Our Beauty is Skin Deep

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Beauty is a trait that can be found in anyone or anything around us. We can find it in our surroundings, in nature, in people, in a stranger or our loved ones, in our abstract feelings, in life itself and in ourselves (although we don’t usually believe that there is beauty in ourselves). We are naturally allured to beautiful things, no matter where we discover it, expected or unexpectedly. Our perception of what makes something beautiful varies from person to person, with that we can say that beauty is subjective. How we define beauty may not always be similar to other people because of our perception differences and broad field of experience. What is beautiful to me may not be so appealing to you just like how your taste may not exactly be my cup of tea.

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If you would ask people what they think is the definition of beauty, most would probably describe their ideal physical appearance. Typically, it would be the shape and features of the face, structure of nose, complexion of the skin and body figure. People who have these attributes are considered beautiful since they have fulfilled a certain standard our society has set for how physical appearance should be, while people who didn’t meet these standards are usually tainted for it. In our world today, we see beauty in people or in an object as something aesthetically pleasing to our eyes. The standards our society has set for beauty are so high and can sometimes even go to some extent that it will be far from natural and unrealistic. As I have mentioned above, beauty is subjective to people. Our appreciation of beauty can be completely different in comparison to what other people define as beautiful.

Culture, childhood up-bringing, experiences, personality and personal preferences greatly affect our perceptions on so many aspects of our lives. The values we are used to is not always what we would see in other people. In other cultures, pale skin or fair complexion is a sign of beauty for it depicted luxury and wealth. A tribe in a country in Africa, where drought and famine is not new to the people, they preferred women with fuller figures, because it has traditionally been a sign of prosperity although this idea is currently changing in their culture. In the Philippines, having a fair skin and tall nose is viewed as beautiful. Hence plenty of people are tied to this beauty standard and used bleaching products, whitening supplements and even nose jobs to improve their looks. Each culture has invented its own conceptions to reflect their natural idea of beauty and these concepts of aesthetics may only be indigenous to their area. On a more individualized approach, Personal preferences are rooted from our life experiences and childhood upbringing. When we categorize something beautiful not based on the beauty standard of our society, but on our own judgment and solely based from our intuition, other people will have a lot to say about it because it is peculiar to them and it does not follow the norm. Does its distinctiveness make it less beautiful? Of course not. Nevertheless, People mostly have a tendency to notice what is prominent and most influential characteristics. There are individuals who claim to know what real beauty is and use this to drive people to be what they want them to be. Social media, Television, magazines and advertisements play an enormous role in ridiculing people by pointing out that they are not beautiful because they don’t have these ideal facial structures and body figures. Although things aren’t supposed to be like that.

Should we judge everyone by how they look? Some say we should. Most say we should not. Same old saying goes, “Do not judge a book by its cover”. You never know what it has to offer until you open the book and start reading it, same as people. We have no idea who they are and although their appearance is the first thing we observe about them, they have so much more to offer than just how they look. Beauty is not just clear and white skin, tall nose and rosy cheeks. It is more than skin deep, it goes way deeper in our thoughts and over our horizons. The more we don’t materialize beauty as we live, the more beautiful our lives will become. If we overlook and foolishly ignore beauty that is right in front of our eyes, we will soon find ourselves wandering without it. Traveling all around in hopes to found where we thought beauty was lying around, we would not be able to see it. We can look and search for it but if we don’t carry it in ourselves, we would still fail. Because when we wander in search of true beauty without appreciating what true beauty is, we are all make-believed that it is something we couldn’t achieve without the help of cosmetic products when it is totally the other way around. Beauty has its own complexity but it is not rocket science. We are so obsessed to be perfect just so we could convince ourselves that we are our own kind of beautiful, but the irony lies exactly where we try to be so different that it makes us all the same.

Now? Beauty has become the opposite of pursuit of perfection. No make-up product can ever copy the glow inner beauty freely gives to us. It shines on everyone not as a spotlight because it comes from within. Beauty is unfading and gentle. “Beauty is not always seen but is often felt in the heart.”, cliché but it speaks nothing but the truth. There is beauty within us when we believe in ourselves. When we start believing what we are capable of and accepting what we are not. In our determination and perseverance to pave our own path and strength to carry on no matter how much we have been thrown off by the obstacles along the journey. In our life experiences that has shaped us into what we are today. Real beauty captivates and it is really the inside that matters. I have seen people who have exquisite beauty but inside there is no spectacle of passion and not a bit of appreciation. They ridiculed people who they thought were below them, I will not focus on them because I also know ton of people who does not live by these unrealistic social standards, I believe they are beautiful, not in how they dress or how they look but in just the way they are. There are so much about them I can’t even begin to describe on how amazing they are.

They are so passionate about living their life to the fullest, extending their horizons to discover, they are never afraid to show who they are and be a little reckless. These are the kind of people who knows that nobody is perfect and that you don’t have to be. Sure, you can just be who you are and with confidence, you are more than ready to take over your life. But sometimes, it’s going to take more than just confidence. The most beautiful people we know or may have known came from a setback that helped to launch them further. Beauty it is in people who have known defeat, struggles and suffered but always figure their way out of the depths. They are those who is abundant in appreciation and understands the way of life. They let their lives be filled with compassion and love for it all comes from the heart, with sincerity. It is beautiful for how people are able to bounce back from the challenges of our lives.

For me, beauty exists everywhere even in abstract. I see beauty in people trying as many times as they can with the goal to become better because I am fine with failing. I think people who are generous are beautiful in nature because that is what I aspire to be and I battle selfishness. People who know sorrow are also beautiful because with that, you can only think of how much they appreciate joy. They let happiness be where their sadness was and that is tough in itself because they open up to their perspective that life could be better. I believe that faith is beautiful because it is unfading whether you thought it was there at first or not. It is everyone’s last desperate reach. It is that little thing we hold on to when we think we have got nothing else left, sometimes it is the only thing we have. Hope is beautiful because It is what brought me closer to God. I found it in Him. I thought I lost hope but I realize it wasn’t mine to lose. It is what found me. It held on and it remains in us. Life is hard as we know it but if we focus more on the beautiful side of life, it will surely remain with us for all the days we are here. I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption and believed that the greater the setback, the greater the comeback.

Sometimes, there would just be days where you feel worthless and pressured. People who lack acknowledgment of self-worth tend to pursue the wrong set of ideals and inevitably lead themselves into their own demise. You can’t just expect other people to just believe that beauty is within. Beauty is subjective, due to the factors that might lead them to think that being beautiful is having a perfect body, they will believe that it is that and if they fail to achieve what they have in their minds, they will think they are not enough. We have to admit that even the most out-going people we know have some things about themselves that they are not completely satisfied with. It is natural for us to want to improve our features in some area about ourselves. If you would even think about it, you can consider it as being ambitious enough to be a better person. However, accepting things we lack and insecurities are totally different. It is insecurities that results from perceived weak character and lack of confidence, were they only focus on their imperfections and overlooking what is best about them. No one is safe with these crippling insecurities. We should start acknowledging that these things do hurt people and it can affect the way they view life and it could happen to anyone, it could be anyone who you would not even thought of. To your neighbor who smiles at you every time you would see each other on the street, to your friend who always checks on you, to your classmate who always laughs at your jokes and to you. And the most important thing is that it doesn’t have to stay that way. That help is available because we are able to offer it.

I have suffered this undeserving feeling in my High school days. Those years were the great challenges I thought I had worse, I was so overwhelmed with so many changes, then came pressure, constant worrying every time I go to class, uncertainty, fear and anxiety. Being under all of that, I couldn’t be more thankful I got through just fine. It happens to anyone. Some people believe they are not good enough, and that they are not performing well at school and the relationships with their family and friend could also be affected. That feeling won’t just go away with telling them to get over it. Well, that was my wish back then, to just get it over with. But to be free from the chains of insecurities took a lot of strength from me.

Now why am I saying this? This is one of the reasons why we have a difficult time to believe that we are beautiful. That beauty does lie within us and not just in material objects or external appearance. We already know that insecurities are rooted from low self-esteem and are more likely to engage the person in harmful coping behaviors. Still and all, it is not just the girls who are and could be a victim of this. Boys get affected as much too. Men also have the tendency to excessively worry about their image and body figure, which could also lead to depressive symptoms among the adolescents.

That’s why it is important to address this issues so it would not persist into their adulthood. There are a lot of potential harmful effect that comes with extreme low confidence. Depression is one of them, but they could also have trouble sleeping, constant irritability, lost passion and withdrawal from their family. This could also lead them to develop harmful coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or eating disorders, which make things worse thinking from where it escalated from.

It doesn’t hurt to help ensure peace of mind and to improve their self-esteem, eliminate negativity, even in the form of words and thoughts. Help people open up but not feel pressured to do so, it is one way to understand and support them when they are struggling about things that burden them. Don’t pressure them into doing things they are not prepared to do. Let them know you are open for communication without judgment, that if they are having trouble with something, they can ask for help and that they don’t have to take it all by themselves.

Most of the time, a person just need reassurance, not necessarily a constructive feedback and a hug. Lastly, help them work on their goals to achieve them. Even a simple motivation that will keep them doing their best is enough. Not being sure what you want to do is one of life’s biggest worries. No one knows what will happen next and that uncertainty can make a person feel helpless with no direction to follow, that they might feel they have become stagnant in life. Achieving a goal that you have set for yourself brings a feeling of high satisfaction that can build self-confidence. By setting and working on your objective in life and actually doing your best in different stuff, it all can help to bring a change in a person’s attitude and viewpoint on the world.

Remember that beauty is subjective. Consider their preference, culture and upbringing the next time you encounter someone with a whole new perspective about what they think is beautiful. Your judgment is unknown to them just as much theirs are unknown to you. Beauty is what’s on the inside and the genuine kind will captivate hearts because it is their hearts that are full of love and compassion. It is not just our bodies and physical appearance; it is undoubtedly more than just skin deep. Our beauty is unique yet complex but it doesn’t always have to be and that it exists everywhere. Indeed, the most beautiful things are not visible to the eyes but felt by the heart. 

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