The New (Old) Beauty Standard

What if our definition of beauty and ways of defining beauty were completely a result of our inner selves?

Beauty standards are described as unattainable, partly because we keep changing the external factors. Just look back on past decades to see how trends influence everything from body shape, to hairstyles, to zip codes. Things we thought were the pinnacle of good taste are quickly replaced by newer standards claiming to be the pinnacle of good taste.

In our modern age, the constant chase of beauty often comes down to the price tag.

We may feel that the more expensive the item/service/house is, the more beautiful it is, and thus if we own it, the more beautiful we will become. The commercial world has become very good at selling us an idea of beauty, packaging it up so we feel our belongings and memberships are signals of our status, and indicators of our ability to discern what is worthy and beautiful. But it wasn’t always this way.

Lao Tzu, a 6th-century BC Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism, taught that beauty was everywhere, and it was free. Everyone deserved to have beauty in their life, feel beautiful as they were, and spend their days being able to appreciate beauty, no matter how much money they had.

Taoist masters believed that beauty was a guiding directive in a person’s way of being.

One needed to make their own actions, thoughts, and words beautiful in order to see beauty outside of themselves. If you were angry, or prejudiced, you would be unable to recognize beauty in the world, or in other people.

In other words, with the right mindset and by cultivating our own actions, thoughts, and words, we have the ability to see the beauty in ourselves, others, and in our surroundings. We don’t need to rely on external signals and agonize over attaining them.

That sounds like a wonderful beauty standard to me.

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