a glowing orb in a pendant with a copper wire wrap
Image by CJ from Pixabay

Narrated by Marie T. Russell.

Video version

Editor's Note: While this article is written "for women", it can also be read and adapted to the male gender, as "beauty" is not restricted only to the female gender -- and self-empowerment applies to all.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen, nor even touched,
but just felt in the heart.”

                                               — Helen Keller

Definition of beauty: "that which gives
the highest degree of pleasure
to the senses or the mind..." 
                      -- Merriam-Webster dictionary

I felt so ugly when my husband left me. I felt so rejected that there was no blush, no cover-up, and no Botox that would give me a lift. I needed to redefine what beauty meant to me to see if beauty could become "that which gives pleasure to my senses or my mind." as Merriam-Webster suggested. How could I feel whole as I walk out my door, go to work, and interact with the world without finding a way to embrace my true beauty?

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I had nowhere else to turn. So, one day in October, I decided to explore beauty as that which was pleasurable to me and nobody else, just to see what would happen. I sat for a while, thinking about what gave me pleasure and what gave me pain.

I was fully aware of the fact that the socially constructed idea of beauty was creating a lot of pain for me and not much pleasure. I started to question what my true beauty was. If I experienced my true beauty, how would I feel inside? I truly believed that I would feel pleasure and peace. I would feel whole. I would feel more freedom.

As I was playing with this idea, I decided to take a walk outside. It was a beautiful day, and it felt more like summer than fall. During my walk, I saw a young woman coming toward me. She was the pic­ture of what I believed the media and mainstream culture would tell me is beauty. She had tanned skin, was blonde and skinny, and her toned, trim midriff was showing. I noticed that I thought to myself, almost below a conscious level, Oh, that's how I should look. How come I don't look that way? How can I try to look that way? I thought, How will people ever like me? How will men be attracted to me? What if I don't measure up to that standard of beauty?

As this young woman approached, I noticed all of this running through my mind, but I managed to stop this train of thought. I asked myself: "What is the real definition of beauty?" The answer came: that which gives pleasure to my senses or my mind.

When I looked at the woman through this lens, her image, while nice enough, gave me no more pleasure than I felt looking at the buildings all around me or the cars in the street. So, if her image gave me no particular pleasure, for me it was not the definition of beauty.

I am not saying that my husband or my brother or another man on the street might not look at her and feel pleasure from the way she looked, but it is not for us to tell someone else what beauty is for them. It is only our job to feel what beauty is for us.

When I looked at this woman, I did not think ill of her or judge her, I just didn't feel any pleasure. For me, her blonde, fit, and tanned appearance didn't represent beauty. This realization was huge for me. I was able to recognize that what many people were telling me was beautiful, never resonated with me. It had never felt right for me. And once that awareness came to me, I was able to figure out what was beautiful to me, what mattered to me, and what made me feel whole.

Finding Our Own Definitions of Beauty

Your image of what the media and mainstream culture tell you is beauty might be different than mine. But whatever our images might be, finding our own definitions of beauty could be a new measuring stick for all of us.

If we can redefine our beauty based on what gives us pleasure, we are not fighting with the messaging from the out­side world anymore. We have a new metric, and it is about our own senses. This connects us to how we truly feel. It has us asking our­selves the question, "What gives me pleasure?"

When you find your true definition of beauty, you will have less conflict inside of yourself. You will start to see your value differently. You will become whole, and this wholeness will generate a new light within you, a new place from which to manifest a new strength and power. And when you go out into the world with your authentic idea of beauty, you will attract things into your life that align with you.

Rejection vs. Self-Love

Of course, we can still be rejected because of someone else's idea of beauty. But the point is that we won't be rejecting ourselves, as that, after all, is a form of the ultimate pain. We can leave a situation or a person, or they can leave us, but we can never get away from ourselves.

It is very painful to live a life where our inner joy is dictated by something out of our control. And that's the thing. Nothing is permanent except one thing -- the love we have for ourselves.

The love we have for ourselves can last a lifetime. The love we have for ourselves can build our resilience as we give ourselves permission to have the most fabulous experiences because we aren't afraid. When we aren't afraid of showing up and accessing our unlimited potential, we are comfortable with who we are.

I know many people might be afraid to let go of all the things we need to do to be "beautiful" in our society -- the hair, the makeup, the nails, the plastic surgery, etc. -- and I am not saying that those things can't bring you legitimate pleasure. I am not saying you shouldn't do those things, and I am not saying that doing all of those things is not a true expression of yourself.

I am just asking you to go back and define beauty for yourself, to align your definition with your senses, to align it with what you find pleasurable, and then go out into the world. You will experience so much less suffering and so much less self-rejection when you figure out what is pleasurable for you. And only you. Everyone has a different definition of beauty. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

The Freedom of Self-Empowerment

The minute we stop believing in society's definition of beauty, we gain more freedom. We think we need to look a certain way to get a guy or get a job, but all we need to do is empower ourselves and define our own idea of beauty.

Once you empower yourself in every aspect of your life, you don't need a man to take care of you. You learn to take care of yourself at home and at work. Then, if you choose to have a relationship, it is based on your empowered choice. There is nothing more attractive than a woman who loves herself and embraces her own beauty, who has created a life that she chooses, which gives her pleasure.

When you are totally comfortable with how you look, that power fuels your choices to work for a corporation, start your own business, or do whatever you need to achieve your goals. It is one less thing holding you back.

Will you get less attention from men if you don't conform to a certain standard of beauty? Maybe. But who do you need to please in this lifetime? How will you live a fully realized life with internal peace, creativity, and self-love if you don't play by your own rules?

The best part is that when you see and express your own beauty, those who can see it too will be attracted to you and come into your life. You will be at peace to be your best self and be with others who recognize you. Living this way opens your heart and unleashes your creativity and strength, giving you the authentic power to pursue and achieve your goals.

The absolute truth is that you are beautiful just the way you are and that when you see this, nothing can hold you back. Discovering your own beauty helps you depend on yourself, and not another person, to live your life. That is real safety, real value, and can only lead to real happiness, real success, and more true beauty in your life!

Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission.
Published by Skyhorse Publishing.

Article Source

A Year without Men: A Twelve-Point Guide to Inspire & Empower Women
by Allison Carmen

book cover of A Year without Men: A Twelve-Point Guide to Inspire + Empower Women by Allison CarmenUsing the events of a very painful year in her own personal and professional life—her husband left her, her consulting business took an unexpected hit, and she faced a serious health scare—business consultant and life strategist Allison Carmen explores the forces in women’s personal and professional lives that hold us back.

In A Year without Men, she offers twelve simple, practical tools to help us look within, find our own values, morals, and passions, work on our skills, call on other women, and forge new ways to do business. Together, we can create a new way to earn money, a new way to look at beauty, and so many other new ways to be in the world. 

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Allison CarmenAllison Carmen holds a B.A. in accounting, a J.D. of Law, and a Master's of Law in taxation. After working for a large law firm in Manhattan, she founded her own law firm and built a successful practice focusing on real estate, corporate, mergers and acquisitions, and taxation. After 15 years of practicing law, Allison transitioned her practice into business consulting, business coaching, and life coaching. Allison is also the part-time CFO of The Motherhood Center, a mission-driven female-run day hospital for women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Allison is the author of The Gift of Maybe: Offering Hope and Possibility in Uncertain Times, and A Year Without Men, A Twelve Point Guide to Inspire and Empower Women. Allison's podcast, 10 Minutes To Less Suffering, focuses on helping people alleviate daily stress and worry. She also writes for several large online publications, including Psychology Today, and is sought after guest on radio and other online media platforms. She is also a certified health coach and Reiki master.

Visit her website at http://www.allisoncarmen.com

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