Beauty is a funny thing… Whether you purposefully defy beauty ideals or are the first to jump on the latest trend, the vast majority of us spend a lot of time focused on our own external appearance – arguably, with the goal of looking more “beautiful.” But what does it really mean to be beautiful – and does primping and pampering and criticizing and altering our physical appearance really make us any more beautiful in the end?
While you may quickly argue that you look better in pictures when you’re dressed up and have your hair and makeup done – is that really what makes you beautiful?
So, I ask you this: what really does make someone beautiful?
I’ve asked this question to numerous friends, family members, women, men, celebrities, athletes and more over the last year. Not only as a part of my personal and ongoing journey to (hopefully, eventually) love myself exactly as I am, but also as part of The Beauty Bean’s On Real Beauty series (On Real Beauty Series) where, each week, I have the honor of asking well-known women questions about inner beauty, self-confidence and body image.
The first question I always ask is some variation on the question I just asked you: what do you think makes someone beautiful?
Never – not once – has anyone answered this question by referring to physical characteristics. It’s never been about almond-shaped eyes, straight noses, slender physiques or full lips. It’s never been about height, weight or clothing size. It’s never been about non-existent pores, wrinkle-free faces or long, blonde hair.
Rather, when I have asked anyone “what makes someone beautiful?” the answer is always about character, confidence, intellect, passion, kindness, personality, poise and soul. It’s always a reflection of inner beauty. It’s never about six-pack abs, lifted butts or BMIs. It’s about someone who is happy, confident and loving of themselves and others.
So why, when trying to “boost our beauty,” if you will, do we spend time in front of the mirror, focusing on our external appearance? If beauty really does come from within – if beauty really is about happiness, confidence and self-love – wouldn’t our “beautifying” time be better spent doing things that make us happy, boost our confidence and make us love ourselves more?
This isn’t at all to say that we need to throw our beauty routines to the wind in order to let our Real Beauty shine. I love makeup and skincare products and all those goodies – but they don’t define me, they don’t determine my beauty and they don’t define you or your beauty. Your beauty really does come from within.
So, on those days when you’re fretting over an untimely breakout or bummed out that you’re having a bad hair day, focus on the things that really define your beauty (and trust me: it’s not a pimple or out-of-place hair). Step away from the mirror and instead do something that makes you happy, boosts your confidence and increases your self-love. It will do more for your beauty than another swipe of concealer or spray of hairspray ever will.
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Alexis Wolfer is Editor-in-Chief of TheBeautyBean.com and a Real Beauty activist and ambassador. Follow her on Twitter here .