We Need a Deeper Idea of Beauty

Words—the ones we hear and the ones we say—shape our thinking. As children, one of the first things we’re taught about words are the “opposites.” We’re taught that cold is the opposite of hot, that up is the opposite of down, and that day is the opposite of night. These opposite words—that say things are one way or the other—shape the way we see the world. They also shape the way we see ourselves.

Consider these questions: Are you young or old? Are you smooth or rough? Are you perfect or flawed?

These are very unfair questions! We need to stop asking them.

When we think about beauty on less of a true-or-false basis, we may find we focus less on what we wish we looked like, or what isn’t working, and more on what makes us (and those around us) feel happy, healthy, and strong.

Questions to Ask

Try this: Instead of double or triple checking yourself in the mirror in the morning—run through a “deeper beauty checklist” before heading out the door in the morning. Here’s a short list based around a series of questions:

  • What is going to make me laugh today?
  • What simple thing brings me joy right now?
  • What do I love about being alive?
  • What challenges have I overcome?
  • What am I looking forward to in the future?
  • What can I do today to be myself?
  • What can I give to the world today?
  • What is one brave thing I can do today?

If some of these questions help you see a deeper and more complicated beauty in yourself and in the world, great!—that’s the point of this exercise. Throw out the questions that don’t seem to work for you, and write new ones.

The next time you look in the mirror, you might just see a beautiful, new person winking back at you.

See more tips on getting to know and love the real you in the video: