What does it mean to be “beautiful”?
Merriam-Webster defines beauty as “an aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.”
These qualities make up two main forms of beauty: inner beauty and outer beauty. Outer beauty is sourced externally and is more widely recognized; inner beauty is natural, spiritual, subtle, deep, and tranquil and emanates from the soul and spirit. Both possess a magnetic and strong attractive force.
The world mostly focuses on the quest for outer beauty and seeks quick fixes and instant gratification in order to achieve it. On these terms, outer beauty can be bought, widely available through platforms promoting “ways to look better,” such as plastic surgery, selfie filters, Botox, fillers, and Spanx.
External beauty is determined by physical characteristics, such as a slender build; generous bosom; narrow waist; defined jawline; high cheekbones; angular nose; full lips; brightly colored eyes; long, thick, flowing hair; and an overall symmetrical, youthful appearance. With little emphasis on diet, spiritual meaning, or holistic lifestyle practices, this one-sided version of “beauty” has flourished.
Health-conscious people understand that beauty can occur on a much deeper level. They understand beauty to be a reflection of healthy living. To me, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, beauty is the combination of wholesome food and natural skincare products, amplified by an individual’s inner qualities shining through. Helping clients understand how to tap into and radiate their unique beauty is my ultimate passion.
Transforming our society’s understanding of beauty
Hollywood and the world of celebrities play a huge role in perpetuating the external-based chase for beauty, defining this beauty standard to the mainstream world and rewarding external images that have little to do with who a person truly is.
However, Hollywood-driven beauty has the potential to transform into more natural and organically inspired versions. With quarantine restrictions, virus threats, protests, and mandated mask wearing, who has time to get all “dolled up” anymore? Even celebrities, once hyperfocused on publicly displayed beauty trends and basking in the spotlight, now find themselves at home, shooting television segments in their pajamas and wearing masks in plain clothes, revealing themselves as they truly are and how they truly look.
According to David Wolfe, IIN visiting teacher and author of Eating for Beauty, the trend toward more simple and stay-at-home living will gradually re-enliven natural beauty, as people’s values shift back to family, home, and nature rather than the hustle and bustle of city living. “It’s been my prayer all along,” he says, “and I have high hopes based on the explosion of interest in gardening and tree planting, as well as beauty products free of harmful chemicals.”
He defines beauty as “something that comes from the inside out through clean and healthy living.” He says, “…to be beautiful, do beautiful things, eat fresh beautiful food, listen to beautiful sounds, utter beautiful words, and share beauty with others. For outside-in beauty, choose cosmetics and skincare products that reflect purity, cleanliness, and attention to detail that are entirely friendly to the environment and your body.” Ultimately, he says, natural beauty follows a directive that radiates from the soul and spirit.
His book The Beauty Diet also cites raw food nutrition, yoga, and sleep as major contributors to beauty. He says that different foods fuel different types of thoughts, potentials, and destinies and certain foods have different qualities and beautifying elements within them, such as charisma, charm, and magnetism. Eating for beauty, therefore, becomes a practice of consistent eating of clean and beautifying foods.
How to cultivate inner beauty, including spiritual beauty
Inner beauty is cultivated through mind, body, soul, essence, and true self-realization. Inner beauty says its true source can only be within and sees beauty as love and light, spiritual presence, and a gentle quiet spirit. On this level, beauty is earned by refining the person inside first, which can then attract beauty.
Nadine Artemis, author of Renegade Beauty and creator of Living Libations, a luxury line of organic wild-crafted non-GMO serums, elixirs, and essential oils, says: “Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder and is as personal and varied as our fingerprints. The key is for people to feel confident in their beauty and love the skin they’re in.” She, too, would like to see a shift away from industrialized beauty toward something more nature-driven.
Her renegade beauty philosophy says that “true beauty, healthy and lasting, is expressed from within when nurtured by nature.” She explains that “when everything artificial, contrived, and synthetic falls away, the breathability and the beauty of nature can shine through.”
Spiritual beauty, one aspect of inner beauty, is greatly enhanced through a healthy mind, body, and soul connection. This type of beauty is considered the most radiant of all as it comes from the person’s character rather than an outward appearance.
Here are some tips for enhancing your spiritual beauty:
- Nourish your spirit.
- Cleanse your heart daily.
- Apply forgiveness.
- Practice self-love.
- Cultivate patience.
- Never worry.
- Have faith.
- Receive, appreciate, and share.
Even more ways to connect to your inner beauty for greater overall health
Some of the ways I connect to my inner beauty include:
- Using coconut oil as a moisturizer – Coconut oil helps connect me to my tropical environment and feels organic and natural in its texture.
- Drinking green juice as often as possible – Green juice feels like liquid beauty in a glass.
- Eating fresh salad daily – Eating fresh salad feels like oxygen for my cells.
- Incorporating aloe into my routine – Ingesting aloe orally and topically straight from the leaf feels profoundly healing and restores beauty from the inside out.
- Putting antioxidant superfood boosts in my smoothie – These include spirulina and camu camu.
- Using handmade soaps from natural ingredients, which adds ultra-nourishment.
- Living an authentic life that connects me to my existence.
Whether you do one, two, or all of the above, it’s about finding what connects you to your own beauty. Making these kinds of personal discoveries translates into true beauty that reflects in everything you do, from your interactions with yourself to those with others and the world around you. It is a journey worth taking and a huge part of understanding your bio-individuality, the concept that your health is based on what foods and lifestyle practices work for you (and you only!).
Here are some simpler approaches to start cultivating your personal beauty:
- Drink more water, which keeps the skin hydrated and makes the skin firmer and fuller.
- Get restful sleep, which keeps cortisol (the stress hormone) levels down.
- Decrease alcohol and reduce consumption of processed ingredients.
- Try aromatherapy, which can have both physical and emotional healing effects.
- Facial massage, which keeps the skin looking younger and brings blood flow to the capillaries.
How we nourish ourselves inside and out is not only the path to everlasting beauty but also the best way to protect ourselves from developing chronic conditions that leave us susceptible to viruses and other life-threatening diseases. Many don’t understand that fueling your body right from the inside out is key to showing up in the world as the best version of yourself, which includes both how other people see you and, more importantly, how you see yourself.
Do any of these approaches resonate with you? What is truly beautiful to you? Share with us on Instagram @nutritionschool