I know so many young, beautiful people who only feel ugly, out of place, or insecure about their bodies.
And I think it’s worthwhile, learning to appreciate being young and beautiful – why? Because it’s precious? Yes. Because it won’t last? That’s half right. Youth doesn’t last.
But youth and beauty are two quite, quite different things. As are sex appeal and thinness. They might or might not occur together, but they are not the same.
And these beautiful young people, as we age, sooner or later it seems we come to realise – why didn’t I appreciate my beauty? I was so cute – why didn’t anyone tell me how cute I was? I hated my legs, or my belly, and look at these old photos – there isn’t a thing wrong with me. Why didn’t I realise?
But it’s not about appreciating your beauty because one day it’ll be gone – that’s simply another lie designed to keep you compliant and insecure. The fear that your beauty will evaporate – all this reveals is the continuous state of feeling bad about your body – in the past, the present and the future. This idea that you should “appreciate yourself now, because...” is based on the threat of future ugliness.
If you look back, and you see yourself as cute – why not now? Why is it lost? What is it about your character and uniqueness that you feel has vanished? It should not be “appreciate yourself now, because of the future”, it should be “appreciate yourself now, because of the now”.
It is hard to learn to appreciate being young when you’re young, and it’s hard to appreciate being old when you’re old. But the truth of ageing is only this: it’s the process of becoming the person you were always destined to become. There is nothing bad in this.
It’s difficult at all ages to appreciate yourself and be at peace with your body. We are told what beauty is, it’s crammed down our throats, and words like ‘criteria’ and ‘ugly’ are thrown about, and so it is hard for all of us to discover for ourselves, what we truly find beautiful. And of course, the way beauty is set up is temporal, elusive and standardised. It’s weird. Beauty may be these things, but it is so much more as well, and how did it possibly come to this – that we are required to try to look the same in the name of attractiveness?
There’s no such thing as criteria. If you limit your perception with preconception, you will never be surprised or engaged by anything new. Beauty is out there, our perception is our own, and it’s our choice – if we like – to seek beauty out, it’s not the job of beauty to present itself to us.
There is beauty to be found in youthfulness and age, in vulnerability and strength, in nature and in construction, in all hues, tones and colours, in texture, in softness and hardness and smooth lines and angular features. What is large may be majestic and what is small may be exquisite. It is not told to us, it is discovered.