What does it mean to be beautiful? Is our personal acceptance dependent on our ideas of beauty? Does weaponizing beauty help us more easily accept ourselves?
On Wednesday, I hung out with, Sydney, a makeup artist friend of mine. She’s very talented and has worked with 18-year-old models on magazine covers, to women in their 50’s who are getting remarried.
We chatted about her work. Then she said the most heartbreaking thing I’ve heard in a long time. She told me that one of the first things that women tell her when they sit down in her chair was what they hate about their face. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was shocked and heartbroken at the same time. I felt sad.
In disbelief, I asked why her clients would talk about that? She told me that the women were focused on their flaws and wanted her as a makeup artist to fix those flaws and make them look perfect.
Later that day, I shared that conversation a friend, Mia. Mia used to be a makeup artist. Without hesitation, she said “oh ya, I heard that all the time.” I was shocked again. I was hoping to hear some rebuttal, or that Mia never really heard that. But instead I got a matter of fact response that it seemed like common knowledge. I just shook my head in disbelief, because I didn’t want it to be real. But it is. Facial dissatisfaction is a big problem.
I’m not here to speak against the beauty industry or the standards they propagate. Instead I prefer to talk about acceptance. Why? Because acceptance feels like love. I want to share a recent epiphany that reinforced this message.
My Acceptance Epiphany
Last week I went to a Tantra meet up meeting. The teacher, Cathleen Cienfuegos, gave a short lesson on the heart chakra. Cathleen spoke about how the heart chakra is a harmonizer. It harmonized polar opposites, light and dark, good and bad, grief and joy. The heart chakra was limitless, containing all feelings pleasant and unpleasant. All feelings lived in harmony there. Through the boundless heart chakra, connections were made.
The class paired up and did some exercises. We sat across from one another and were invited to gaze into each other’s eyes. As we looked into our classmates eyes, Cathleen invited us to share how we felt through our eyes.
Hearing those instructions, I cringe inside. I can feel pretty dark inside. I don’t want to expose my partner to that. I’m ok with those dark feelings. But she might not be. Then I think I wonder if she has these dark feelings too? My next thought was if the heart chakra contains all feelings. Then both mine and hers must be in there in this universal limitless connecting place. Epiphany strikes.
If the heart chakra accepts all feelings, that means even the deep dark ones that I’ve felt are acceptable.
I smile inside because acceptance feels like love. And isn’t unconditional love really about acceptance anyway?
The class continued with more exercises and rotated partners. Cathleen had us to share our sadness, joy, and then wisdom through our eyes. In those moments looking into another human being eyes with intention, their face moved to the background. I connected with that person in the moment. Their face was part of the beautiful exchange. How their face looked was less important than what the face said.
What I propose is that the definition of what a “beautiful face” is, be expanded. Think less in terms of cheekbones, contours and nose shapes. And more in terms of the things you do with your face. The way you smile that brings joy to other people. The way your face shows concern so that people feel cared for. The way you express anger to show people a situation is not right with you. It is through your face that human connection is made. And that is most certainly a thing of beauty.
Let’s put a person’s face into perspective.
This may sound morbid, but I want to bring the message home. When someone we care about passes away, one of the first things we do is look at pictures of them. And guess what? All those pictures contain their face. Their face is how we remember them. There face is a symbol of what they meant to us. If we could only see their face one more time. Or hold their face in our hands. Or kiss their face one more time. Or see the expression on their face when they know how much they mean to us.
The next time you even begin to entertain the thought about something you hate about your face, STOP. Your face means so much to the people in your life. As does theirs to you. Your face is beloved by all the people in your life. People love your face. This is how people know you. And to know you is a beautiful thing. Let’s redefine what it means to have a beautiful face.
How to Contribute
If you want to help redefine what it means to be beautiful. Here’s a simple way you can contribute.
Download, color, and sign the “I am Beautiful” coloring page. Place your work in a location where you can see it as a visible reminder of the truth. That you are in fact beautiful, period, no conditions or special circumstances apply. Think and feel more fact than opinion. Then live your truth.
If you would like to spread your message of beauty, share a picture of your coloring page on social media with the hashtag, #shamehack. And share this post.
Click below to get your FREE “I am Beautiful” coloring page. Happy Coloring.