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False Definition of Beauty and Why Our Society is Sending the Wrong Message to Women

Did you know that 53% of 13-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies? This number grows to 78% by the time they graduate high school. This means that almost eight out of ten women in their late teens are unhappy with their appearance. And who knows how high this number gets as they grow older.

These statistics would suggest that despite the millions of genes present in the human DNA pool, we all seem to have agreed on a handful of physical characteristics that define what beauty is. Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines beauty as “the quality of being physically attractive“. Of course you can see what is inherently wrong with this definition as it fails to address anything of substance but mere aesthetics. It’s essentially a false definition of beauty.

So why is it that we continue to define our own beauty by the images of the less than 1% of women who seem to have won the genetic lottery? Being falsely mislead by the media and advertising agencies we start believing that Mother Nature must have forgotten about us. Have we ourselves completely forgotten about substance, and qualities of beauty that manifest themselves in a witty personality, charisma, a genuine smile or a sense of humor?

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Who ever said that fitting into size two jeans would ever guarantee us happiness or a sense of fulfillment? Cameron Russell, a high-end fashion model admits in her TED Talk that models themselves are some of the most insecure women on the planet. They feel even more pressure than us to stay competitive in their line of business, constantly comparing themselves to other models.

Instead of trying to look a certain way, we should be focusing on feeling a certain way. Unless we are happy on the inside, changing the way we look won’t help make us feel better about ourselves. It may cover up the root of the problem temporarily, but it will never change our perception of ourselves in the long term. When we concentrate our energy on how we want to feel, rather than how we want to look, we create a goal with a higher purpose.

I want to stay fit because it makes me be of higher purpose to the world. It makes my mind more productive at work, and allows me to inspire others to become healthier. Vanities such as achieving a certain size or look are not the type of motivation that we should be driven by to stay healthy. Motivation by vanities doesn’t go into the core of why we desire the change to begin with. It fails to ask why we want to be skinny? Maybe our true motivation is not to be skinny, but to have enough stamina and endurance to play around with our kids, or run a marathon. Those are the types of factors that drive success.

Let’s not forget that beauty is not defined by the outside environment. Beauty is confidence. It’s knowing your self-worth, and being able to define your own standards. Beauty is the ability to be your authentic self without looking to others for reassurance. The more you compare yourself to others, the more you disconnect from your own self. Instead of trying to be someone else, focus on cultivating your strengths and finding beauty within. There’s no woman more attractive in the room than the one who loves herself. It is the belief that she is beautiful that makes her beautiful.

There truly is beauty in everything, just not everybody sees it.

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