The Beauty Within

Imelda Perez-Papai with one of her body painting models

Beauty is a funny thing, whether you purposely defy beauty ideals or you are the type to grab the latest trend. The vast majority of us spend a lot of time and effort focusing on our external appearances – arguably, with the goal of looking more beautiful. But what does it really mean to be beautiful? By primping and pampering and criticizing and altering our physical appearance?

While you may quickly argue that you look better in photos when you are dressed-up and have your hair and make-up done – is that really what makes you beautiful?

I took a casual survey last year and posed this question to friends, family members, women, men, celebrities, athletes and other personalities and asked about their view on inner beauty, self-confidence and body image. The survey serves not only for my personal and ongoing journey to love myself (hopefully) the way I am, but also to get the substantial meaning of The Beauty Within.

To my delight, no one answered the question by referring to physical characteristics: for example, almond-shaped eyes, well-defined nose, slender physiques, full-lips, height and weight or clothing size. Neither were there answers on non-existent pores, wrinkle-free faces, nor long black or blonde locks.

Rather, I received astounding answers on the reflection of inner beauty, i.e., character, confidence, intellect, passion, kindness, personality, poise and soul; nothing about six-pack abs, lifted butts or Body Mass Index. Based on my survey, the definition of The Beauty Within was about people who are happy, confident and who love themselves and others.

So, why then do we spend so much time and effort in front of the mirror, trying to boost our beauty and focusing on our external appearance? If beauty really does come from within – if real beauty is all about happiness, confidence and self-love – wouldn’t the time reserved on beauty routines be better devoted to doing things that make us more happy, that will likely boost our confidence and to find ways and means that will make us love ourselves and others even more? This isn’t at all to say that we need to throw our beauty rituals to the wind or set them aside in order to let our Real Beauty radiate. I love make-up and skin care products and all those beauty paraphernalia – but they don’t define me. They neither determine my beauty nor define my happiness. Beauty really does come from within.

Thus, on those days when you are fretting over an untimely breakout or bummed out for having a bad hair day, focus rather on the things that genuinely define your beauty (and trust me: neither that pimple nor the out-of-place hair).

Step away from the mirror. Focus instead on what makes you happy that will boost your confidence and increase your self-love. It will do more for your beauty than another swipe of concealer or drizzle of hairspray ever will.

Imelda Perez-Papai is a Filipina born international fashion make-up artist and body painter. She was the artist of choice for the Miss Earth 2016, ORF Gala Night des Sports, The Making of Leonhardi Calendar and 10 Kampf der Sportler. She collaborated with one of the top world body painters from Austria, Gabriella Hajek-Renner and travelled to Athens, Paris and London for A-List celebrities and politicians.

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