What Does Beauty Mean to You? Using a Mindmap to Discover Meaning

Ever heard of a mindmap? Often used in school for educational opportunities, professors use mindmaps as a way to track how certain items may relate to each other. Kathryn remembers using a mindmap during a social justice course in college when she was given the word "culture". Ever since that moment, she's noticed the great power that mindmaps hold.

Here's how mindmaps work: you start with one word which you put in a circle in the middle of the paper. Then, you open your mind and allow other words to follow--whatever you feel best relates to the inner circle concept.

Today, we've decided to take the word "beauty"--a loaded word with various personal definitions and dissect it into our own. We're greatly inspired by the fearless ladies who write posts on their blogs about what body (and self) image means to them and how they confidently live with a strong sense of self because of this understanding.

We hope to inspire you to create your own beauty mindmap and discover the reasons behind your definition of beauty and how you've reached that place today. If you do happen to make a map, we'd love to see it if you feel comfy sharing! Email it to us at franklykathryn[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Kathryn's Mindmap

I started contemplating the word beauty by dividing it up into four main areas that I feel help define the word: confidence, happiness, wisdom and individuality.

I strongly believe in the concept of beauty being directly related to a person's individuality and their uniqueness. What makes you beautiful is what's unique about you! In past days, I always hated this large, red birthmark that I had smack dab in the middle of my chin. Over time, I've learned that this is a mark of beauty, and although I cover it up when I wear foundation, I'm not afraid to go to the supermarket in my sweats and let it show!

Secondly, I am always attracted to people who are confident in their individuality. Of course, we always have insecurities in ourselves and we fail to see the beauty that others see in us, however, it's important to exercise confidence in how badass you are because there is no one else like you and you should celebrate it, baby!

In addition, I only find attraction to people (both romantic and friendly) who are happy people! Happiness is super beautiful - resilience is also vital. As a person who's suffered from severe anxiety, that's always been something of insecurity for me. The unknown has always been something I've battled with, and the unknown can reflect how we're never aware of how others perceive us and our worthiness. Becoming comfortable with our worth on our own is so important.

Lastly, wisdom in the sense of intuition and intelligence is a must. I'm naturally drawn to people with strong sense of self and intelligence within their own specialty. I'm a big believer in dismantling standardized testing in schools, and I don't believe in judging all people by one swift brush. Each person has a passion and an intelligence that sets them apart - this makes them beautiful. 

Overall, although I feel as though I am insecure about my physical traits off and on like other females, I have a pretty stable view of what beauty is on a broader scale and what makes me beautiful is not defined by my looks alone.

Celebrate you! 

Emma's Mindmap

I remember mind mapping a few times in school, and making connections to help better understand our own thoughts is something I think we all need to do more of. In mapping the word "beauty", I really didn't know what I'd find.

Like a lot of women my age, my body image sucks sometimes. With that, my confidence will plummet, along with my self respect. There are other times, however, when I'm totally feeling myself! I'll love my makeup that day, my hair, or my outfit. After I tried this map, I connected beauty to vulnerability - it showed me that sometimes I spend too much time comparing myself to others.

I get into a silent, brutal competition with other females around me, causing toxic behavior from myself and a real lack of self esteem! Let's #EndGirlHate, ladies! I also connected the word effort with beauty. I feel obligated to spend certain amounts of time and money to keep a specific physical appearance. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy makeup, feeling beautiful and creating art on my face! But sometimes, if I go out without my brows on or without eyeliner, I feel really self conscious--almost naked.

I also connected beauty with expectation, diet and exercise. I stay fit for my heath but I feel pressure from the media to look a certain way. On the other hand, I also connected beauty with confidence. I am most confident when I'm feeling beautiful!

Did you make a mindmap? If you feel comfy sharing it with us, we'd love to see your journey! Email the map with a little backstory to us at franklykathryn[at]gmail[dot]com. We won't share--we promise! :)