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Cultivating gratitude for your natural self – The #NoMakeup Movement and Alicia Keys

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Alicia Keys
Image via Alicia Keys on Twitter

Back in June, Alicia Keys, the American singer, pianist, songwriter, record producer, and actress that we have come to love over the years decided to live her life ‘free of makeup’. Before she began to embark on her new album, she wrote a list of all the things she was sick of – all the things that made her mad and feel insecure or unhappy.

She notes, “One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked. All of it is so frustrating and so freakin’ impossible.”

One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women.

Shortly after her realization, she decided to share her thoughts with the world by publishing in essay in Leah Dunham’s website, Lenny Letter. The world was stunned and the media began to talk. Everyone began to speculate that come VMA’s, she’d chicken out and wear makeup for the event, her most public appearance since the essay went viral. Yet, the media was wrong. Alicia keys showed up on August 28th in the bare. And it got the internet’s attention in a big way.

And, here we are, two months later, and her decision to stop wearing make-up is still trending.

First, let’s refresh: Alicia Keys is a legendary musician who’s won 15 Grammys, sold 35 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide, and realistically, has nothing to prove to anyone. Yet, she so bravely put herself forward as the unadorned face of the #NoMakeup movement.

To her, the #NoMakeup movement is about feeling “the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that [I] have ever felt. I felt powerful because my initial intentions realized themselves. My desire to listen to myself, to tear down the walls I built over all those years, to be full of purpose, and to be myself! The universe was listening to those things I’d promised myself, or maybe I was just finally listening to the universe, but however it goes, that’s how this whole #nomakeup thing began.”

Keys is not the only celeb to reject beauty standards in 2016. Pop superstar and sensation,  Adele made headlines recently for addressing her fans in Phoenix without makeup.

Both Keys and Adele have attracted overwhelming reactions – some being positive and others mostly being negative but the questions remain: why? Why do people care?  Because this shouldn’t be a news story but it is and continues to be a topic of discussion.

New Directions for Women supports Alicia Keys and her #NoMakeup movement and would like to thank her for standing up to cosmetics companies, beauty magazines, and critics. People in active addiction are prone to negative feelings about themselves, and that shame and guilt can keep us unwell. It’s important to be in the process of managing any negative feelings or low self-esteem. It certainly takes a lot of “guts” in our image-conscious culture to go make-up free, however we can all take a wonderful lesson from Alicia Keys which is to be kind to your natural self. Try not to get caught up worrying about what you think your physical flaws are. Love yourself, compliment yourself, and feel gratitude for your incredible attributes and accomplishments.

Keys closed her essay with a hope to God that this #nomakeup realization will lead to a “revolution,” writing, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”

To read Alicia’s full essay, visit: https://www.lennyletter.com/style/a410/alicia-keys-time-to-uncover/

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