What does the word beauty mean to you? If you were asked, “What is beauty?” what would your answer be? Would you give an example of a beautiful woman, or would you delve into it a bit more, presenting what you really felt beauty was?
My fear is that we associate the words beauty and beautiful with a beautiful woman. To be more specific – an idealized version of a woman (all you have to do is Google the word beauty on Google images and see what comes up).
So think about it – what is beauty?
When asked that question, my response has always been to describe certain images or situations that have taken my breath away:
- a train ride east at Christmas time (with the then love of my life), through the mountains in New Mexico as the snow fell, listening to a CD of Christopher Parkening playing Bach on the guitar.
- my husband, Ron, and I watching our daughter, Sasha, dance at one of her first ballet recitals, realizing the enormity of her talent at precisely the same moment, and sharing a look as we held hands.
- looking into my rescue dog, Snowy’s, eyes, and seeing a human being (me) being reflected back, and realizing that I am his world and I embody goodness and love to him.
All of these examples represent beauty to me and none of them involve anything remotely resembling the physical perfection of a woman. I think we need to take back the words beauty and beautiful and reframe their meanings. We need to do this for ourselves.
I was inspired to write this because of a blog post written by Hannah Brencher for The Huffington Post titled I’m Not Gonna Tell You You’re Beautiful. When I read this post, it occurred to me that the word beautiful was toxic to Hannah because it represented everything that had made her suffer. I am sure the words beauty and beautiful have that same effect on many more.
It’s up to us, to you, to change this. It may seem like a tiny thing, but as Gandhi said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” We can, and must, have an effect on our world.
So let’s begin…what to you is beautiful? Please post your responses. Change begins with you.