What Is Beauty?

April 27, 2015

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I could talk about beauty, what it is in reality versus what the media and society say it is. I or anyone else could tell you a thousand times you are beautiful and you may come to believe this, know this, and understand it, but the truth is that unless you know your value, you will never truly inhabit and embrace your beauty, your real beauty.

We are human beings who generally call beautiful that which we find pleasing to the eye. There is nothing wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with preferring one aesthetic over another. There is nothing wrong with identifying what we are uncomfortable with and wanting to improve upon it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be desired. The problem arises when we believe that apart from these things we have a lesser or no value at all.

I was raped as a small child. I can remember being 8 or 9 years old and saying to myself, “I could be a prostitute and thoroughly enjoy it. I could do that easily.” I thought about it for a moment and replied to myself, “No. That’s not who I want to be. There is more for me than simply enjoying sex and using it to be powerful.”

There is a common misunderstanding that all people who have been taken advantage of sexually, at whatever age, are afraid of sex, have low self-esteem, become men/women haters, avoid intimate relationships, turn promiscuous, or are forever scarred by the abuse. Don’t get me wrong, such gross mistreatment does have its effects, but each person processes it in their own way.

For me, being thrust into an adult world at way too young of an age made me very aware of the pleasure my body was able to give me. I did not fear it. I actually fully embraced it, which is why I even contemplated how I could enjoy being a prostitute. However, my saving grace was that I somehow knew the “more for me” that there was involved being treasured, respected, and valued apart from and in spite of any physical characteristic or lack thereof.

Any form of abuse lacks being treasured, respected, and valued, and I knew I needed to know, and I mean deep to my core know, my value. My young self decided that very same day that before I willingly entered into sexual relationships that I had to find my value in who I was or else many things would have the power to be my ruin. Being robbed of my inherent right to being valued was simply not an option. I was made for more than that.

So while my peers ventured into and out of relationships and experimented sexually I went in search of my true self. This led me into a deep spiritual relationship with my Creator and in that I came to truly understand that I am enough–apart from anyone or anything.

I was shown how I was fashioned with not one mistake, and that that is what makes me valuable. There is great intention to every part of me. This makes me want to live to the fullest every part of myself. It makes me want to work hard at working out or overcoming the kinks that threaten to get in the way of this. It makes me want to take care of myself-mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is hard work. It requires constant self-evaluation, hard life choices to keep my space clear of things or people who eat away at my value, and a dedication to taking care of myself physically, whatever that means for me.

So what is my point in sharing that very personal detail of my life and how does it relate to my opening question of what beauty is?

Natural beauty, powerful beauty, doesn’t originate in having a certain form or feature. It comes from knowing who you are, who you were made to be, and that there is absolutely no mistake in the way you were crafted. You are enough. You are highly valued. You are beautiful.

© Emily Tavis 2015. All rights reserved.
Photo © Emily Tavis

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