Have you ever looked into the mirror and thought: “Oh my…”? Ever compared yourself to a friend and said to yourself: “She is way more beautiful than I am”? Ever tried on that beautiful dress you saw in the catalogue and thought: “It looked way better on that model”? I bet you have at some point in your life. Last month I looked myself in the mirror and came to a staggering conclusion.
If you want to know what it was – keep reading…
Last month I was about the launch my website. I felt I had done a great job and had a great sense of fulfillment. But then, and I don’t even remember how, I stumbled on the concept op beauty again. A concept I felt familiar with, but all of a sudden it seemed to have distanced itself from me. I thought I had figured it out for myself, but honestly I had only figured it out for my business. I had my heart in it, for sure, like I have with everything I do. But suddenly I felt a disconnection with what I was doing. Yes, I believe all woman are beautiful, but what in the world does that mean? Beauty is such an open and wide concept. So fragile and yet strong. I felt I needed to do something more. I needed to reconnect to my concept; this concept of beauty. So I decided to get some new insights and opinions on it. I made an inquiry asking people to define outward and inward beauty. To define their own beauty and even to grade themselves in respect of beauty (and so also their self-esteem would be visible). I got some results and, well… I flipped. Because it went so much deeper. I thought I had some pretty simple questions. Some even cliché, but I opened up a can of confusing information.
Here are some of my findings that shocked me:
- Almost all teens between the age of 15 to 19 gave themselves (on outward beauty) grades from 1 to 6. Mostly 3 to 4.
- Also teens had a really specific image of outward beauty; big lips, full bottom, small waist, flat tummy, full hair, long eyelashes. These were all things mentioned by most of them.
- Most men were pretty happy with themselves, some even giving themselves a 10 in grading.
- People who were the most on social media had the lowest self esteem. Teenagers said to be online most of their day.
- Most people were at some point in their life somewhat intimidated by the looks of a model of the same sex.
- On inward beauty; trustworthiness, kindness and honesty scored the highest.
It was especially fun to see that most people on inward beauty had very different opinions. It showed a lot of reflection on their character and personality which gave every person a small identity in my inquiry.
Now this all maybe doesn’t seem so super interesting or much of a breakthrough. But this is what hit me most: some people seemed to be offended. Some even didn’t want to do the inquiry, because they felt the questions where too personal. Others decided that they knew now what my personal look on beauty was and they did not agree. But I wasn’t making a statement at all. I am still searching as well for what I want with all this information and how it influences my perspective on beauty. But the thing is: people get offended when things hit home. When something is coming close to their beliefs and mindset. Even in some of the answers I could feel people trying to give “a right answer”. Like: “beauty is only on the inside” or “god made us all beautiful”. Which I agree totally on, but those are also easy comments, to put aside how we really feel about ourselves and beauty.
During this small start on my research I looked over the answers, took it all in and looked at myself in the mirror. Literally. One morning I stepped out of bed and asked myself: “Bertina, what do you think about beauty? Do you think you are beautiful? And what does that even mean?” And honestly, I cringed a little, because I didn’t feel beautiful. I saw the bags under my eyes and all the lovely big pores and pimples I got over the holidays (my skin is my greatest insecurity). And I thought: “Poop… I don’t feel beautiful!” I felt a lack of peace. I thought I was fine with who I was, but apparently I had dug myself a hole where I decided: “Everyone is beautiful, no questions asked!”. So it was easy to accept myself in that. And I really, REALLY, do think all women are beautiful. But I didn’t realize for myself, what it meant for ME.
So here I am.
Starting my journey to find my concept of beauty.
I will start writing about all kinds of beauty. Psychological health, outward beauty, opinions about beauty and who knows maybe even interview people about what they think about beauty. I want Silver Linings to be more than just a business where I provide people with an awesome photo to show them how absolutely beautiful they are. I want it to hit home. I want it to spark conversation, to give new idea and to break society’s look on beauty. And along the line I hope to find more out about my own beauty.
I hope you will take this journey with me. So we can figure this out together.