Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder


Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

“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.

Treat Yourself

It’s the first Monday of February Nothing is really special today. I woke up to realize it is still winter. Still gloomy. Still rainy. We are in a Leap Year, so February offers us 29 days this year – still short by a full day. February always feels short and sweet to me, but it is indeed regular time.

So, why would today or this week be one where you would treat yourself?

Well, exactly for this reason! Life is not offering up a particular holiday to celebrate, spring is still a ways off, and a month of 2020 has already slipped away. To capture the day and the moments in these ordinary days, it is important to make them memorable in your own way. Treating yourself is good for the soul on days like this.

What is a treat? I actually looked up images for treats and all it showed me was Halloween Tricks and Treats – what? Is that all American society thinks about when we hear the word treat?

For me, a treat is anything that I look forward to –perhaps it is that special coffee drink that you indulge in occasionally, or a piece of your favorite chocolate, perhaps it’s giving and receiving a foot massage, maybe you are going to whip up something delicious or – better yet- eat something sweet and rich.

A treat is something – big or small, can takes a lot of time or mere moments – but it is something special fo you to indulge in right in this moment.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and treat yourself! (No tricks needed!)

Who Are You Living For Anyway?

Life Your Way

I often hear people say they are living life for others. It’s so common that people say it without even giving it a second thought. It’s also something people say in plain, clear language:

  • It’s the kids I live for.
  • It’s work that gives my whole life meaning.
  • My spouse/partner makes my life worthwhile.
  • My parents need me.

It’s so common in American society — and actually this is true in most parts of the world – to live for anyone but yourself.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I live life for me.”

If you have, what was your first thought? I can think of many first thoughts in response to this little phrase, including:

  • Gee, that’s selfish.
  • How does he do that?
  • What’s wrong with him?
  • How shallow – no wonder he is alone.

Somewhere along the way living life for ourselves in our unique way became a problem for most people. Perhaps it was our parents who taught us and modeled for us being responsible and adjusting ourselves to please others? Perhaps it is easier to give one’s life over to some outside force, such as work, to not have to make decisions about one’s life? Perhaps we have experience with handing our power over to our partners and living for them rather than ourselves?

There are any number of reasons we live for everyone else and thing rather than ourselves. To put ourselves first is risky as we may be seen as selfish and unable to handle the responsibility called life.

So, how do we live for ourselves while also not being seen as “bad” or a “lone wolf?” Well, it’s all about you. We can never control how another will think of us, but we can control how we think of ourselves. Living life for you doesn’t mean you are selfish, but rather that you are embracing the highest form of you to contribute to the world, your community, and relationships. By being true to yourself, you aid the world in moving one step closer to authenticity. You also serve as a role model for others who are striving to do the same, i.e. to live an authentic life.

It is all in how we frame it for ourselves. Next time we are asked what or who we are living for, pause for a moment before you reply.

Who are you living for today?