We've Lost Sight of What Beautiful Really Means

Eat yourself beautiful.

Decorate beautifully.

Feeling the pressure to be beautiful?

To have a beautiful home?

To live a beautiful life?

To wear beautiful clothes?

To buy beautiful things?

When I was a child beautiful was a word used that was used to describe princesses and film stars, real people were pretty or attractive, maybe even gorgeous, but beautiful was reserved for the beauty queens. (And turkeys, remember that ad, “they’re booti-ful”)

Times have changed. The word beautiful is omnipresent now, it’s ascribed to everything and we’re guided how to improve the beauty of our drab lives by books, magazines and websites.

And in all this talk of “being beautiful” the definition of the word beautiful seems to have been skewed, and somehow, somewhere along the line replaced with an impossible idea of perfection. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is subjective but the picture of beauty we see is bright and white and clean.

The idea of perfection and beautiful being the same thing just didn’t sit right with me, and I started to doubt myself. Then,  I took the time to check what “beautiful” actually means, maybe I had it all wrong.. (Yes, I googled, yes, I’m a word nerd)

The Oxford Dictionary definition of beautiful is “pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically.”

Not just the sight, all seven senses, and the mind too. What a revelation!

 

Beauty is not perfection, it’s pleasing.

Words are powerful, and letting these new ideas of “beautiful” embed is dangerous, there’s the risk that those who are not perfect, or who consider themselves not perfect will also consider themselves not beautiful.

So, I’m proposing a taking back of beautiful. Everything pleasing to the senses or the mind is beautiful again, like it should be. Not just things that are white and shiny or that have clear lines or expensive price tags.

A beautiful life is pleasing, it doesn’t just look good, it sounds good, feels good, and is good.

Look at your own life, is it pleasing? Sure there might be room for improvement but on the whole aren’t there beautiful bits?

My beautiful life is chaotic. My beautiful home is cluttered and sticky, there are no clean lines, no mirrored surfaces (except the mirrors in between the fingerprints).My beautiful life is good and  happy,  but not perfect.

While I admire the homes that are sold to me by magazines as “beautiful” I know they look that way from afar, but they’re not home so they’re not pleasing to me.

My life, my home, my clothes won’t be featuring in an interiors magazine or a fashion spread any time soon but it’s my kind of beautiful.

Let’s reclaim the word beautiful and use it as it’s meant to be.

What’s #reallybeautiful to you ?

 

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14 thoughts on “We've Lost Sight of What Beautiful Really Means

  1. Cannot tell you how much I love this. So fed up with being told how to ‘live beautifully’ and how to ‘eat myself beautiful’ ( like seriously!!!!!) Beautiful has become so depressingly one dimensional, there is no room for layers of loveliness, for quirks and uniqueness, it’s so bloody prescriptive, a horrible notion of one size fits all. To see someone happy in their own skin, so watch someone own the space they live in, that’s what’s #reallybeautiful to me.

    1. Love it. It was hard to write this without using all the clichés, but it’s absolutely true, there are so many different things that make people beautiful, from kindness to confidence. I wish we could forget this “new beautiful”.

  2. Great post. Beautiful for me is going to bed each night, thinking of my children and OH and thinking ‘Isn’t life beautiful?’
    I also think the same is true for ‘happy’. We now expect to be happy 24/7 each moment should make us happy, our jobs, our relationships, our holidays, leisure, time out and friends. Our tolerance for ‘unhappiness’ is not only zero but we assume something is wrong unless we are happy. Modern day Happy and Beautiful are exhausting and unreal, IMHO.

    1. Thanks Tric, that’s a really good point, we all want to be happy but you can’t keep that high level of happiness 24/7 or you take it for granted. Exhausting is right.

  3. What a great post Sinéad. I agree with you and I know this drives my mother crazy too, along with “amazing”, “incredible” and “awesome”.
    The word is becoming such a dangerous place to be if you are not careful about what you read into things. I totally agree with what you say about people possibility feeling they are not beautiful because they don’t live up to the perfection classed as beauty.

    1. Amazing is way overused, I agree. I mean my dinner is good but not amazing. I’m fascinated by the development of language, I wonder what word will be in vogue next?

  4. Love this Sinead and so glad you put a thought process I’ve had for a while into words. Life is beautiful to everyone in their own way, mine is beautiful, so far from perfect and a constant work in progress but to me it’s beautiful and there are most certainly no clean lines or mirrored surfaces in my house.

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