Sunday Snippet: Salma Hayek on Beauty

“People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.”

Some people might look at the graffiti on sides of buildings and think it devalues the neighborhood. Other people might look at that same graffiti and think it adds character. Some people might look right past the lone weed sprouting next to some railroad tracks, not even noticing that it’s there. Other people might gravitate toward its natural beauty, seeing it as a symbol for the perseverance of life and nature. It’s all about perspective; there is no single reality.

Far too often, we grant far too much power and influence to people who ultimately don’t matter all that much. I have a friend who refuses to dine alone at a restaurant because it “looks sad.” But who’s looking? More likely than not, the other people at the restaurant won’t know who you are and, even if they do, why does that even matter? Who cares if you’re in sweatpants, enjoying a delicious bowl of pho by yourself?

A very common struggle faced by many teenagers and young people is straddling the great divide between uniqueness and conformity. On the one hand, you want to feel like you are someone special, that you are somehow different than everyone else. On the other hand, you don’t want to be seen as too different or as different in the “wrong” kind of way. You want to fit in, yet you want to stand out.

The hope is that as we get older, we become more comfortable in our skin. We start to realize, as Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek expresses above, that we are the beholders of our own beauty. There’s great power there; we just have to learn how to harness it. We just have to hone our vision so we can come to appreciate the beautiful graffiti or the beautiful railway-side weed.

Sure, you might say it’s easy for a successful actress lauded for her beauty to express how it doesn’t matter if other people think you are beautiful. But whether she’s rushing in like a fool, riding through the wild wild west, or getting stuck in traffic, Salma Hayek has a point. Be confident in your own beauty and you’ll be able to recognize beauty where others dared not look too.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore