To be beautiful is to be yourself!

To be beautiful is to be yourself!

To be beautiful is to be yourself. It is a very powerful sentence pronounced by a famous Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thích Nhất Hạnh.
Today's standards of beauty proposed to us by social networks, more than any advertisement or television program of the past, bombard us daily with an unequivocal message: a person's true beauty lies in their physical appearance. Not in his mind, his actions and ideals, but only and exclusively in the way he appears.

Never before does everything seem to be reduced to our image. Just take a walk on any social network to notice the admiration and obsession that people have for practically perfect beauty models, men and women with sculpted bodies that offer us their extraordinary aesthetics in all the sauces.
Every single day we see dozens of such images on our smartphones. So, inevitably, we are led to believe that the only real beauty of a human being is that of appearances: always tidy hair, tanned skin, big lips, plump breasts and firm buttocks for girls; perfectly groomed beards, stylish haircuts, expensive clothes, tattoos and muscles for boys.
Possessing these characteristics has become the main goal in the lives of millions of people. For many of them, it is precisely the only one: there is nothing more than the obsessive care of their physical appearance.
But why is it so important to be "beautiful"? Why do we give so much importance to our physical appearance?
There are two answers and both are about love.
The first reason is that we don't love each other enough. Even though we are strong and confident, in most cases we are not.
The world is full of people like that, seemingly calm and serene but actually deeply insecure and sad. It happens because parents and school teach us so many things but rarely explain the importance of learning to love each other. Personally, no one has ever suggested to me to come to terms with myself, look in the mirror and accept myself for who I am, with all the flaws, cracks and scars that characterize me.
On the contrary, since childhood they tell us to behave and appear in a certain way to be accepted by others. So we refer to the models of television, cinema and social networks: we look at those who are more successful and try to imitate them. And who is more successful nowadays? Writers, great thinkers, poets, altruists? No. Fame belongs to those who make aesthetic beauty their sole purpose in life.
In the end we think we should just be like them: beautiful. Whether we love each other or not, it doesn't matter: if we are beautiful, we will be smiling and happy like these, let me use the term, “mythological social network figures”.
The second reason is that we think that others don't love us enough. When you can't love yourself, you can't love others. And if you can't even accept and appreciate yourself for who you are, how can you think that others are capable of it? When you then notice that everyone is always attached to their smartphone, captured by those images of perfection that constantly appear on the screen, you think that you will never find someone who can appreciate you for who you really are.
So you start to build yourself up into a very sought-after appearance. You try to look good in all the photos, try to dress elegantly and act like influencers, models and everyone else who has a huge following on social networks.
Because if you don't have that beauty, no one will ever really love you. Read the comments of admiration that thousands of people leave under the picture of a girl with an incredible body and you think that just trying to imitate her beauty you will receive that love.

How do you fight this? Through love. You are never wrong to love, especially to love yourself at any time, both when you see yourself as beautiful and when you see yourself as ugly, both when you are well dressed and when you are in pajamas, both when you laugh and when you cry.
Through small gestures of love and appreciation for you, you will discover an extraordinary truth: you can love yourself regardless of your appearance. Your body is not your essence, but a tool.

True beauty belongs to those who can be themselves. Take care of what is inside you and your physical appearance will change accordingly. Happiness brings you beauty, not the opposite: beauty that belongs to those who smile because they have finally learned to accept themselves.

Do you and your language exchange friends agree with the statement "to be beautiful means to be yourself"? Do you accept yourself for who you are? Write your answers in the comments section.

Written by: Martina Sassi, Staff Writer Language Exchange