“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is an old-fashioned saying that sounds simple enough to understand, but difficult to appreciate without feeling external pressure on one’s appearance. Most of the time, just like this saying points to, the way we see our own beauty is through another’s eyes, the one beholding us. In a way, most of the time, we give our power over to another to judge our looks, our body, our physical appearance by another – rather than ourselves.
All the world over, women look to form their ideas around beauty by looking at others, holding them up as beautiful, and then striving to look like them. Unfortunately, the standards we uphold are often unrealistic and not even attainable. Most of these images are air brushed to perfection. Something that always sets up someone to fail, as perfection does not exist. However, to be one’s best self in the eye of her own self is not even considered as we are always looking to the other for validation and admiration of our beauty.
Although it may seem a part and parcel of one’s life – i.e. the idea of how much the other’s eye is on us and is important to us – we are hardly aware of it at all. We wake up, work out, eat right, dress up, and make ourselves up to fit into what society and the other deems acceptable. It is very difficult to actually sit down and think about whether we want to do any of these things for ourselves – not just for the beholder. We are taught to not consider our own eye.
Unfortunately, this leads to undue pressure on ourselves – often pressure we simply live with and acclimate to each day of our lives. Stepping out of these expectations is a novel idea. To live one’s life looking upon our beauty from our own eye is a radical concept. To consider our appearance, our bodies, and how we care for ourselves along what expresses our own truth and makes ourselves happy is novel.
Yet, in undoing and letting go of other’s ideals of what is beautiful is a bold first step to living a life true to ourselves. First, think intentionally about your own appearance. What do you love about your body, your face, your hair, and any other features you want to focus on? How does your love of these parts of your body make you feel? Perhaps you want to accent them and focus on these parts of your beautiful self. And it may not be in the ways that society says you should embrace them. Let’s say you love your eyes. You can choose to do them up or go natural. Which way makes you feel beautiful?
Being able to look at beauty standards around the world and then intuitively think through what feels right to you is the important next step to define your own beautiful standards. Living out the truth of your own beauty is what we are then called to do to feel good, look good, express confidence in ourselves, and ultimately to embrace our unique beauty.
Beauty begins within and not with the eye of the beholder. Let’s take the brave step to reimagine this phrase in this way and embrace our authentic beauty.