When I stare in the mirror, I see the small sprinkle of freckles under the eyes, dark brown eyes staring back at me, overgrown eyebrows and my smile wrinkles telling me you’re beautiful. It’s more common for women (and men) to put our selves down for the way we look, rather than focus on our natural beauty. Which may be the result of many people changing their natural beauty. I was sitting down at my orthodontist the other day, and the only conversation in the waiting room consisted of botox and how to maintain youthful skin. It made me realise how many young women are getting cosmetic enhancements at a much younger age. When I think about it, it is our own body. Then another part questions, what influences cause people to feel the need to change it?
When I relate it to how I felt about my smile, I do think that having braces to some degree is for cosmetic reasons, even though it can include hygiene and health reasons. I value my smile and my teeth a lot, and so my focus on something that I believe to be flawed, made me desire to make it straight. I believe the influence is from how common it is to get braces from a young age, the beautiful smiles we see in the media and the way a smile influences a first impression and can affect the way we talk to people (in my case, because I was so highly conscious about it). However,I would like to age gracefully in my skin and cannot ever imagine having cosmetic enhancements such as lip fillers, botox, facial contour or plastic surgery.
Now that I have expressed that, I feel that natural beauty can often be overlooked, when products and images tell us otherwise. There is always this strive for ‘youthful’ beauty and achieving your most beautiful self, rather than embracing your natural self. There is this emphasis on not being enough, that we are led to believe. Not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not good enough. We are tricked to believe that something as beautiful and natural as ageing is not attractive. Natural beauty is about embracing your whole self, not just the visual elements. It’s still good to take care of your skin health, but when it’s taken to a superficial level, that’s when we lose the sight of what matters.
There is an artificial definition of beauty that has been spread, because of course, even something like a smile, caused me to feel the need to ‘fix it’. We should be told more that our natural beauty is beautiful! The following ways, are just some of the ways I believe we can embrace our natural beauty:
- Sleeping well. Beauty sleep is called beauty sleep, because having regular restful sleep affects our skin. Sleep is beneficial for your body and mind to stay active and during the day. It also keeps our body at peace, rather than stressed.
- Exercising. We are always told to exercise due to physical means, but exercise is much more about feeling good. When you feel good, you look good. Instead of focusing on I want to look good, think about how you want to feel!
- Skincare. Wearing sunscreen and washing your face twice a day is important in taking care of your skin. Moisturising and whatever else you may place on your skin, should be used to keep your skin healthy.
- Hygiene matters. Brushing your teeth and taking care of your body is an important way to embrace your natural beauty.
- Positive self talk. Believe and know that you are beautiful. Talk to your self with love and honesty, that you are beautiful just the way you are. Focus on what you love about yourself.
- Laugh! Have you ever talked to someone and when they laugh, the eyes always light up and may be the nose crinkles a little. A smile and a laugh is such a beautiful thing.
- Love your hair. Take care of your hair, brush it, wash it, trim it. A healthy body also means a healthy head of hair.
- Eat healthy. We feel good about ourselves when we eat healthy. Drinking enough water a day is a gift to your body. Natural beauty is not just about what’s on the outside, but about the way you take care of yourself and what you put inside your body.
- Recognise your inner beauty. Your kindness, you willingness to help people, your ability to listen, your compassion, your empathy, your humour, whatever it is – we’ve all got a long list of it.
Many young women growing up have a loss of identity and have trouble searching for acceptance for their body through western (or other cultures) standards of beautiful. Think about it: when we were brought onto this Earth, we were our natural selves, no makeup, no clothes, just our naked selves. We need to create a mindset telling young girls and boys that they are beautiful as they are.