Beauty is a hot button topic. It means something different to just about everyone. People devote their lives to finding and sharing it. Some people devote their life savings to trying to achieve it. It’s a word we use to describe things we love – whether people or places or things. It’s a word that I’d never used to describe myself until not that long ago.
When I first tried it on, calling myself beautiful, it felt odd. But I kept using it in my head, especially in front of a mirror. Now I know that I’m not society’s idea of beauty. I’ll likely never be on a magazine cover. That’s fine and well. Because after I said it enough, I fully believed it. I. Am. Beautiful.
I am mostly happy, far from perfect, constantly learning, leading by example, struggling with faith, raising my kids, holding my husband, enjoying my curves, gliding through the pool, twerking on Wednesdays, baking with sugar, smiling at strangers, hugging my friends, loving everyone. I am beautiful.
Beauty became about more than my looks, even though I was looking in the mirror. I know it sounds strange, but I searched in that mirror for what others saw in me when they called me beautiful. I saw a lot. Yes, I have physical features that are lovely – the slope of my shoulders, the glimmer in my eyes, the silver strands in my hair. But I believe what my friends see, and what I saw, was more like the aura that is in and around me. And I have to admit that it is certainly part of what makes me beautiful.
Around the same time I started to have that realization, I noticed more and more beauty around me. Have you ever heard those cheesy lines in movies when someone falls in love and suddenly the sky is bluer? I kinda felt like that. I appreciated the breezes in the leaves more. I thought the snow on the mountains looked more picturesque. And I really started to see how truly beautiful the people around me were.
I still notice little touches of beauty around me almost daily. But, every now and then, it hits me full in the face! On days when I’m feeling really great about life, like today, I see the freckled woman at the help desk and hope she knows she’s lovely. I see the little girl pirouetting in a puddle and giggle over how precious she is. I see the strength of the women lifting, poise of the women jogging, and flare of the women dancing (I was at the gym earlier) and notice how beautiful they all are in their own unique way.
On these days, I feel confident and I want to share that. I want to walk up to the folks all around me and tell them how incredible they are. I always figure that might be weird, though, so I usually just smile. And I drop whatever compliments I can to whomever I can. It’s often on these days that I send little notes to friends to say hello or be sure they know they’re loved. I might bake or buy a treat. These days are good ones to shop for jeans! Yes, I feel that good! And I want you to feel it in your heart too!
You are beautiful too. I promise. You may not see it today or not even this week. But listen to the words I’m typing – you are. Not for the same reasons as me, but for your own reasons. And you’ll figure them out if you haven’t yet, just keep trying. Look in your mirror and try to see what I see.
Do you see the inspiration you are to others? Do you see the way your strength empowers other women in our own lives? Do you see the way you parent helps me be a better mom? Do you see how your hair cascades in thick layers over your shoulders? Do you see how putting yourself out there encourages others? Do you see how living your faith is a blessing to those you’re ministering to? Do you see how your hugs warm those you wrap in your embrace? Do you see how your commitment to the gym motivates others? Do you see how your hips fit perfectly in your lover’s hands? Do you see how much you’re cared for? How loved you are? How beautiful you are?
It’s okay if you don’t yet. I know it takes time for some of us. But start looking into it a little more, would ya? Because you are beautiful. And I’m not the only one to see it. The rest of us are just waiting for you to recognize it in yourself too.