What Does Beauty Mean To You?

Culture and society seem to set the standard of beauty. We see models and celebrities portraying similar physical characteristics. Seeing these “role models” of beauty can lead to associating those standards of beauty with other positive qualities in life such as love, success, happiness, and worthiness. Even if one is aware that it is rare to meet these standards naturally, and that these beauty idols achieve this look through professional help with makeup, lighting, and digital enhancements, it is still difficult not to be drawn into the appeal of wanting to be beautiful. 

Before putting all of one’s self-worth into this idea of beauty, let’s take a closer look at what it means to be beautiful.  Typically, when one strives to be beautiful they are looking to make themselves more physically attractive. What are people actually attracted to? Sure, looks may play a role in attraction, however, there may be more to it.

Have you ever met someone to whom you were not initially attracted on a physical level, but once you start talking with them you realized how funny or how generous they can be?  Your attraction to them grows. Perhaps they even start to appear more physically attractive.

Conversely, when you see someone to whom you are instantly attracted,  you may find that once you get to know therm, they are rude or dull.  Suddenly they become much less attractive, even in appearance. Our perception of a person once we get to know them, even a little, can drastically alter the way we view their external appearance.

So, what is truly attractive or beautiful: physical appearance, or something deeper?

Have you ever noticed when someone catches your eye, even if they don’t fit the “standards of beauty”? For example, a woman in a bathing suit who has a fuller body size is attractive. You could be noticing her confidence. Confidence, or even being comfortable enough with who you are and how you look can be a major factor in what makes us attractive. Building up this self-acceptance is easier, and has longer lasting effects than trying to change one’s physical appearance.

Diets and over-exercising with the intention to change one’s body require an immense amount of effort and push the body to unhealthy limits. Plus, they are notorious for not producing lasting results, and the opposite effect can occur.

Consider this: f you are equating physical appearance to love, worth, or other positive qualities, do you truly want to form a meaningful relationship with someone where the most important reason you are together is because of external appearance?

Our looks change. Think of someone you love-would you end that relationship if their looks changed?

What would it be like to stop fighting your body and work towards accepting yourself? Appreciating the functions of your body and all it does to help one experience life can outweigh all the ways in which one’s body doesn’t measure up.  Focus on what matters most in life.

Love, success, happiness, and health are worthy pursuits. It is unrealistic to expect to receive these without working towards them in a meaningful way. They are qualities that individuals can strive for and they are gained through developing a positive self-image.  Find beauty within, then watch as it shines through the outside. Redefine beauty on your own terms.

Mikayla Kendal, LPC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Ammirati Counseling
Terri A. Ammirati, LCPC, has 25+ years of clinical experience. She is a Certified Gottman Therapist and presents Gottman's "The Art and Science of Love" couples workshop.

Terri specializes in empowering clients to strengthen their relationships. She works with all aspects of relational distress and provides solution-focused therapy.
Terri A. Ammirati