Beauty Isn't a Size
What a revolutionary statement. My entire life I assumed that beauty equated to being a slender, toned, hair-free, flawless woman. It was that woman I thought would attract the partner of my dreams; that woman who would be happy and fulfilled. She would breeze through life, without a care in the world.
That’s a little Disney, isn’t it?!
It was only after years of failed diets and eating disorders — cycles of starvation, binging, purging — and substance use disorder that I realized I was trying to achieve the unattainable. This somewhat Disney standard of how we’re conditioned to regard beauty is entirely false; rarely do women of those airbrushed standards exist — without excessive dieting and exercise, that is.
The advertising industry has conditioned us to believe in that beauty ideal and anything less means we are not worthy — we’re less than. And it is from this position of unworthiness that we have an innate hunger to constantly change the way we look. This diet is the one! we’ll say with palpable excitement as we run home from the store armed with the latest glossy women’s magazine claiming to contain the secret to drop ten pounds in three days.
The reality is that we will rarely achieve this false standard and, even if we do, we won’t sustain it because we cannot survive on the restrictive diet required to achieve that body.
Once I realized that there is no universal standard and saw the futility in trying to achieve something that didn’t exist, my world changed. I started to see me. I saw that my height was beautiful, that my eyes were so blue that they sparkled in the light, I saw that my wavy hair reflected the quirkiness in my personality, and I finally saw how womanly my curves made me look. And from that place, I was able to see and appreciate the beauty and unique qualities in other women around me.
This idea of being worthy just as I am crystallized at the She Recovers conference I attended in May 2017, when Glennon Doyle Melton talked about the distorted beauty standards in the world. She encouraged us to change our conception of beauty. She says this on her website: “Beautiful women glow. When you are with a beautiful woman you will not so much notice her hair or skin or body or clothes – because you’ll be distracted by the way she makes you feel. She will be so full of beauty that you will feel some spill onto you. You’ll feel warm and safe and curious around her. Her eyes will twinkle a little and she’ll look at you really closely…because beautiful, wise women know that the quickest way to fill up with beauty is to soak in another human being. Other people are beauty, beauty, beauty. So you will notice that the most beautiful women take their time with other people. They are just filling up.”
You see, once we reject this false standard, we gain true freedom to be and to love ourselves — our whole selves — exactly as we are. Because we are not flawed, we are not less than, we are already the beautiful womanly human we were destined to be. Stop searching for that woman — she is already here.