When Krista asked me to write on the topic of a time I felt beautiful, I immediately felt great sadness and fear, yet I did not skip a beat and said yes to her for writing on this topic. I am honored to have Krista as a friend who has encouraged me to see inside myself and reflect on what is going on in my heart.
I don’t think I am beautiful, not deep in my heart. I can’t think of one time I truly felt beautiful. Every time I look in a mirror I see something that is wrong with me. I don’t linger much in front of the mirror. Growing up no matter how dressed up or dressed down I was all I heard were backhanded compliments. “You look nice, BUT if you did__________, you would look better.” Even when I was dressed up on my prom day or wedding day that is what I heard. I hid how much these comments hurt, but I tried to never get dressed up much. What was the point of dressing up, if all that was going to happen was getting hurt? It even happened just a couple of weeks ago when I was dressed up for a family gathering. It hurt just as much now as an adult as it did when I was a child.
Now days when I hear a compliment, even if that “BUT” is not added I hear it in my head. I have learned to just say thank you with a smile to others and not let them know the “BUT” I hear in my head. My husband tells me all the time I am beautiful, no matter how dressed up I am or if I just woke up with my hair going in every direction. I know he means it from the depth of his heart. He truly thinks I am beautiful inside and out. When he hears someone in my family add that “BUT,” he immediately gives me a compliment without the “BUT.” He also says Katie is perfect just the way she is. He knows I struggle in this area and is my biggest fan to overcome this thought process.
Several years ago, I was recommended by a counselor, pastor, friend and mentor, to help out with a women’s retreat. I could not understand why he would recommend me. I went and asked him why. He told me I had a beautiful heart. I was shocked. He had done counseling with me. He knew things that I did not share with others much. I have a beautiful heart? I just didn’t understand. I went home and wept in my husband’s arms. I asked my husband what it meant. I don’t understand. My husband proceed to just hold me and let me talk and cry.
For several years I have now been a part of Delta, a recovery ministry at my church, where I share my struggles with other women who listen, accept me, and give me grace in all my mess. They know me in my triumphs, fears, tears, hopes, and dreams. This group of women know the real me and have helped me bring the real me out into the world. They give me a safe place to share my messy heart and receive grace, love and acceptance.
I even went shopping for the first time last May with girlfriends, yes one of them was Krista, where they helped me pick out some intimate special items for my anniversary last year. I never once heard a mean word out of them. They helped me realize I was beautiful and why in each thing I showed them. Then they left the choice to me of what I would pick out to buy. My husband LOVES the items we picked out. I felt self-conscious when I wore them, but in my own head for the first time I felt beautiful without the “BUT” popping in.
Looking back over the years, I realized I felt most beautiful when someone takes the time to look beyond the outside appearance and look at my heart. I feel beautiful when someone takes the time to look at me, mess and all, and still chose to love me, instead of criticize or judge me. I am starting to take the time to dress up, and take time with my outward appearance. I am learning to fight the “BUT” that pops into my head, when I get a compliment from others. It is a journey I am still on. Slowly I am learning that I am beautiful inside and out.
I have been married to Matt almost 15 years. I help facilitate Delta, a recovery group, at FBC Warrensburg. I love to read, write, and spend time with friends. I love a beautifully brewed cup of tea and would love to sit and chat for awhile. I also have a blog http://hopeingodforever.wordpress.com/