is the video version with Joe Cocker

 

Somehow singing “You are so valuable…to me” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The thing is, I do agree with what she is saying…. to a point. If we are ONLY talking about looks, I can see how that could be detrimental to someone’s self image. They might think the only thing they have going for them is their outer appearance. It puts a ton of pressure on girls and (and boys) to maintain their youthful beauty. There are many girls trying to attain this unrealistic image of beauty and as a result many of them develop eating disorders.

There ARE more important adjectives to describe someone, especially as we talk to young kids.

I would prefer to tell my daughter she is funny, smart, kind and loving.

However, the times that we DO tell her she is beautiful, she knows what we mean. Why? We have TAUGHT her the meaning of inner beauty.

Yes, we can teach our kids, and children everywhere what being BEAUTIFUL really means. Or at least what it SHOULD mean, aside from looks.

You see my friends, I don’t see this as a black and white issue. I don’t feel we should have to decide to completely let go of the word “beautiful” in our vocabulary, because the truth is, the word isn’t going anywhere.

Our perception of the word “beautiful” and the context in which we use it is TOTALLY UP TO US.

I LOVE when my husband tells me I am beautiful because I realize the depth of his words.  And when a friend of mine tells me she is ugly I counteract with, “No, you are beautiful” and she knows exactly what I mean. She knows that I see the good qualities of her shining through— her warm personality, her funny disposition. She has a special glow about her that is beautiful.

I see her Inner Beauty.

Let’s talk about perception and how it relates to culture. Some cultures see large women as beautiful. Some see fair-skinned women as beautiful. Even in America our perception has changed over time. Just think about Marilyn Monroe.

tobebeautifulmeans

I believe that beauty is our natural state.

I believe that we are an extension of this grand universe, which is amazingly beautiful. I believe that our beauty cannot be taken away because it stems from our soul.

Nobody tells a baby that he/she is ugly (okay, maybe some babies are cuter than others, but still). In general, babies are ALL beautiful in our eyes… we gush over their precious little toes and fingers and wonder at the miracle of life as we stare at their sweet body.

Over time, the child may need dorky looking glasses, or may have buck teeth. He/she may gain weight or be too skinny (according to society). As a grown woman especially after children, she may be wobbly in all the wrong places, loose skin hanging out and boobs drooping to the floor. Men may start to grow “man-boobs”, lose their muscle tone and grow long hairs in their nose.

This is where I disagree with the author. She concludes, “not everyone is beautiful.” I call B.S.

Yes, according to society, not everyone is beautiful based on impossible standards.

However, outer beauty is subjective. The song I mentioned states, “You are so beautiful to me.” TO ME. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks.

And I am not only talking about LOOKS. Do your family and friends see your INNER BEAUTY that was there all along? Do they look past your perfect imperfections to the real, authentic you?

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What if nobody thinks you are beautiful?

Do you know who I think is the MOST IMPORTANT beholder?

YOU.

You are the one who decides your worth, therefore YOU are the one who can decide to see yourself as BEAUTIFUL, warts and all.

I love this quote by actress, Gabby Sidibe who starred in the film, “Precious”.

“One day I decided that I was beautiful. And so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world sees you. What matters is what you see.”

You know why I shared this? As a very obese women, she is not what society would typically deem beautiful.

I did this (decided I am beautiful) and it made a WORLD of difference. I used to HATE how I looked. I compared my body all of the time. It wasn’t until I changed my definition of beauty that I was able to transform my thinking and therefore, cultivate a more positive image of myself.

So this brings me back to my shared concern with the author about talking to kids about being “beautiful” and being careful not to send mixed messages. We do not want them to think beauty is just about looks and that it should be their first priority in life.

So what should we do? Say “That’s it! I’m deleting the word from my vocabulary! NEVER again will I use that damned word “beautiful.”?

NO, that is ludicrous.

I am very proactive by nature. If I see I need to educate, I am compelled to do it. Why don’t we set out to EDUCATE our younger generation (and older too) about what INNER BEAUTY means? We can teach them that it’s okay to use the word “beautiful” if it’s in the right context. And if someone DOES say “You are beautiful” (based on outer appearance), we can learn to accept the compliment with a sincere “thank you” and then right away ALSO remind ourselves of our other positive traits.

I recently posted a video based on a previous blog post titled, “I have a dream”… I ended my piece by saying ” I have a dream that we will ALL be able to say ‘I am beautiful.”

I wasn’t talking about outer beauty. I was talking about seeing our INNER BEAUTY and accepting our WHOLE selves… no matter what we look like.

So, if we are talking about TRUE BEAUTY…. the Inner beauty that we are born with, I say

“Yes, everyone IS beautiful.”

It may not be a popular view. It may not lead me to getting hundreds of blog post “likes”.  But I offer no apology. Let me share a disclaimer:  I do not care one bit if you disagree. Since it IS all about semantics as the aforementioned blogger states,  if you would rather just use the words “valuable” and “worth loving” (though that one is a mouthful) that is fine with me!

(but I secretly still think you are beautiful) 😉

ONE LAST THING!……Since I set out to make this a longer than usual blog post, and because our power went out two days ago and I had time on my hands, I wrote this poem that I wanted to share with you all (because the post isn’t long enough–hee hee)

Enjoy!

beholderisme

___________________________________________________________________________________________

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
do I have permission to feel beautiful
even when the beholder thinks I’m
ugly
fat
not worthy
of love, respect, and desire?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
do I have the freedom to feel beautiful
even when others
compare me
measure me
judge me
for not looking like an airbrushed model of perfection?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
when I look in the mirror
can the beholder be the one staring back
whose journey was fraught with
body loathing
punishment
and shame
exasperated by the voice inside who said
to be beautiful is to be
skinny as a pencil?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and I am the the one beholding,
like a diamond in the rough
I may only see the hard outer edges,
worn by life’s pounding
yet when chiseled away
reflects a beautiful, sparkling diamond.

There, inside the depths of my soul
lies true beauty;
beneath the hardened edges of life
shining it’s light from within.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and the beholder is me.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Love and Blessings,

Kellie
Certified Health Coach/Body Image Coach
www.nourishedandnew.com

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12 thoughts on “Yes, everyone IS beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much for following my blog and for your kind words. I hope you will find something beautiful about yourself! If you need additional support, please check out my book, Beautiful Freedom. 🙂

  1. Speaking strictly as a woman who grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I was taught as a child by society that my mind had no value and that I needed to depend on good looks. Fortunately, my Mom and Dad taught me my mind had value – and even when girls called me “ugly” I had something to be proud of. We all have inner beauty of some kind – looks, intelligence, empathy, the ability to inspire. We are the ones who give ourselves value. We all have a talent that can improve the world. I am sharing this post on social media.

  2. I look in the mirror and see more wrinkles than last year and sagging skin that urges me to grab it (gently) — pulling it back to its original tautness. (“There. That looks a lot better.”) I’m thankful my insides feel young, and that’s what I try to focus more on.

  3. Kellie- this is so great! I agree absolutely and I love how you are teaching your daughter what BEAUTY truly is- what a different that will make for here- and those around her ! I can relate to your transformation around loving what you see- and yes, it IS a decision…when we change our thoughts we have os much power to SEE in a whole new light- thanks for the beautiful reminders 🙂

  4. I think it’s important to tell girls they are beautiful (inside and out) when they are young – as well as smart, clever, kind, generous, talented. My mum was very much into feminism when I was growing up and I think she tried to dismiss the idea that women needed to be attractive to be valued – and focussed instead on intelligence and hard work (trying to compete in a man’s world as a man almost). That didn’t work for me, as I felt I wasn’t told I was beautiful because I wasn’t – the feminist ideals my mum aspired to didn’t work in isolation from society and were too complex for a young mind to understand. My take away point as a mum now is to make sure my two girls know they are beautiful so that they are confident physically (because let’s face it, human bodies are beautiful whatever shape/size/colour) AND that they are valued because of other traits and achievements. I hope that makes sense!!

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