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What does Beauty Really Mean?

blog Mar 01, 2018

In this month's segment for The New-Fashioned Mom, where real moms share the unfiltered truths on life, I presented on the theme of Beauty.  I answered the questions:

  • What is your definition of beauty?
  • What do you wish you knew about beauty growing up?
  • What do you hope to pass on to your children about beauty?
  • As an influencer, what message do you want to spread?

For my full Facebook live addressing this topic, click here. I highly recommend the video. :-) 

Below is an abridged transcript for the video. 

Hello and welcome to Day 3 of the brand new monthly segment called, The New-Fashioned Mom, where real moms share the unfiltered truths on life.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to present this month on the theme of Beauty.  In this video, I’m going to share with you:

  • My definition of beauty
  • What I wish I knew about beauty growing up
  • What I hope to pass on to my children about beauty
  • What message I want to spread as an influencer

Before I dive in to my own personal answers, I want to ask YOU:

Do you think you are beautiful? 

If yes, why are you afraid to say so? If no, why not?

As you’ll soon hear, beauty and our feelings about beauty is largely influenced by our culture and has very little to do with what we ACTUALLY look like physically. So I want you to ponder on that question and let me know your thoughts.

All right, for those of y’all that don’t know me:

My name is Stefani Reinold. I’m a board certified psychiatrist, women’s mental health expert, author of the book Let Your Heart Out, and founder of Not the Typical Mom™—a lifestyle brand dedicated to helping moms escape the stereotypes, find their hearts and embrace who they really are so they can kill it in life, love and business.

1.    What does beauty mean to me?


Let me unpack that a little bit:

Beauty is ever-changing.

This is a big one! Beauty standards change and evolve through history. Before the 20th century, a well-figured and daresay, large-bodied woman was what was deemed beautiful. Even within the last 100 years, our beauty standards have changed SO SOOO much. The 20s was the whimsical lithe bodies. The 50s was the full figured, curvy body. The 70s was the Twiggy era of thin bodies. And in the last decade, we have worshipped a new kind of beauty ideal which is the “fit and muscular” body. But beauty is ALWAYS changing… and it will continue to change. A question that I ask a lot of my patients and clients is: If you were born in a different era or a different age of time, would you still hate your body? Tell me in the comments where your body would fit as the “ideal body” because I don’t care what you look like, your body has been or will be the ideal definition of beauty at one time or another. Beauty is changing.

Beauty is personalized.

What we find attractive is so unique and individual to US as individuals. Though because our minds are wired to believe in one aesthetic beauty since all we see in advertisements and marketing and television shows are one depiction of beauty, we think that we all consider this ONE type of beauty as beautiful. But beauty is very personal. Also, consider that research has shown that men who are exposed to more fat bodies come to find fat bodies more attractive than thin bodies. So, evidence shows that we are exposed to is what we begin to find more attractive over time, so if all you are exposing your mind to are air-brushed photos and unrealistic movie stars, then you’re likely to have a hard time accepting your own kind of unique beauty.

Beauty is fleeting.

Our lives on this earth are so fleeting. Our bodies are fleeting. Even if you lived to be 100 years old, that is nothing compared to eternity. We will all get older, get gray hair, saggy skin, wrinkles, etc. Aging is totally normal and totally okay!

Beauty is a characteristic.

Beauty is only one part of someone or something. Often, we wrongly assume that beauty is a STANDARD, but beauty standards are not intrinsic to who we are as a person. A standard is something fixed OUTSIDE of ourselves… and THAT is purely from big businesses who portray whatever idealized picture of beauty du jour is of the time. But beauty is an intrinsic quality, from something INSIDE of us. It’s nothing we do TO ourselves, it’s already within us. A beautiful sunset doesn’t TRY to be beautiful. We don’t paint a rose to make it pretty. It just is. Real beauty is an intrinsic characteristic.  But it’s also only one part of who we are. I can be beautiful and also smart. I can be beautiful and also methodical. And it is NOT the end-all, be-all of our life’s purpose to “be beautiful.” We have so soooo many other factors that can both contribute to our beauty, as well as steal from our beauty.

Beauty describes someone OR something.

I loved Julie from The Drifting Anchor's Facebook live. She recommends using beauty to describe a whole host of OTHER things, like the sun or a piece of furniture or a beautiful piece of art. We get so bogged down to associate beauty with JUST people and more so, just bodies, but true beauty is found ALL around us. I’m a Christian and I find beauty in ALL of God’s creation. Which brings me to the last part of my definition...

 Beauty can be either something aesthetically pleasing to the eye OR sensually captivating to the soul.

Beauty is not JUST about our physical bodies, even though brands spend billions of dollars a year making us believe that.

If you caught my Instagram post from the other day, I had you try to guess what my biggest pet peeve about beauty marketing was. So wanna know my pet peeve in beauty marketing? My pet peeve is how women’s bodies are often perceived as only a part of themselves whereas men’s bodies are often portrayed in whole. How often do you see JUST boobs or JUST abs or JUST legs… we’ve been partitioned off, but we are WHOLE people with hearts and souls and minds.

More importantly, beauty can be, and often is, a soul beauty.  Everyone knows those people in their lives who may not fit traditional beauty standards, but are just BEAUTIFUL people. That is real beauty. It can't be put into earthly language, because it transcends earthly realms. It is the soul beauty of someone.  How many women do you know who are truly beautiful just because of the confidence and energy that they exude to the world? Likely, some of these women wear makeup and fit traditional beauty standards but you may also be surprised that many of these women (or men) are otherwise very plain or do NOT fit traditional beauty standards and yet, you still find them beautiful… hmmm think on that.

To recap for those who missed it, my definition of beauty is:


2.    What is one thing about beauty that you know today that you wish you would have known back then?

How little control we have…

Beauty industry has been just as hijacked by diet culture as the food and fitness field. We have been brainwashed to believe that even acne, dry skin and bags under our eyes are within our control. “If you just slept more…” “If you drank more water…” “If you ate these foods…” “If you didn’t have adrenal fatigue…” all with the assumption that if we did the right things, we would all be more aesthetically pleasing to look at. But it’s just not true. Our genetics play a MUCH larger role in what we look like than how much water we drink or how many fruits and vegetables we eat. Some people will naturally get wrinkles. Just like some women get stretch marks. Others have more cellulite than others. And it’s of no “failure” on your part.

 Also, that a man will marry you because of your SOUL, not because of what you look like…

When I was growing up (you’ll read about this more in my book), but I wrapped up a lot of my happiness by how men viewed me. When a guy liked me or found me attractive, I felt worthy. And when he didn’t, I didn’t feel worthy. Call it daddy issues or whatever you want, but really, it’s not that uncommon in the world we live in, because so much of how we view ourselves is how others view us, so I’d make it known that my husband did NOT marry me for my body. Sure, he’s attracted to me, but let’s face it, if all men wanted was sexual attraction, they can get that fairly easily. Men marry us because they LOVE our hearts and our souls… it’s a SOUL love that binds a couple. Little girls need to know this. All we secretly want in the world is to be attractive and loved from someone of the opposite sex and so, if we don’t internalize that we are loved for something OTHER than our bodies, we will always be seeking “perfect” beauty standards.

3.    What is one thing you hope to pass on to your children about beauty? 

Beauty should NOT be your life’s purpose.

Whether it’s physical beauty or a spiritual beauty or emotional beauty, beauty is something that naturally happens. It’s not a PURPOSE, it’s not a GOAL, it’s not something to STRIVE FOR. It’s just something that we ARE. And it’s ALSO okay if you are NOT physically beautiful… at least in the eyes of society, which we already know is incredibly .

Beauty is entirely personal and it is completely unique to you! And it’s SO MUCH more about a feeling than it is about what you actually look like. In my house, I have no problem allowing my daughter to experiment with makeup and ribbons and dresses, but I also make sure that she knows that that STUFF is NOT what makes her beautiful and is NOT even what makes me beautiful.

 I know a lot of moms out there that don’t believe in complimenting their daughters on their physical beauty, because that is feeding into the cycle that they are only worth their body… I think it is a problem if you are ONLY complimenting her on her physical appearance. So, for example, if the ONLY things you ever speaking positive toward her is when you compliment her on what she looks like, that’s a problem. If you ALSO tell her frequently that she is smart and funny and a good friend or whatever her strengths are… you’re helping her realize that she is MORE than her physical appearance.

At the end of the day though, I hope my children know that BEAUTY is NOT the end-all, be-all and that being “beautiful” or not being beautiful does not make you a better or worse human being. No matter how you define beauty, it is only a very small part of who you are.  

4.    What do you love most about being you?

Ok, y’all, when Julie sent me this question, I almost didn’t want to answer it, because it’s really hard for us women to compliment ourselves. So before I share with you my answer, I want to know what YOU love most about being you. It’s important to give yourself compliments and acknowledge your own self-worth WITHOUT needing validation and compliments from others. And one to do that is to give yourself internal compliments every now and then. So I want to hear what compliment you’d give YOURSELF! It’s important, so I want to read your answers!

For me, though, the ONE thing I love MOST about myself is: My energy, for sure!

I know I have the spiritual gift of encouragement and I have a unique ability to bring energy and power to a room. I once got a paper plate award that was called “The Rice Krispies Award” because I was “snap, crackle and poppy”… basically, because I could bring energy and excitement to a room. And I know it’s probably to this day what my husband loves about me. This is really hard asking yourself what you love most about yourself, so I encourage yourself.

5.    As an influencer, what message do you feel is important to pass on to your community?

This one is easy, because it’s my tagline and that is:

“JUST BE YOU, because YOU are good enough!”

 I think we are ALL duped by good marketing and sales pitches that if only we had their product, good or service, then we would finally be good enough… but being good enough is not about our accomplishments, achievements. It’s DEFINITELY not about some beauty or aesthetic standard. It IS about a feeling… a feeling of complete peace, of connection to your heart and your soul, and living from THAT peace every single day. THAT is what I teach my clients in my virtual class, The Fine Hearts Class. It’s also what I talk about in my book, Let Your Heart Out, which will be out in less than a month!

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