When we think about being beautiful, we might think of new make-up trends, a different hairstyle, perhaps even plastic surgery. But we rarely think about our thoughts. And yet our deep beliefs about our looks can and do translate into our outer appearance. Being beautiful has nothing to do with what you put on your skin, and everything to do with what you believe on the inside. It is possible to look beautiful by falling in love with how you look right now. Not how you would like to look, and not how society or magazines or adverts say you should look. Just how you are right now, whatever your age, weight, and facial features.
Each of us is uniquely different, and that’s ok. While adverts and magazines keep showing us standardized images of one type of beauty, all we need to do is look around to realise this image is far from reality. We are not standardized people, we are not perfectly symmetrical, and no one is flawless. But this makes our beauty! Our quirks are what make us attractive, like an aquiline nose, a shapely eyebrow that arches slightly higher than the other, the laughter lines that crinkle around our eyes when we smile.
How Do You See Yourself?
Of course, when we compare ourselves to these airbrushed images, we can’t help but find ourselves lacking. That’s the whole idea behind advertisements: our insecurity is what makes us perfect consumers. If we felt comfortable in our skins, if we were content with the way we look, we certainly wouldn’t spend as much money on anti-wrinkle creams, hair dyes and cosmetic surgery.
And anyway, these superficial procedures can only go so far. Because unless we learn to accept and love how we are right now, we will forever be chasing an unattainable mirage. What’s more, deep dissatisfaction with the way we look has repercussions on our mental health and can impact our relationships. We may feel irritable, insecure, frustrated, depressed, socially awkward, isolated. And there’s no miracle cream for that.
Consider how you view others; do you zone in on their flaws, refusing to talk to people or deciding you don’t like them because they don’t conform to a set beauty ideal? What a sad and lonely world that would be! No—instead most of us look for, and see, other people’s beauty. We notice a kind face, a genuine smile, an air of gentle confidence. Those are the things that make us beautiful. Indeed, a superficially beautiful person can turn out to be pretty ugly if they are selfish, arrogant, or aggressive. Whereas someone who radiates kindness, compassion, quiet confidence and intelligence will always be beautiful.
Loving how You Look
The first step to looking beautiful without buying any products or putting yourself through any cosmetic surgery, is to begin by noting that the images we are constantly bombarded with are not real: they are airbrushed and edited. Remind yourself of that fact next time you catch yourself comparing your unique attractiveness to the make-believe photos in magazines and adverts.
Accept how you look right now. If you are blessed with youth, appreciate the elasticity and clarity of your skin. If you are getting older, see your wrinkles as precious memories—the result of your life, the laughter you’ve shared with friends, the tears you’ve shed over loved ones. Wrinkles are a symbol of wisdom and experience—we should not be ashamed of them, but consider them with pride.
See Your Beauty
Stop looking for flaws and instead notice the beauty. What makes your face uniquely attractive? Is it your strong white teeth? Your pretty smile? Your large kind hazel eyes? Your thick curly hair? Your slender neck? Your artistic hands? It was Audrey Hepburn who said: “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others.” Extend this kindness to yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and consider yourself with an appreciative gaze.
Befriend Your Reflection
Next time you’re checking out your reflection, imagine what your best friend might say to you. Your best friend would not criticise the size of your thighs or berate you for having a bad hair day. Neither would they zero in on that little spot. Instead, they would reassure you, pointing out how the colour you’re wearing brings out your eyes, or that the shape of that cardigan really flatters your figure. Be kind and complimentary towards your reflection. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel!
You Are Beautiful
It is time to stop criticising our looks and comparing ourselves to unattainable and unrealistic images of one type of beauty. Looking beautiful is not about being fashionable, on trend, or artificially flawless. By accepting how we look today, and opening our eyes to the unique beauty that is within each of us, we can look naturally beautiful just as we are.