Seeing beyond "everyone is beautiful"

While having coffee with a friend last weekend we talked about how many voices there are in the body positivity space.  I think that’s mostly a good thing--heck yes, let’s all work on this! And there is so much value in sharing our respective stories! But it can also feel scattered and hard to approach, difficult to know where to begin when it comes to healing our relationship with our bodies.  

It brings to mind the earliest memories I have of body positivity images, the kinds of things I now consider Intro to Body Positivity.  Think the kind of images you see featuring several women with different body types and different skin tones and a generic message to the tune of “everyone is beautiful.”  Which, yes, that’s great. And I do think that’s true. Beauty can be found in each and every one of us and personally I love that humans come in so many variations. But when I needed body positivity most, those messages did not serve me.  They rang false and shallow and did nothing to help.

The problem is the generic “everyone is beautiful” messages still operate within a framework that wants us all to feel our appearance is beautiful because that is how we feel included and worthy. They try to expand the definition of beauty without addressing why we all want to feel beautiful. Without addressing the fact we have been taught to tie our value to our appearance and that it doesn’t have to be that way. Until we begin to unravel the link between our appearance and our worth we will forever be trapped.  

So even though yes, I guarantee there is physical beauty to be found in every single person reading this, the real power comes when you realize whether you are beautiful or not, it does not impact your value as a person.  It does not dictate your worthiness. It does not make you a good or bad person. And realizing that is when freedom can be cultivated.

Jessie BarnesComment