Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept and it means finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay. It is the appreciation of things that are imperfect, impermanent, incomplete, unrefined and unconventional; an aesthetic I wish every child is brought up with.
Have you heard of the word kintsukuroi? It means to repair with gold; the Japanese mend broken objects by filling the cracks with gold or silver. They believe when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful. Do they live on another planet? Because I find in every other part of the world that the more you suffer damage, the more broken and undesirable you are.
Beauty has more or less become something that is unscarred. The 21st century definition of beauty is that it is unimpaired, complete…perfect; it has no room for flaws. If the thing is flawed in any way then it’s not perfect..if it’s not perfect then it can’t be beautiful. To make it personal it means you and I are not beautiful according to those standards.
John Ruskin once said “Imperfection is the sign of life in a mortal body. Nothing that lives can be rigidly perfect; part of it is decaying, part nascent…and in all things that live there are certain irregularities and deficiencies which are not only signs of life, but sources of beauty. To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion and to paralyse vitality. All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely apportioned.”
Wabi Sabi is a broad concept but I wish to only speak of its physical aspect.
My question is how to have the wabi-sabi mindset if you are someone that avoids mirrors because your reflection somehow sickens you. Or because you are someone that doesn’t like to stand close to anybody because you feel your imperfections are more visible and clearer to them at a close proximity. Or because you are someone that takes a hundred selfies and you end up deleting every one because you can’t seem to find one you are happy with. Your face has been captured in a hundred different angles but you always find something imperfect about the picture so none is beautiful. Or because you are always the person that spots the mud or gum that’s stuck under the shoe and not the person that sees how well the shoe completes and beautifies the leg.
I find that a lot of insecure people (myself included), often have the lowest self esteem compared to others because (1) our idea of beauty is impaired or (2) we don’t practice enough self love. People that fall under the second category (i’m personally guilty of this) often find beauty in everything and everyone else, and very little within ourselves. It is often based on an incident that happened in the past or something we struggled with. The remedy for this is for us to heal and move past what happened, as well as surround ourselves with people that truly appreciate us and can make us feel loved. Not people that always find a way to make us feel small and inferior.
My first reason is the instigator of this post and what I wish to elaborate on; that insecure people struggling with their physical appearance have very low self esteem because their idea of beauty is impaired. What is beautiful? Or more importantly what isn’t beautiful? I ask that because that is the very thing they search for and find within themselves. The truth is humans are extremely good at focusing on the bad than the good. It’s why when someone does good they remember for a little while but when something bad happens they NEVER forget it and sometimes they even cast away and forget the good the person did.
It’s the same with people that struggle with their physical appearance, telling them to focus or look at their more beautiful attributes doesn’t really do much to improve their self esteem because it lasts for just a short while; what they perceive as ugly and unflattering is still there for them to see. It’s truly sad how much emphasis is placed on a person’s appearance that it’s directly or indirectly tied to their self worth.
Do you think there’s a solution for this? I believe there is because the imperfections we see is found not in our body but in our mind’s eye. What needs to be changed or altered is not your appearance but actually the way you perceive and see things. Those that struggle with their physical appearance see certain things in an ugly and unflattering way; it’s really in their head and it’s important to help them see it in a beautiful way.
What I’ve done is I’ve taken seven traits/features that is commonly perceived as being ugly, unattractive and far from perfect. If you identify with one or more of this traits, I want you to know that you are far more beautiful than you give yourself credit for and I’m sorry that having this distinct traits have made life somewhat hard for you. You’ve longed and hoped for someone to love and give you the love you can’t seem to provide yourself. Beauty my darling takes different forms.
Who says albinos are not beautiful? I’m not an albino but I know they are subjected to a lot of ill treatment; some are killed and some are forsaken by their families. Imagine being killed just because of the way you look. They try so hard to love themselves and feel comfortable in their own skin but the world makes it hard for them by staring at them all the time like they are aliens, hugging them for good luck and mocking them. How can you look at those people and call them a curse? Subhanallah there’s something not right with you. They are designed by Allah and Allah loves and is proud of his creation. So whether or not you appreciate them, they are beautiful and beloved to Allah. If you’re an albino, you are beautiful and Allah moulded you perfectly.
Most people believe that to have the perfect skin it must be spotless, well I disagree. I remember talking to someone and expressing how I found freckles attractive and they looked at me like I admitted to loving leprosy or something. How can you not see it’s beauty? It’s like having constellations scattered all over your face. If you have freckles, you are beautiful and Allah moulded you perfectly.
3. Dark skinned.
I really don’t think there’s a need to expound on this area with the whole melanin movement thing happening on instagram, tumblr and everywhere else. The whole world and dark skinned people themselves are now starting to truly love and appreciate their blessed skin tone. It’s absolutely gorgeous and rich that you can almost drool at staring at one. If you are a dark skinned african/american or a dark skinned indian/asian you are beautiful and Allah moulded you perfectly.
4. Gap teeth.
I have this friend that was once describing to me a person I’ve never seen then she goes ‘the person has a front gap teeth eeew!!’ I honestly felt injured by her words, I couldn’t find the words to say anything back or even defend the person. When I did not say anything or add to her comment, her laughter died down and she kept quiet. I love her but it was still very insensitive of her, there are people who struggle with it. My youngest brother has a slight gap tooth and I have a slight one too; it’s not so surprising because we resemble each other. My mum used to tell me that when she was younger, she had it too but it somehow closed. I’m not so sure if she said it in passing, or to comfort me in some way that there’s hope. Personally I’m aware I have it but I’m not ashamed of it. I actually love it and I loved it even more when I learnt that the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) had a gap teeth too; he was an extremely beautiful man and people cherished his smile. Having gap teeth doesn’t make you any less beautiful, some of the most beautiful people in history had one. Did you know that back in the days (and even now) in some parts of Africa, the women used to force a gap in their front teeth because it was seen and accepted as a thing of beauty? If you had it, it made you automatically beautiful. I’m not a fan of permanently altering your appearance for such vain reason but it was what it was. Women that did not have it used to be very envious of women that did because men loved it greatly. Whether men love it or not is irrelevant, it is something that adds and does not take away from your beauty in any way. Whether you are a guy or a girl with a gap teeth, you are beautiful and Allah moulded you perfectly.
5. Ginger/Red hair.
I mean how can you not find someone like Merida from Brave beautiful? They literally have hair like flames *crying face*. If I could have her hair I’ll be more than happy to but the most I can probably do with mine is to dye it with henna. I was walking home from uni one time when I overheard the conversation of two girls walking behind my back. One of them said “how can I date him? He’s ginger! He’s __ ugly.” The other girl laughed and I just shook my head. I think people like her are just simply blinded by their fiery beauty. I’m certain the Weasley’s are more than proud of every redhead in the world. If you are a redhead, you are beautiful and Allah moulded you perfectly.
6. Dark/ brown eyes
I find that when you ask people with colored eyes what colour their eyes are, they don’t go I have silver grey eyes or electric blue eyes or emerald green eyes…they simply say I have blue/green/grey eyes. You mostly find such descriptions in novels and poems or with a person in love. When a person is in love they come up with fancy, lovely and original things to describe whom they love. With brown eyes however, I feel most people have to associate the colour of their eyes with something to make it sound more interesting or special. It’s really unnecessary. What colour are your eyes? You hear things like I have hazel brown eyes, golden brown eyes, light brown eyes, chocolate brown eyes…ay ay ay. People are just ashamed to say they have brown eyes. No one is asking for the shade of your eyes or what it likens to. Yes people with coloured eyes have captivating eyes but so do people with dark brown eyes. You don’t need to wear coloured contacts or have surgery to change it’s colour, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s absolutely nothing plain or ugly about them, the colour brown has been discredited so much that it aches my soul. Yet it’s one of the most beautiful colours out there. Show love to your soulful brown eyes. If you have brown eyes, you are beautiful and Allah moulded you perfectly.
7. Kinky/4c natural hair
Natural hair is something everyone loves but only if you are mixed race or have mixed race type of hair or curly hair like most east africans do. ‘Good’ hair is often labeled to be type 3 to 4a-b hair. Within the natural hair community there’s discrimination against type 4c/ kinky hair. This is because this type of hair suffers the most shrinkage when water is added to it and it is tightly coiled/curled. Most other curls are loose and more obvious to see, so the idea is if you don’t have loose bouncy curls, wavy or bone straight hair your hair isn’t beautiful. 4c hair is arguably the most versatile hair type, it can be styled in ways other hair types can’t and worn like other types of hair (with the right tools and product). Kinky/4c hair is beautiful, every hair type is beautiful and has it’s own character. If you have kinky/4c hair, you are beautiful and Allah moulded you perfectly.
I know in reality none of us look like these people in the slideshow but we don’t have to. Everyone’s beauty is one of a kind except you are an identical twin or something in that case it’s two of its kind. We should all embrace our looks, nobody can help us do that. Less embracing of other people’s beauty and more embracing of yours. You don’t need to search for your beauty in the eyes of others. Please stop doing that, you’ll get hurt putting your happiness in the hands of others. Look in the mirror and praise Allah for the beautiful form he gave you and if anyone tells you otherwise they can take their unwanted opinion, wrap it up in a teddy and go sleep with it. You don’t need them or anyone to tell or make you feel beautiful, because you are already beautiful; believe it or not.
You often find that people around you (and others you don’t expect) tell you you’re beautiful and a bunch of other lovely things you badly want to believe but you can’t find it in yourself to believe them because you yourself don’t believe. It’s all in your head and I can bet you that the way you see yourself or the way you think people perceive you is very different from what people actually think or see.
There’s a quote I remember reading on tumblr, the writer said ‘you are so used to your own features that you don’t know how beautiful you look to a stranger.”
No matter what you look like, just always make sure to take showers, dress clean, smell good and last but not least brighten everyone’s day with that smile that has the power to make anyone fall in love with you.
See you in my next post In Sha Allah xx