What Does It Mean To Be Beautiful Anyway
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What Does It Mean To Be Beautiful Anyway

Sometimes we forget to see the beauty in ourselves and the world around us.

What Does It Mean To Be Beautiful Anyway
Dove Real Beauty Campaign

My mother once told me that I would never be one of those skinny girls like the ones you see in the magazines. I concluded then that instead I was destined for a life of mediocrity. I, instead, was overwhelmingly average.

Beauty, noun; A quality or combination of qualities that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is often associated with properties such as harmony of form or color, proportion, authenticity and originality.

Beauty, noun; an attractive quality that gives pleasure to those who experience it or think about it, or a person who has this attractive quality.

Beauty, noun; the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations, a meaningful design or pattern or something else.

Something else.

In my pursuit of the perfect definition of beauty I came to an epiphany. The perfect definition does not exist, in fact no true definition of beauty exists; and how could it possibly? The fact that beauty is indefinable is in-and-of-itself… well… dare I say, beautiful.

Whoever said “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” was right.

Beauty is subjective.

Subjective, adjective; existing in the mind, belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought.

Here are some things that I find beautiful: people, laughter, midnight snacks, Sunday mornings, forehead kisses, deep sighs, cool summer nights, and the stars.

There are multiple applications of the definition of beauty. One is the societal usage.

The societal definition of beauty is twisted and unachievable. The societal definition of beauty is ugly. It’s fad diets shoved down our throats on tabloid covers in supermarket checkout aisles. It’s doctor’s commercials on radio stations promising us lips like Kylie Jenner… for a price. It’s runway models eating a healthy diet of cotton balls soaked in orange juice to maintain their ever-so beautiful figures.

“Beauty does open doors while ugliness has them slammed in its face” (Evening Standard, 1998).

I am five foot five inches, one hundred and fifty pounds, pasty, freckled, with moderate acne, and frizzy hair. This does not make me ugly; it makes me human. Too often we forget that the real world does not have Instagram filters, and we do not get to choose what angle people see us from or the lighting they see us under. And so we choose to hide behind our phones, obsessed with social media, seemingly narcissistic yet filled to the brim with feelings of inadequacy.

Inadequacy, noun; see inadequate.

Inadequate, adjective; ineffectual in response to emotional, social, intellectual, and physical demands in the absence of any obvious mental or physical deficiency.

I asked four of my closest male friends and my boyfriend to describe the physical attributes of their dream girl (yes, I am aware that in doing so I am only feeding into the modern day misnomer that beauty is measured by only the physical aspects of the female anatomy, but do me a favor and bear with me). These are their actual responses:

  • Short, dark brown hair, light brown eyes, thick, big butt, pale skin.
  • Tall, blonde, green eyes, tan, skinny.
  • Emma Watson.
  • Shorter than me, Asian.
  • You.

“When it came to beauty, she was everything he’d ever dreamed of” (E Baker, 1964).

Beauty is subjective.

This is why believing that in order to be beautiful you must be thin or thick, short or tall, brunette or blonde, girly or sporty, have thick or thin eyebrows, have a big butt or big boobs, be tan or pale etc. is, for lack of a better word, stupid.

Stupid, adjective; tediously dull, especially due to a lack of meaning or sense; insane; pointless.

To limit the definition of beauty to people’s physical appearances would be to do the word a great injustice. The most beautiful thing about people is their differences. How some love to bask in the sunshine while others prefer to lie in bed and watch the rainfall; that while some shudder at the sound of thunder rumbling in the distance, others are soothed and count the seconds passing in-between each clap.

Yet another application of the definition of beauty is the environmental usage. That is to say, there is beauty that can be observed in the world around you.

“Such is the breathtaking beauty of autumn foliage, people make special trips to gaze open-mouthed on the leaves turning to russet and crimson” (Independent, 2009)

I believe that spotting a 24 hour McDonalds at 3am as your stomach is rumbling is beautiful. And that there is something about comfortable silence that is heavenly. But in an attempt to define the aforementioned indefinable, I must take more than my own personal opinions into consideration, and so I have compiled a seemingly contradictory list of things that my friends have told me they find beautiful.

Flowers, planets and space, storms, good conversation, tattoos, honesty, youth, potential, silence, sunshine and growing old.

But everything and everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. Each person sees the world differently and therefore some are able to see beauty where others do not. This does not change the fact that the beauty exists, even if we cannot always see it. Perhaps it’s possible that there are those who are destined to see the beauty in everything but themselves, drudging through each day filled with self-hate, taking in the wonders of the world yet hanging their head at the sight of their own reflection.

Rather than letting someone’s beauty go unnoticed, call attention to it, compliment them, beautiful things deserve to be noticed.

“Beauty seen is never lost” (John Whittier, 1919).

Lost, adjective; something or someone that has perished or been destroyed; ruined, esp. morally or spiritually.

When the days seem long and monotonous, simple tasks feel impossible, failure is seemingly inevitable, and you have all but convinced yourself that happiness is not a sustainable condition, Stop.

Close your heavy eye-lids and take a deep breath. Remember one thing that makes you smile.

Pay mind to the little things that went right and the beauty in the average.

Average, noun; a typical amount, rate, degree, etc.; norm.

Beauty is more than just a word; it is something you experience not just what you observe.

Remember the sounds of your coffee percolating, your dog breathing, how you felt when the Brita was full and you discovered there was just enough milk left to put in your already poured bowl of cereal. Remember the smell of your father’s cologne and your mother’s perfume as they held you in their arms. Remember the taste of that first bite of food after a day where you’d eaten nothing at all. Remember the sight of a single balloon floating above you on a warm summer’s day. Remember the feeling of the sun on your skin and a hand interlaced with your own. Remember that life is beautiful, and you, my friend, are lucky enough to be living.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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