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Beauty, Redefined

Beauty, refined means letting go of impossible standards and celebrating what I already have, flaws and all.
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I turned 36 this year, and with it came the brutal realization that I was getting older - and that ageing does not fit into society's narrow definition of beauty. In fact, according to this definition, I may already have peaked, and am just on the decline now.

Isn't that depressing? Especially since my so-called 'peak' never really felt like much of a peak!

So in a surge of optimism, I decided to redefine beauty in a way that can only get better with age. In a way that gives me - not some genetic lottery or external standard of beauty - more control.

So I asked myself this simple question: When do I feel most beautiful?

And I realized that I feel most beautiful when:

  • I am being true to myself, setting clear boundaries and not trying to please others or fit into how I think I should look or act.

  • I am listening to my body and eating mostly whole, vibrant foods - without being too strict about this either!
  • I am doing things that give me pleasure like moving my body, doing yoga, meditating, being in nature, connecting with people I love, learning and growing.
  • I take care of my physical appearance without obsessing about it - when I do coconut oil hair masks, when I put on a little make-up, when I make an effort with my wardrobe.
  • I am connecting with people, being really present with them.
  • I am doing work that is meaningful to me.
  • Above all, I feel beautiful when I am treating myself with kindness and compassion. This doesn't mean I never have critical thoughts or think I don't deserve to treat myself kindly - it simply means allowing those thoughts to hang out and still choosing self-kindness, over and over again.
  • I am tired of the narrow standards of beauty the media blasts at us. I don't want to be defined by something I never fit into and most certainly never will as I age.

    And I don't want to rebel by completely neglecting my appearance, either.

    So I am redefining beauty.

    For me, beauty no longer means being defined by a number on a scale.

    It no longer means perfect skin (which I might never have).

    Beauty, redefined means treating myself with kindness.

    Beauty, refined means choosing kindness, regardless of whether or not I think I deserve it in the moment.

    Beauty, refined means letting go of impossible standards and celebrating what I already have, flaws and all.

    This is something I can always choose. It is something I can always work towards.

    And hopefully, it is something that can only improve with age.

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