Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What is beauty? How Lupita Nyong'os answer will change you.

How many of you look in the mirror and wish there was something different about the way you looked? Maybe you wish you had a smaller nose? fuller lips? thinner? better hair? As women, we have all done this at one point or another. In today's society we are bombarded with pressure to look like our favorite celebrities, to mimic what is perceived as beautiful from media.  Nowadays with social media, the pressure is outstanding. You need to have perfect looking selfies in your bikini and workout wear. Your hair needs to be long, full and perfectly coiffed, while your eyebrows should be perfectly trimmed and "painted" in. We have become such a narcissistic society that we have forgotten and failed to remember what the meaning of beauty really is.  That beauty is, above all else, unique to the individual. It's cliched to say it but, beauty does come from the inside. It is the compassion that you show to the world, that makes you beautiful, not how perfect your hair looks or what designer you are wearing.

Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o, gave a speech recently at The 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon about the perception of beauty. It was the most eloquent and beautiful speech that anyone in Hollywood has ever given. She broke down the perception of beauty for all of us, and talked about the pressures that Hollywood often gives us to look a certain way.

" I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before"

How many of you read that and it breaks your heart just a little? I know when I read it, it did for me. The reason is because we've all done it. Whether in your adolecense, your adulthood, or now, we've all looked in the mirror and prayed that something would be better, that god would make us look better. We've prayed to look prettier. 
At some point you begin to realize that God ( or the universe) has always had a plan, and that you are uniquely you.  

"And my mother again would say to me, "You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you." And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be. And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What does sustain us... what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. "

Beauty is what is found on the inside. What a concept. What a brave and beautiful thing to say to all of Hollywood and young girls everywhere. Beauty can not be achieved by what you look like on the outside, it can only be achieved by showing others your unique special gift that each and everyone of us carries. The business of being beautiful inside. 

 "And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty. "

I hope you share this with your friends, and your daughters. Start the conversation on what it means to be beautiful on the inside. What do you do on a daily basis that shares your unique special gifts? What makes you beautiful? and it has nothing to do with what you look like.

That's a tough question to answer, but there is an answer. Think about it. ;) To read Lupita's entire speech, click here. 

Keeping you Stylish (and thinking)

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