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Adebimpe Alafe: Loving Your Own Version of Beautiful

Adebimpe Alafe

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How many of you always believe when someone walks up to you and says “You are beautiful”. How many of you at that point think: “yeah but my thighs, yeah, but my butt, yeah but my nose” I know that we also generally have a hard time considering that we are really beautiful.

You see, we are usually bombarded with messages of what we are not. It almost becomes normal to be unhappy with who we really are, right? We believe that we’d perfect and attractive if we could make that bigger or smaller or tuck that a little under or change that color or relax that curl. But, the truth is that you are beautiful and my hope is that you will question why you ever even doubted your beauty.

I aspire to live in a kind of tomorrow where we recognize that there is no standard of beauty, but in fact there is diversity in beauty. No one person holds the monopoly of what is beautiful. We do not need the approval of anyone before we can actually love ourselves.

I believe the standard of beauty is a cultural construct that is the a collection of ideas and thoughts around physical appearance that each culture comes up with and reinforces it through its media, its art, its music and its politics. You see, we are the culture. We are the ones who decides what and who is beautiful… to the littlest thing like shoe size, right!

I remember when I was a little girl, I really wanted to be beautiful. I remember knowing that being a beautiful woman was so important. I knew it was a type of currency that I could use to sort of navigate through the world.

I figured out that beautiful women received praise, approval and free stuff. I wanted light eyes, maybe blue or hazel. I wanted long flowing hair, the kind that even if I am in a room with no windows it moves, and makes you walk in slow motion and everyone just stares. How realistic was that?

It breaks my heart that I was struggling with the idea of who I really was and the image that I had come up with in my mind. It took me a really long time to come to the place this was sufficient. Now, I love my brown skin and I have this really deep brown eyes and big eyeballs -whether they are mysterious or not who cares. I also have a forehead that is amazing.

My idea of beauty wasn’t a conscious choice, it was based on the construct and narrative I was bombarded with. A narrative I learnt when I was little. My understanding of the standard of beauty was that a beautiful woman has a long skinny nose, she is skinny and has a feminine frame and long legs; she has fair skin, she has long, preferably blonde hair. These standards tell our little girls that their skin is too black, or that their hair is too curly, or that their nose is too big. It tells them that their shape is too round.

You see, when we chose not to acknowledge the diversity of beauty that exists in the world, there are real life consequences for those who don’t meet these standards. I think it’s normal to want to feel beautiful. I want to feel beautiful, but we are beings of consciousness. We are self-aware. We have choices, so we get to decide what makes us beautiful. I don’t think we owe being beautiful or being pretty to anyone.

You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.” ― Erin McKean

Love your own beautiful. Be mindful of your inner dialogue. Surround yourself with like minded people – people who genuinely love you as who are. Know that your beauty is valid. Your beauty, the one that you chose for yourself is sufficient. You have choice, you have the choice to be your own beautiful. So I am challenging you to choose wisely on how you’d love yourself.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Adebimpe Alafe is an entrepreneur and a seasoned writer who is trying to do right by writing her wrongs, when she can't right her wrongs. A friend to people both personally and professionally, she finds happiness in caring for herself extensively and volunteering to causes concerning mental health with NGOs as well as helping young girls achieve their dreams by mentoring them for free.

5 Comments

  1. Jummy

    November 27, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Thank you for this article.

    Yes, you’re very right. Society plays a key role in our perception of beauty. I remember growing up as a teenager, being a lady with big butts and boobs with a nonexistent waist wasn’t the in-thing. Now that’s what you see everywhere.

    And while the notion that “people should do what they like is true, you cannot choose to act oblivious to the trickle down effects of those actions. I’m basically saying that yes you can get a lipo and breast augmentation if you have the means.

    But you cannot say you do not create unrealistic beauty standards when you do so, because it’s untrue.
    That’s why parents need to make a conscious effort to instill the self awareness and build the self esteem of their children, before the media does the reverse to them.

    I remember watching a video sometime back where a father would look in the mirror with his 3-year old daughter everyday and speak words of affirmation to her while she repeated it.

    “I am beautiful”
    “I am worthy
    “I am confident” and so on.

    Tell me the society that will mess up this found girl’s self esteem when shes a teenager.

    1
  2. Simi

    November 27, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Your choice of words, I must say is perfect. Well written.

  3. Sola

    November 28, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I used to feel ugly too when I was much younger, but now, like you, I have learnt to accept myself.
    I look at my reflection in the mirror, strike a pose, smile, and go about my day knowing I’m beautiful.

    1
  4. Atolani

    November 29, 2017 at 11:53 am

    This write up is the basic truth. I love it because over the years I’ve grown to accept myself the way I am. When I was younger, I use to hate my legs because they were fat and my mates do laugh at me but I realize there is nothing I could do about it. I accepted it the way it is and I make sure I flaunt it thanks to my mum’s encouragement. A lot of people fat shame which I was a victim of, but I’ve learnt to accept my body shape, not all ladies are destined to be slim or have the perfect body. I accepted my body shape and I made sure my high self esteem is intact.
    Bimpe, thank you so much for this write up. ???

  5. Chioma

    March 7, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    This is beautiful. Reading this piece made me reassess myself and accept the fact that, I am beautiful. I don’t have to have the smoothest of faces or the flattest of tummies to feel beautiful. Thank you for inspiring me…

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