Be-YOU-tiful: Defining Beauty

What it beauty? What makes a person beautiful? Who decides what the benchmark for beauty is? These are all questions society struggles with on an universal level.  But every culture, every society, every group has it's own definition which makes defining beauty one of the hardest tasks I've ever encountered.  Beauty is very subjective and we each have our own parameters for what makes someone beautiful, the funny thing is it's not often centred around physical beauty.

I've struggled with this term for most of my life.  I've never had self esteem issues that I wasn't physically attractive, but I've had self confidence issues that maybe I wasn't my best self and that others were better than me.  My friends were skinnier, better at fashion, funnier, had better hair and so on and so on.  And my battles have changed from year to year but they've helped me define Beauty for me.

Here are some of the big triggers of low self confidence for me!

1) I've struggled with having facial hair, not a lot but enough to be noticeable, at a time when I felt like I was the only one (I've since learned that most of us struggle with it, High Five Ladies who share my struggle) I eventually learned about waxing and well my life has never been the same!!

2) I've never been Kate Moss-esque.  I grew up in the height of Kate Moss as the "It" girl supermodel!! So depressing after Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Nikki Taylor who were all more or less built like me, then came Kate Moss, the tine waif like creature and that was the new look.  And she's pretty but for a girl with curves she is not someone to idolize, but she was everywhere, and people wanted her look, so because I was 16 I also wanted her look, not understanding that that look was an impossibility for me.  So I felt bad about myself because I could never been quite skinny enough. But beauty, or magazine beauty has a way of waxing and waning and now we are back to having girls with curves as our ideals.  I wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self that I was fine just as I was.

3) My girlfriends were smaller than me.  I'm tall, I stand 5'8" tall, which isn't the tallest girl around but I was the tallest girl in my social circle, plus as mentioned above I have curves.  Therefore, I was bigger than most of my friends. So add this on top of not being like Kate Moss, which some of my friends were, and you have a compounding issue of self confidence destruction.

4) In my younger years I was very envious, and the traits I was envious of were those of physical beauty.  I envied my friend who could pull off all these neat hair styles regardless of the length of her hair. I was stuck in pony tail mode, with the rare occurrence of a braid.  I envied my friend who had tons of make up and could put on make up like it was no big deal, she knew different tricks and how to high light and contour before that was even something the general population really knew about.  I envied those girls who could wear single digit clothing, while I was stuck in my size 10-12.

5) I have imperfect teeth.  I never got braces as a teenager because an orthodontist told me that I had a gap in my teeth because my teeth were narrow and the braces could pull them together but they would still have a gap somewhere else in my teeth.  Not exactly a selling feature for having a mouth full of metal for two years at the pinnacle of my self esteem development.  So I never pursued it, and I have a gap between my front two teeth.  It's quirky and fun, but when having perfect straight teeth is desirable, well let's just say I have a lot of pictures where I'm smiling with a closed mouth.  I don't mind my gap now but I am still thinking of fixing it with braces. However, I am now at an age where I can afford some dentistry so maybe I will go for it, but it's not going to change who I am.

Those were and are my top five self confidence triggers.  Why is my self confidence important for defining beauty?  Well in my opinion, whenever I focused on my deficits, as I saw them, in any of those five areas, were the times I didn't feel beautiful, but when I accepted myself, with those "flaws" then I did feel beautiful.  See?

For me beauty isn't so much the physical attributes, they help, but your self confidence is what pulls the package together.  When I would focus on my flaws, I noticed more people noticed them, but when I would accept them and have a devil may care attitude about them I didn't notice people noticing the little things, I noticed them noticing ME.

So here is my definition of beauty.  Beauty is a fluid and subjective concept that takes attributes from physical and abstract concepts to create an ideal for the beholder.  One person's beautiful will be another person's ugly, but at the end of the day Beauty is about being YOU, being what you want the world to see and owning that part of you! At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you please everyone, it MATTERS that you accept yourself and that the people who care about you the most accept you for you!  Beauty is a whole package, it's not just the looks, but if the inside is incongruent with the outside it won't matter what the outside looks like.

What is your definition of Beauty?

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