What is beauty? (…and it has nothing to do with being strong, sexy, or skinny)

by danielle on February 7, 2013

We’ve all seen it…the new strong is the new sexy campaigns, pictures of women who are strong but nothing near skinny. We’re moving in the right direction right?! Maybe. I have mixed thoughts on this. To me the focus is still being placed on the body, we are just aiming to achieve a different ideal body type. But lets be real, no one person looks exactly the same. Some women are skinny with little effort at all and would do anything to gain a little weight or put on muscle. Other women are a bit heavier than they would wish and are always hoping to lose a couple pounds. But think about it, how many women have you met who are completely 100% happy with their bodies just the way they are? To be honest, I’ve met very few.

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For me, I have been working hard the past few years to redefine my definition of beauty. Maybe beauty has nothing to do with how we look or how much we weigh. Do we really boil down as people to just a number on a scale. Think about it. I would much rather be a genuinely nice, positive, happy person, than I would beautiful and the “perfect” weight. In fact, I at one point in my life have been a weight I would consider “perfect” for me and I was miserable. So do you pick misery and external beauty, or beauty that radiates from internal happiness. From my experience when I started focusing more on making myself internally happy I began to “feel” more beautiful. I’m always going to look somewhat the same but my outlook on how I view myself can change my appearance on a daily basis.

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I almost feel cliché to say this but how would you treat a best friend, your sister, or your mother if she gained weight? Would she be any less beautiful? Would you love her any less? My own nutrition coach and mentor, once told me to imagine if I had someone following me around all day saying the things to me I say to myself. What a bitch she would be! I could never imagine looking at my sister and telling her she is ugly, so why then do I do the same to myself?  If I were to meet a new person would I judge her by the way she looked or the way she treated me? I hope you agree with me that it is the latter. Hang around with any person who is pretty but totally rude long enough and her beauty will fade, but hang around the nicest person in the world and I guarantee she will become more beautiful the more you know her. I want you to think about this and in the comments below tell me one thing that you find beautiful about yourself that has nothing to do with external beauty.

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucie February 7, 2013 at 9:35 am

Love this post Danielle! So beautifully put. I definitely think that our beauty comes mainly from the inside, because that’s actually what people see. Our smile. Our positivity. Our self-confidence. I love my wrinkles around my eyes, cause they show a life full of laughter.

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Thank you Lucie! I love that. What a great sign of a life well lived!

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Nadja February 7, 2013 at 10:19 am

This is such a beautiful post! I really like the last paragraph of it: i actually never thought of it like that, and it’s a wonderful idea to try talkingto ourselves as if we were talking to others!!

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Thanks so much Nadja!

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Shannon@ A Pinch of Ginger February 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

This is a beautiful post and so honest! I love it and I wish more women would think this way!!

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Thanks so much Shannon!

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Greta February 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for posting this, Danielle. I wish every single person read this. Unfortunately, in our culture, the standard of beauty is thinness to the point of anorexia, or recently over exercising and the answer to life’s problems is always in something you don’t have, don’t know, or need to buy. Quiet self-reflection, being kind to yourself, and doing what’s best for you – even if it doesn’t meet cultural measures of beauty or success – are foreign concepts. To discuss them is like speaking Croatian in Chinatown – unless you find others with the same need to reflect and take care of themselves, too. I’m so happy there are people like you – showing the essence of happiness and heath, and encouraging that too.

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Thank you so much Greta! You are so kind and I love your outlook!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I love this post! I have a problem with the whole “Strong is the new sexy” movement too because it still places an emphasis on our bodies. It’s so much more important to love ourselves as a person and be happy with who we are. I love my hardworking nature – my boss has complimented me on it at work and it makes me feel awesome! :D

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I couldn’t agree more Chelsea!

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Miz February 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm

you KNOW I agree.
and you KNOW I SO OVERRANTED about this monday too :0)

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I do! I loved your post too!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. February 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I really loved this post, Danielle. That part about having someone follow you around, saying all the mean things you say to yourself, totally resonated with me. Wow. I’m definitely going to remember that whenever I find myself being overly critical of my appearance. You’re so right that the person we are inside is so much more important than what we look like, and I really feel as though too often we sacrifice who we are on the inside just to fit into a pair of smaller jeans.

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I totally agree with you Amanda! The things we sacrifice just to be thin is often way too much!

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Linz @ Itz Linz February 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm

AWESOME post!! Such good points made!!

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Thanks Linz!

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl February 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Beauty = being confident in who you are, and loving both your strengths and your “flaws.” Beauty = consistently trying to better yourself in positive ways and being the best you that you can be. Beauty = being a nice, kind, and loving person without being hurtful or judgmental. There are so many ways to be beautiful without focusing one single bit on physical appearance. Awesome post! :)

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I love that! Thanks Hannah!

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Dawn February 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

We are so hard on ourselves. I had to ask a friend of mine last year if I looked like she did in (XYZ) pictures what she would say about my body and her words changed. She was much nicer to “me” than she was to herself. It really opened both her eyes and mine.

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm

What a great exercise! It really is true. We are often so much nicer to everyone else than we are to ourselves.

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Kim@hungryhealthygirl February 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm

You are so smart!!! I think my loyalty and friendship are beautiful!

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Thanks Kim! I couldn’t agree with you more! You are such a great person!

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Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots February 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

great post! seems like we are on the same wave length today :)

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

We definitely are! I loved your post too!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance February 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Fabulous post, Danielle! If I take a moment to really reflect on who I consider to be the beautiful people in my life . . . they are all positive, self-less, caring and full-of-life. It has nothing to do with outward beauty at all.

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Thanks Michelle! I couldn’t agree with you more!

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Kierston February 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Beauty comes from within :)

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Totally agree!

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Lisa February 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Love you for posting this!! Such a great post beauty! You are absolutely right in everything you said!
Who we are on the inside is such an important quality, and that is the ultimate thing I look for in friends, or other relationships. As much as outer appearance is important, it’s what’s on that inside of a person that really counts and you are a beautiful person inside and out! xox

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I totally agree Lisa! Thank you so much!

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Katie February 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Such a beautiful post and so true!

Beauty is skin deep! A beautiful heart is something I value, I surround myself with people who are beautiful!

I can’t stand people who are beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside, makes them not beautiful at all, Inner beauty is the key!

<3

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I completely agree Katie! Inner beauty really is what matters.

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Kloe @ Running Shoes & Chocolate Mousse February 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

This post made my day, and I really really admire what you’re advocating here- loving ourselves for our worthwhile qualities, the good person we are; and that our worth is never defined by the number on a scale or whether we’ve gained or lost a few pounds.
I think this is something all women need to take on board, and if we’re able to shift our focus on the unique, beautiful person we are, we will all be much more content in life :)

All the women in my life that I would call beautiful are all passionate, loving, determined and strong. that’s what real beauty is!

Kloe x

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danielle February 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Thanks so much Kloe! I’m so glad you liked the post and can relate to what true beauty is!

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Sarah February 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

This is a great post, and I agree 100%. I love how you say “To me the focus is still being placed on the body, we are just aiming to achieve a different ideal body type.” This is SOOO completely true. I think that we need to stop focusing on what we look like and start focusing on what we can do, what we are capable of as individuals. The whole “I want to look smaller, bigger, more muscular, stronger” thing has got to go. And I say look, because if the individual happen’s to want to be stronger ect. for PURE health related reasons than ok, but that’s rarely the case.

I have to agree with you on the point that our “perfect” weight typically feels like crap, sure we think it’s where we should be but is it really? No. I know that when I reached that low number I sought after for years I felt miserable, grumpy, tired, and an all around mess. Only now when focusing on performance I’m beginning to feel better.

Beauty is taking care of oneself and not allowing external physique to limit ones capabilities and/or self-esteem. I beleive that my ability to just keep going and fighting is beautiful.

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Yes! Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. I couldn’t agree more! I love making goals based purely on what I can do (such as X amount of pull ups or deadlifting X amount of weight) because it has absolutely nothing to do with how I will look as and end result and it is completely in my control! I love how you say beauty is taking care of oneself! Love that!

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Alysia @ Slim Sanity February 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm

love this post <3 I couldn't agree more that beauty is too well focused on body image, making women less confident which affects all aspects of life

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Thanks Alysia!

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Nicola Madore February 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Beautiful Post, thank-you for this!

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Thanks Nicola!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset February 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

A most interesting and beautiful (sorry had to say it!) post! I mean that Danielle and this sort of topic hits closer to home as I grow older and realize how much more this simple word actually means! It’s words like yours that remind me of such a thing

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Thank you Tessa! I’m so glad that you are reaching out to understand this concept more. Because no matter what you look like you will always be a beautiful person :)

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Laury February 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm

What an absolutely beautiful, well writtenpost, Danielle! I love it. Every woman should take this to heart!

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Thank you so much Laury!

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GiGi Eats Celebrities February 8, 2013 at 1:18 am

To me, CONFIDENCE is BEAUTY!!!! :D

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

YES!!! Agreed!

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Brittany @ Delights and Delectables February 8, 2013 at 1:47 am

I love this!!! My hubby and I were talking about this very thing the other day. Beautifully put my dear!

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Thanks so much Brittany!

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Ashlee@ABpetite February 8, 2013 at 2:48 am

First time to your blog. So sweet and so true!! Love the post. So happy to have found you will def be back often!
XO

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Thanks so much Ashlee! I’m so happy you found me and enjoyed the post :)

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Jessie February 8, 2013 at 3:15 am

Such a beautiful and honest post. I really wish more women wouldn’t be so hard on themselves, and just see the beauty within themselves <3

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I agree Jessie. It really is sad how many women are just not happy with the way they look

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Chelsa February 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I love your site design. I enjoyed this post too.

I know the feeling of having my ideal body but also being completely miserable.

I am guilty of being the honest friend. If my friends tell me they want to lose weight and then I watch them eat an entire pizza, I’ll definitely remind them of their goal. My best friend just had a baby and she doesn’t feel comfortable with her body right now. I text her everyday and encourage her to workout and eat right and she appreciates that. A lot of my girlfriends say that I motivate them to be healthier (not skinnier or stronger) so I take that as a compliment.

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

That is great! Having a friend’s support is so important! I think you have it just right too. You are encouraging them to be healthier and therefore happier with themselves and that is awesome :)

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Katie February 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Danielle, looks like you hit a nerve! Very powerful stuff.

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danielle February 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Thanks Katie! Stay safe in the storm!

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Melissa @ Fit 'n' Well Mommy February 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

Great post; so well said! Beauty is definitely too much about image and appearance, thanks to the lovely media. To me, beauty comes from within…how giving, caring and loving someone is. The most beautiful people I know are my mom and my grandma, not because of their looks, but because of who they are, and how much they give to everyone around them.

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danielle February 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Love this! How sweet!

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Caitlin February 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Oh Danielle, these personal posts from you make me so happy every time because I see how much you help others and know I can relate to you even more each day. You’re so right, spot-on, I remember being at my most “beautiful” weight or not EVEN, and I was miserable and hungry and so sick. I find myself torn between being glad that strong is the new sexy and not skinny…and being disappointed that, as you said, it’s still a body ideal and based on outward appearance. After all building the kind of muscle I see on these Pinspiration pictures is not really natural or possible unless you do the supplements, the powders, etc that I refuse to do. I like my real food and that’s me, I try not to feel too pressured by this new ideal. My goal is to transform my definition of beauty to the body I have when I am happiest with my fitness/food routine, I don’t want to shape that routine to a body type that will make me feel beautiful. It should be based on happiness.

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danielle February 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I think your goal is spot on! We should all strive to be happy! Not look a certain way. You are already beautiful just the way you are! The happier you become the more you glow!

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Rachel @ Healthy Chicks February 10, 2013 at 2:07 am

Beautiful post from a beautiful lady! Very well said Danielle! I agree 100% with all of this… Inner beauty is the most beautiful of all :)

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danielle February 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Thanks so much Rachel! That means a lot!

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Danica @ It's Progression February 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I love this post, and that saying “Inner beauty never needs makeup” really resonates with me…Honestly, I struggle with that comparison trap mindset much more often than I’d like to ever admit. I’ve at least gotten to a point where I know that it’s doing me no good and has to stop, and just knowing that helps my outlook improve…It’s a work in progress.

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danielle February 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I am the worst with comparison too but I think the fact that you recognize you do it is already a step in the right direction! You will get there :)

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