What Is Beauty? And What's Your Definition of Your Beauty?

I say beauty comes from within - you are beauty and beauty is you. You are a masterpiece - a work of art. There is only one you, made up of your genes and life experiences. And there will never be another.

The Oxford dictionary defines it as:

"A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight".

The philosopher and teacher, Confucius said of beauty: "Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it."

Popular phrases define beauty as:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Beauty is pain

Beauty is only skin deep

So what is beauty? Is it defined by the symmetry of your face, is it your age, colour, race, bone structure, gender, body shape, weight or how flat your stomach is? Or maybe it's defined by what you see in the media or by popular culture and trends, for example big bums and big lips are in, simply because of certain trending celebrities.

Various cultures have different definitions and perceptions of beauty. From the Kayan tribes who believe that long giraffe type necks are the ultimate sign of beauty and from age five, start priming their necks with heavy brass rings, to several parts of Asia where pale or white skin is often seen as a sign of beauty and affluence.

Or maybe beauty is down to the aesthetic artists, facialists and makeup artists who can transform faces or bring about a bloom of youth?

Watching a very beautiful girl on TV sadly describe herself as "not being very pretty and not even attractive" got me thinking about my definition of beauty and wanting to ask you what your definition of beauty is?

Have you ever come out of a steamy hot shower and tried to look at your reflection in the mirror when it's completely steamed and fogged up?

I often think that is how we tend to view our beauty through fogged up mirrors. We are seeing ourselves but the picture isn't exactly clear and we have limited visibility! The mirrors have been fogged up through different life experiences and memories as we have grown up, and now blend together to form our own definition of our beauty.

The first mirror is formed as a young child and is often based on what was said about us from our parents and those around us. I remember being told that I was a cute child, so that when I got a little older and was around six or seven and another child (not surprisingly a little boy in the playground) tried to tell me I was ugly - everything within me rose up against the statement and I completely denied it. The statement was in such contrast to what had been drilled into me, that my self-belief in what my parents had said stood strong.

The second mirror is the mirror of adolescence, those formative years where we are thrust into the big wild world and out of the safety and cocoon of home. As a teenager I went to a boarding school, and for a period of time, remember being one of the only two black people in the entire school. Children being naturally curious, I felt like I was asked a million and one different questions about both my hair and skin tone - and I don't think there has ever been a time where I have been more acutely aware of my appearance, which in turn opened up the door for me to question how I looked and to thankfully embrace my differences.

The final mirror comes from socially constructed ideas of beauty. We are often bombarded with images in the media, popular culture, society, peers and social media, which can create a false ideal of beauty in our eyes. We tend to compare ourselves to those ideals and use it as some sort of margin of measurement.

I believe that real beauty is acceptance of yourself, perceived flaws and all and to realise that they are a part of what makes you, you. It's a radiance of spirit, having character, kindness to ourselves and to others, it's strength and self-confidence to know that with or without makeup the real beauty is you.

Part of beauty also has to be about the things that make you feel beautiful. For me that's anything from lounging at home with my hair up in a bun minus the makeup, to a compliment from a stranger when I'm not even trying, to wearing an amazing new outfit combined with a bright red lipstick.

I say beauty comes from within - you are beauty and beauty is you. You are a masterpiece - a work of art. There is only one you, made up of your genes and life experiences. And there will never be another.

I think it's about starting to appreciate yourself as you would any other piece of art or nature.

If you look at a flower or sunset, you don't tend to judge it; you simply accept and appreciate it for what it is.

So maybe it's time to create a fourth mirror, a new mirror that is wiped clean and is minus the fog of comparisons, accusations, judgement and expectations.

Take a look, a real hard look and embrace and accept you as you - beauty.


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