Prerequisites for Beauty

self love

You do not have to be tall to be beautiful.
You do not have to be thin or long-limbed.
You do not have to have long, straight, shiny hair.
You do not have to be an hourglass or a string bean or a pear.
You do not have to be blemish-free, without freckles, scars, or tattoos.
You do not have to fit or demolish certain physical paradigms.

You do not have to be buxom to be beautiful.
You do not have to possess va-va-voom curves or full lips.
You do not have to resemble a movie star, or a lingerie model, or a porn star.
You do not have to sexualize your exterior to be beautiful.
You do not have to neuter your exterior to be beautiful.

You do not have to wear makeup to be beautiful.
You do not have to wear skirts and heels.
You do not have to cover your grays or disguise your cellulite.
You do not have to shun or accept practices of dressing or personal presentation.

Those who quantify beauty as genetic makeup, symmetry, mathematical ratios are, to me, as wrong as those who accept beauty as a set of societally-imposed ideals and standards. To rank beauty, classify it, assign it biological markers and geometric requirements is to say to some people, “No, you cannot have this. It is not for you.” And although many will disagree with me, I believe that beauty is a feeling, a freedom, a pulse from within that says, “I am worthy, lovely, strong.” And I believe every single human being has a right to feel it.

Beauty is not definite, it is relative.
Beauty is not exclusive, it is infinite.
Beauty is not for others, it is for you.

And to be beautiful, all you have to be is you, you, you.

Image source

Originally posted 2011-02-16 06:15:23.

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23 Responses to “Prerequisites for Beauty”

  1. Jen

    I needed this today more than you know. I was in a “me” funk the past 24 hours. One of those “I envision myself one way, then see photographs of myself and am horrified” funks. Of course, the photograph was taken at the most unflattering angle, but it just made me feel awful. I usually feel pretty good about me. Reading this has had the effect of hitting the reset button on my self-talk. Thanks!

  2. Stacey

    I love this! I believe that beauty comes from within and if we would stop focusing on our external qualities and put more time and care on what is happening on the inside, we would all be much happier. My grandmother was the most beautiful person I have every seen…. she had grey hair, had wrinkled skin, dressed very simply, but she radiated beauty because she was kind, caring, compassionate and did not judge others ever. That is the kind of beauty I hope to have.

  3. Kathy Morelli, LPC

    Hi – Loved this post about beauty and how we are influenced by magazine “normal”..which is totally manufactured, airbrushed, etc! I needed this today!
    thanks for the boost of reality !

  4. Roseanne

    I agree. Someone who is comfortable in their own skin and shows confidence that they love themselves too is beautiful. They don’t have to be a certain size or wear a certain outfit to be considered beautiful!

  5. Ruby

    This is a lovely post and I try to hold these feelings within. But what do we do about the material consequences of societal ideals of beauty. For instance, I’m aging and shifting careers and have been told to “look younger,” “attractive” women are paid more and more likely to find mates. And I know that even if I feel beautiful, if I were to gain too much weight (beyond a certain point) my partner would no longer be attracted to me. Beauty is a feeling we can each carry inside, but it often doesn’t transfer to the perceptions of others. Sure, they can detect confidence, kindness, love, competence, intelligence, pride in one’s appearance, but “beauty” is still so narrowly defined. I’d be kidding myself to say that everything I do appearance wise is only about me. And I realize that I’m lucky in that, aging aside, I don’t diverge too wildly from what society labels as “attractive.” No warts, cystic acne, I’m a healthy BMI, but far from “movie star.” Anyway, I’ve been pondering this as I transition to a career where I am a good 20 years older than most people and yet I still don’t have experience to “make up for” the fact that I visibly fall outside of “the norm.” And I have to work. And having a spouse that is sexually turned on by me is pretty important, too. I’d like to think that as more and more women claim beauty that things will change in societal perceptions, too. But unfortunately I think that’s a long ways away.

  6. Kristin D

    “beauty is infinite”. Love that.

    How often have I struggled around a really beautiful woman? Beauty is not just for her, but for me too. There is more than enough to go around.

  7. Ruby

    I hope it’s alright that I feature this on my blog roundup for this week- I think it’s a post a lot of us need to read. Totally a great boost ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Stacey

    that is soo hard for me to remember sometimes especially now as I just turned 40 and long for my “20 year-old body” and struggle with my weight now. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. retro reva


  10. Eleanorjane

    Good thought for the day. Reminds me of 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…” (Which is not to say that there isn’t also great beauty in sometimes being LOUD and feisty! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  11. Dionne

    I completely agree with this post, especially as I had a somewhat unique experience a few years ago that really confirms what you’re saying.

    I had the privilege of helping to dress my MIL’s body for her funeral (honestly, not as creepy as it sounds. In fact, it was deeply moving to be a part of something so personal). My mother-in-law was a wonderful woman: compassionate, intelligent , refined and a real class act – I still miss her so very much. She was funny and luminous and beautiful.

    So you can imagine my surprise when I first saw her body, because even though I could tell it was her, her beauty was gone. In that moment, I realized that the gorgeous women I had known wasn’t stunning because of her cheekbones or her eyes or her height or anything like that. It was her spark, her soul, her consciousness, whatever you choose to call it, that had been so attractive about her.

    In that moment, I realized something I’ve never forgotten. It is LIFE that is beautiful.

  12. Claire

    thank you, this was a very much needed reminder, and i appreciate it more than you know.
    stay wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Flora

    Thank you so much. I really needed this. I’m only 18, but I have a size 16 body and I have been trying to love myself for who I am, and others have been telling me how I radiate confidence and assert power so subtly when I speak, but my school and my country keeps asserting some norms that youngsters have to adhere to to be normal, like if you have a too large BMI, you will be in the FAT club and you have to exercise in the morning before school everyday, and my school asserts and reaffirms that fact a lot to me, esp at points of time when I have just begin to accept myself fully. Thank you so much for this.

    I feel fit, but they say that my weight does not say so. What about those skinny girls who cannot run? I think it is not fair.

    I want beauty democracy. Everyone deserves a chance to live for themselves and be themselves.