As a beauty brand founder, I have come to the realization that one of my main purposes in life, is to aid other people in recognizing the very things that make them feel beautiful. When you feel beautiful in your own skin, you are truly able to take on the world! You radiate confidence and as a result, doors open up for you, you meet interesting people, and your horizons widden insofar as to the wonders and curiosities that exist within the world. When insecurities take over, however, self-doubt becomes crippling. It makes one want to hide in their shell and prevents them from fully experiencing this beautiful gift called life.
What may come across as a trivial topic has actually been considered as one of the main values of discussion in ancient civilizations, alongside truth, goodness and justice. The debate between whether beauty is subjective or objective is still questioned to this date. In my opinion, beauty is most certainly subjective and should be regarded as so, in order to live a life that is free from standards of beauty that are difficult or impossible to obtain naturally.
I truly believe that there is beauty in everyone and everything. It is what makes us different and unique, that makes us beautiful. The saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this to me is true. Beauty is subjective. Just like how taste in food can be acquired through exposure and experience, the same can be said about beauty. Our perception of beauty is heavily dependent on our nurturing, the attitudes or values we’ve been exposed to, and what we constantly see being represented in the media or beauty industry.
When one aims to feel beautiful, what is the ultimate goal? Feeling confident in their skin? Feeling accepted by others? Feeling desired or respected? Without doing the inner work and truly feeling beauty within one’s soul, the physical side of beauty will not be able to fill the void. You can do all the work on your physical, but you cannot truly feel beautiful without understanding how to love yourself and to see the beauty that lies within. Indeed, it is so easy to be called beautiful. But how much better does it feel when someone compliments you on your personality? Or tells you that you have a beautiful soul?
Have you ever come across someone with a beauty “quirk” (I don’t love using that word) that they totally owned, and you could not help but think wow, this is a truly beautiful person who is completely comfortable in their own skin? To me, this is the most attractive feature in a person. That being said, it is not easy to achieve this level of confidence. Moreover, to love yourself wholly, quirks and all, can take time and effort. In a perfect world, we would all come out of the womb with this level of confidence. In reality, life comes at us hard. We might grow up being told that we are beautiful by our loved ones, only to be called ugly on the school playground. Or, to be simply called out for the features that make us different from what society makes us believe is the right way to look. We are taught to be ashamed of the very features that connect us to our ancestors and offer a modern glimpse into the rich history of mankind. With that in mind, the question then becomes: how can we overcome the way society teaches us to look at ourselves and to realize that we are imperfectly perfect as distinctive individuals? If only there existed a universal answer.
Because beauty is subjective, resting in the eye of the beholder, I can only share with you what has worked for me and what I continue to refer back to when I start to experience feelings of self-doubt or insecurity. Here are some key points and practices that may help you feel beautiful from the inside out.
Understanding this is life-changing. Not everyone is going to find you attractive and that is OK. As stated above, beauty is subjective, and just like you may not be attracted to everyone who crosses your path, not everyone is going to find you beautiful (in the superficial sense). Understanding this is a great way to start appreciating all parts of you. Notably, the things that you may be self-conscious about, are the very features that those meant for you, will find absolutely charming. Besides, why would you want to waste your energy on those who do not find you great for being just the way you are? If you’re in a situation where you’ve been judged based on your physical appearance alone, you know that person is not meant for you.
Growing up in a neighbourhood where I did not see many other people that looked like me, without a doubt, made me feel different. I simply could not recognize my own beauty. I felt that to be beautiful, I had to look a certain way and unfortunately, felt embarrassed for what made me different. For what made me, me. It was not until I moved to Paris and took a course on self-identity, with a truly inspiring professor, that I started to appreciate all parts of me. It was not overnight. It has been a gradual path to overcoming critical self-talk and feelings of insecurity. I now understand that it is important for young girls to see themselves in the media and the beauty industry. Countless hours are spent consuming media and so it is crucial that all groups of women are represented. I also noticed that why we consider someone a role model or an inspiration should also be questioned. For example, are you following others on Instagram based solely on how they look? Or is there some aspect of their personality that you find admirable, charming or inspirational? Make sure you yourself are careful about the why when you decide to follow the journeys of others. Check in with yourself and unfollow those who don’t make you feel inspired in a positive way.
As someone who often worries about others-- and what they think of me, I find that it is really important to, at times, take a step back and to put my own personal needs first. And this is okay. In fact, it is more than okay to take time for yourself and to put self-care on the top of your priority list. For those who truly love you, will totally understand and will continue to be there, unconditionally. When you know you’re taking the best possible care of yourself, you WILL feel your best. Knowing that you’re feeding yourself with real foods, getting daily exercise, drinking lots of water, doing activities that nourish your soul and taking care of your skin with gentle and clean ingredients, it will be impossible not to look and feel like a better you. Someone once told me to take time to visualize my best self and to visualize how that version of me would spend their time, dress, eat, speak, etc. How would they take care of themselves? What would they value? That version of you exists and you’re capable of becoming that version at any moment.
Sadly, what is widely considered beautiful is largely dictated by society and what we see in the media. However, if everyone looked the same, would this ideal beauty still be considered beautiful? Beauty is defined as a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Just like art, beauty is subjective and it is these differences that make humans so fascinating. Maybe it is your teeth, or your nose or your skin. Whatever it is, understand that the people who are meant for you, will find every inch of you to be perfect as is, so shouldn’t you try to do the same for yourself? For how can anyone else find you beautiful if you don’t yourself?
Is it after your skincare routine? That post-workout glow? While dancing? Whatever it is, try and engage in these activities daily, and appreciate your beauty. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself exactly what you are thinking. Positive self-talk and affirmations may seem like they won’t work, but the more frequently you do them, the more they will start to resonate and become ingrained in your psyche. Your mind is a powerful tool and it is capable of so much. It might sound silly, but lately, I feel really beautiful when I put on an outfit that I love and blast my favourite music whilst dancing in front of my mirror like nobody's watching (my neighbours always do ha!).
Some affirmations to tell yourself:
I shine from the inside out.
I always attract people who support my highest growth and good.
I am valuable, regardless of attention from others.
Those meant for me will find me beautiful.
My last and perhaps most important point is that as humans (and in my opinion) we are body and soul. While it is very important to take care of our bodies, as they are the only true home we have, we must realize that the physical is only a part of who we are. I went through phases in my life where I felt I needed a change and of course, without doing the inner work that I truly needed, I headed straight to the hair salon for a chop or dye. It took me years to understand that this need for a change had absolutely nothing to do with how I looked and more to do with the growth my soul craved. The more work I do on myself, going inwards to reflect on who I am, what kind of person I want to become and how I can live a life aligned with my values, the less I feel the need to obsess over all the small details of my appearance. I have gotten to a point where I will probably never dye my hair again and love wearing it naturally. I have come to accept that yes, I will get breakouts every now and then, depending on my lifestyle habits or changes, and that is completely okay. I know that if I am taking care of my body to the best of my ability + nourishing my soul with what it needs, I will look and feel the most beautiful.
The less value you place on your own physical beauty, the more you will notice this inner beauty in others. Now I certainly don't mean that one should completely disregard their physical appearances. When you look your best, you feel your best. But it works both ways. When you feel your best, you look your best. You cannot have one without the other.
I hope these words resonate and that you too continue on this journey of becoming your most confident version of you. If you find someone beautiful, please tell them. Tell them that you love their smile, or their eyes, or the way they tells stories. Tell them everything you find beautiful and charming about them, because you have no idea how much they may need to hear that.
So much love,