I feel beautiful when I see variety and am free to be different.
I feel beautiful when I am with my family and good food that makes us merry.
I feel beautiful when my muscular calves tighten as my feet hit the concrete floor, making me run further, faster and longer.
I feel beautiful when I am drenched in sweat after a good workout.
I feel beautiful when someone that cares for me looks me in the eye, and says “it’s OK.”
I feel beautiful when I stop in the crazy bustle of Seoul subway traffic to help an old lady carry her bag.
I feel beautiful when I laugh through an awkward situtation.
I feel beautiful when I know the world SUCKS, but I also know that the Word promises.
I feel beautiful when I draw my eyebrows just so- trust me folks, this is important.
I feel beautiful doing a Friends marathon, with my polar bear pjs, a bag of potato chips and a beer on a Friday night.
I feel beautiful when I go through life changing confrontations, come out of it crumbling, but stronger, knowing life will get better.
I feel beautiful after 9 hours of sleep.
I feel beautiful in those moments my hands are lifted high, arms flailing, and I am singing slightly* off tune, but don’t CARE because I am so happy that I get to worship God.
I feel beautiful when I purchase those super cute heels at a killer price that will also slowly and painfully kill my toes. One toe at a time. Some may ask- is it really worth it? Well, not always. Not every day. But some days, though I struggle with each painful little step, I will check myself out in some shop window (head-to-toe, mind you) and yes, I will feel truly deeply beautiful.
Generating this random list and reading through it, beauty (or my definition of beauty), almost seems like a by-product of contentment. When I am truly and fully content, the prominent question of “beauty” and its existence pales in comparison. Beauty becomes a given. Beauty just is. I also realize that contentment comes in innumerable shapes and sizes (usually in a 6 1/2.) Some days it will be through a pair of Nine Wests (I need to stop talking about shoes), some days through an affirming smile, some days through a 20 minute nap, some days through a sweet text message, some days through fighting off a life-long lie I let rule my life- the list goes on.
I take a good hard look at myself- and I see that I am so insecure, in so many (so many!) different ways, that I am all the more awed by my God who provides countless ways to help me recognize and experience the exquisite beauty that He has created me to be.
So what if I sing slightly off-key and I occasionally accidentally bump the person next me flailing my arms about? I am beautiful. And so are you- random stranger sitting next to me on the church pew. I pray that you experience the same contentment that I do- let’s be beautiful together.
HaYoung Jung lives in Seoul, South Korea where she works counseling women in domestic violence situations.