What is Beauty?

Flower by mirror

This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

Katie Monsewicz is an avid writer and practicing journalist who has been through The Emily Program’s residential treatment program. She wants to help others who have struggled with eating disorders and those who are still struggling—through her writing and as an advocate for eating disorder recovery.

I think a lot of young women these days believe beauty can be bottled. Or fit into little squares of colorful compacted powder. Or melted into a tube of matte wax.

Every social media feed I jump into, I’m “graced” with Kim Kardashian’s body. I’m “blessed” by Kylie Jenner’s lips. I’m “shocked” by Angelina Jolie’s striking features. I’m “mesmerized” by Jennifer Aniston’s perfect skin.

Oh, what are these words? No I’m not any of that! I’m straight-up, no-lying jealous! And that jealousy forces you to want to be like them and when you want to be like them, you start buying their products, wearing their clothes, and spritzing on their perfume.

There have been movements and still are some that push for beauty in all shapes and sizes, in all tones and tints, in all voices and values. But are they working? We are seeing diverse models front-and-center “werking” their stuff on the runway, posing fiercely in a photoshoot, or singing with voices like velvet before a whole crowd. And we applaud them. We really do.

Beauty isn’t about who is in the magazine. Beauty isn’t about ranking women or telling girls they need to have idols to grow up to be like.

I don’t believe comparing ourselves to others is the right way to feel beautiful. But I won’t lie. I compare myself to other women every time I walk down the street or mosey down the walkways in a shopping mall. At some point, you have to stop yourself and ask, “Where is the mirror? I have to check this and that and this and those and…” UGH! Can we puh-LEASE stop it with the look-alike games?

To find our own beauty—I mean our OWN and not some celebrity-else’s—we often have to look inside ourselves. Go ahead and take a long, hard look at a picture of you celebrating your 12th birthday. You couldn’t be happier. You’re parading around the place in your favorite dress and smiling like the whole world is watching you be you and you’re proud of it.

Did you see what I did there?

The beauty you are looking for isn’t in your appearance. It’s in how you feel. In this past photo, you felt beautiful because you weren’t haunted by this “uncaring care” that you have to fit a mold.

Kim Kardashian knows you want to be like her. Kylie Jenner knows. All these celebrities know you want to be like them. But they were once like you too, you know? They were insecure. They had idols. And you know what? They don’t look just like their childhood idols. Kim Kardashian, in particular, has broken through and evolved beauty standards over her years in the spotlight. I’m not saying it will take years for you to feel beautiful. I’m saying that you can feel beautiful without comparing yourself to others and thinking you have to follow someone else’s footsteps. Because it’s impossible anyway–you can only be you.

You can step off the path because that’s where your heart tells you to go. In beauty, there is love for the self. And in love, there is a heart that recognizes this beauty.

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