What Does Beauty Mean to Me?

Beautiful Black woman sits on the concrete in yellow dress and red heels
I’ve always loved the famous phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford was a wise Irish writer who was far ahead of her time when she said that beauty is not an objective concept. She declared beauty to be subjective and to be a sole function of the eye of the beholder. I believe her, trust me I do, but in true Tofunmi fashion, I had too many follow-up questions...

The first being: If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, where’s mine? 

Where’s my beholder? 

Where’s the person, the best friend, the boy friend, the boyfriend who’s going to declare me beautiful? And when they have and when they’ve left, who will behold me then?

For most of my life, I have had this slight tendency to define myself in relation to those around me and so when I first tried to define what beauty meant to me, I hesitated. I’ve spent most of my adult years trying to accept my body’s inability to match our world’s ever-evolving beauty standards and I’ve spent a lot of time fighting to steal back my joy from comparison’s tight clutches. But by the grace of God, I have also spent my life surrounded by the loving and affirming words of my friends and family. When I want to convince myself of my beauty, I go back to these beholders and how they see me.

Recently, I’ve realized that people, even the best people, aren’t perfect. I can’t rely on their vision for how I see myself. I have to behold myself and I have to like what I see on my own and on the days when I can’t, I should learn to look up and allow the words of my Creator to encourage me.

A couple months ago, I had one of those days, you know the ones where you have the O.G. Taylor Swift sad songs on repeat, where you want to curl up in a ball and hide from all your responsibilities.

Spoiler Alert: I wasn't, LOL. He apparently did not belong with me. 

A beholder hadn’t beheld me the way I thought they would, they hadn’t treated me the way I believed I deserved to be seen and valued. I had my dark day of too much Netflix and being in my feelings. But the next day I wiped my tears because somewhere deep inside of me, I already knew how I deserved to be treated. I didn’t need anyone to tell me, I was convinced of my beauty and so I wrote these words in my journal:

“I am not beautiful because a man said so. I am not beautiful because of the compliments I’ve received from friends. I am not even beautiful because I feel beautiful. I am beautiful because I am beautiful. This beauty of mine is not conditional, it’s an established fact.”

Ladies, you are beautiful because you are beautiful, your beauty is you, it’s not a fixed picture or the words that were said about you, it’s a state of being.

If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I know what beauty is. It’s you. It’s me. It’s all of us. I am still learning to define beauty and to see it within myself but I do believe Margaret Hungerford had it right, my beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that beholder just happens to be me.

We asked 40 other women what beauty means to them. Follow @beblended.inc on Instagram for a weekly post on their responses.

About the Blogger: Tofunmi Akinlalu

A picture of Tofunmi in a black 'Faith' T-shirt smiling at the cameraThis article was written by our Blog Manager, Tofunmi Akinlalu. She is currently an engineering student at the University of Waterloo. When she's not drowning in engineering assignments, she enjoys writing and performing spoken word poetry. She is passionate about using all her creativity both as a writer and a future engineer to encourage, uplift and share her Christian faith with those around her. To read more of her work, follow her on Instagram @poetrybytofunmi and Facebook at Poetry by Tofunmi










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