Kelsey is such an inspiring woman to me, especially when it comes to grace. Her posts on her own blog and instagram remind me that beauty is not about what you see in the mirror, but about deeply loving and nourishing yourself. I am honoured she has written a piece for FL on what mindful beauty and slow living means to her. Her journey is something I think many of us can relate to, and I hope it sparks some self compassion, love and hope wherever you are on your own journey.
To me, beauty goes beyond eye shadow, shades of lipstick and face masks – beauty means a deep understanding and acceptance of self. It means looking in the mirror and recognizing that I am an individual – I don’t have to look like anyone else or act like anyone else. I don’t have to have hair like you, or wear the same makeup as you. I don’t have to be the same size as you, or wear the same style as you. I can be ME – and that is truly beautiful.
How did this all start? To be honest, at the other end of the spectrum. There was a time when I had no clue who I was or what I wanted out of life. I always struggled with the way I looked – I felt too fat, too curvy, too everything and this sometimes crippling insecurity lead me to things like diet pills, laxatives and diuretics in the hopes of acceptance from everyone else. I excessively worked out, counted calories and read fashion magazines thinking that one day I would one day be just like “her” so that I could fit in (FIT IN?? What a shame!) with the other girls. That restrictive mentality lead to bingeing on alcohol and food – which ultimately lead to weight gain, acne, thinning hair, stress and anxiety – you could literally see the self-hate written all over me.
A practise of mindfulness, and mindful beauty rituals forever changed the way I viewed myself. No longer would I spend hours in front of the mirror dissecting every ‘flaw’, instead I began to prioritize a slow and intentional approach to self-care. This meant making time for regular dry brushing, long, luxurious baths, aromatherapy and meditation. But it also meant learning about nutrition, how to best nourish my body, how to move my body and what it meant To. Just. Stop.
This drastic change in the way I cared for myself completely changed my relationship with beauty.
It became about FEELING beautiful instead of BEING beautiful.
I’ve found, in time, that it’s next to impossible to spend time picking out my perceived ‘flaws’ when I’m taking such excellent care of myself. How can I worry about how the pimples on my face when I spend so much glorious time pampering my skin and treating it to the cleanest, greenest products possible? Why would I spend a second thinking about how flat my stomach is when I’ve made sure to nourish my body with the most delicious, whole and organic food? Taking a slower and more intentional approach to care completely stripped the hate away, and allowed me to appreciate all of the things that make me – ME.
It’s so easy to get caught up in all that outside noise. Media is unrelenting and as women it’s so difficult to remain true to ourselves amid that constant game of comparison. But by slowing down, making intentional decisions and ALWAYS treating ourselves with kindness, we can begin to nurture a life based around more than just being beautiful. We can slowly build a relationship with self based on all the things we love, instead of the things we hate and we can work to build a life that brings us JOY instead of settling for a life that we think we should be living – and to me, THAT is beautiful.