I don’t know with what beliefs around beauty you grew up – but in my world, all the happy, brave, successful sheroes and heroes were blessed with great beauty. From Cinderella to Superman, Wonderwoman to James Bond.

I’ve never come across a fat princess, a thin hero, a protagonist with pimples or a bent back – unless the story IS actually about this person’s lack of beauty.
So we learn very early in life that the ugly ones are the bad guys, and the ones who will be loved and celebrated, the ones with the flowy hair, glowing skin, and perfectly shaped bodies.

Like many other women (and men) out there, this celebrated beauty in media made me feel ashamed and guilty about my entirely imperfect body with wide hips, big thighs, small boobs and (God forbid) a double bent back of scoliosis and kyphosis.

There were times when I literally hated myself for looking the way I did and wished I could cut the meat off my bones, to at least look a bit more like somebody worthy of Love. Because I genuinely believed only beauty deserved Love.
Later in my life, when I was getting into acting school, I glided into a massive eating disorder that lasted for quite some years.

The shocking truth is – back then when I was unhealthily skinny – that the feedback people gave me, was supporting me massively in staying in my unhealthy starving-behavior.
Yes, my friends and family were alarmed and worried, but the people at acting school kept telling me how fabulous I looked and what a great figure I had. They envied me for my body, and this honestly made me feel greater as ever before.
I loved the way I looked on camera. The way I could wear just anything.
In this time also my skin cleared up and I gave all my energy into walking around as straight as I could to hide my back. It felt SO rewarding to finally be – what I considered to be –beautiful.

And therefore worthy of attention and Love.

Men were much more likely to offer me their help (probably as I looked much weaker as when I was my old curvy self), girls complimented me constantly and when a guy lifted me up in the air to prove his incredible strength by swirling me around, I finally felt like the I was worthy of being loved and adored.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, truly was my experience.

I got much more positive attention while being thin than I ever got before.
Of course, this can also be influenced by the fact that I personally felt better in my skin and therefore also got a different mirror in society.
But I honestly believe that people also would have reacted differently on me, if I would have had a different mindset. I never got so much positive attention before as I did when I was skinny.

Obviously, I managed to get out of my eating disorder, and today I am back to curvy and (for my body type) healthy – but the experiences I made as my 47 kg self still sticks to me.
I am a BIG fan of the body positivity movement, which is fighting for every-body to be perceived as beautiful. Its goal is to change the common beauty standards and replace them with all-including respect for all the bodies out there, no matter what color or shape.

It helped me massively to get my skinny ass out of my eating disorder. BUT still – beauty (or what the media makes us believe to be beautiful for big companies to sell their products) is influencing our lives every day.
The brainwash is real, and it sticks like nasty old chewing gum to our eyeballs.

And Truth is – if we like it or not – it has power.
This power is related to our reptilian brain:
When we are sexually attracted to somebody, our brain just makes different choices as it would when we are totally neutral towards the looks of a person. We literally cannot help ourselves to get influenced in one or the other way.

What an individual perceives as beautiful or sexy may vary, but still, there are some specific attributes that most people feel more attracted to – may it be because of evolutionary factors, or because of how and where we grew up and how our society defines beauty.
What is there to blame about this? It’s just the way we work and if we like it or not – we cannot change this fact.

But often we struggle so much in accepting this simple truth, that we start judging people who are naturally „beautiful“ or who are putting effort into improving their looks. We call them „superficial“ or maybe even „slutty“ or „narcissistic“.
We go into full resistance towards the conventional picture, stamp with our feet or feel just profoundly hurt by this imbalance of how the world works.

Sisters and brothers, I get it. Sometimes even I am still falling into that pit as well. But all the anger and judgment of this world will not change the fact, that beauty does have power. And why should we fight against it?
Why should we not just embrace it and celebrate our own individual beauty in our very own way?

I, Priska, am struggling at the moment with adult acne. And yes, I still do have my back and regained all my kilos. But still, I can put effort into seeing and celebrating my beauty if I want to.
Because next to the skinny beauty, there is a curvy beauty too. And just because my skin doesn’t look like the one we see in the beauty advertisements, it doesn’t mean, that I have to be ashamed of my whole face.

Self-love and beauty are two entirely different pairs of shoes.

We can love ourselves no matter what. We can respect our worth that is fully detached from our looks, and we can embrace all the individual beauty that life has gifted us.
Let’s stop fighting against it and just celebrate all of the glory. Respect it. And find peace with it. Our own beauty and the beauty of others.

Let’s stop obsessing about it. Fight for or against it. And just let it be.

And believe me – once you do – you will see yourself transform. It will give your inner and outer beauty the freedom to shine in a whole new way.

Because pure, lasting beauty – in the end – is purely an inside job.

Text by: Priska Baumann
Image by: Shutterstock