Okay, this is my third draft trying to answer the prompt, and now I’m feeling profound guilt over what I’ve put my other 30+ writers through this month.
But I still don’t regret it.
I have been so moved and inspired and compelled by the diversity and honesty of all of my guest bloggers. Thanks for being brave and entering the inner conflict, ladies.
I realized something today as I was trying to gather my thoughts- when I feel most beautiful is only partially related to what I’m wearing or how I’ve arranged (read: tamed) my frizzy hair. It’s only partially related to what I wear or how sunkissed my skin is. The sexy dress or fancy shoes I put on can only get me part way to feeling beautiful.
When I feel most beautiful, is actually only partially related to how beautiful I actually look. Let me explain.
As I was thinking about when I have felt beautiful, naturally the times I’ve felt ugliest came to mind. One of the first of these was during a trip to South Korea. Walking among Korean women who were beyond thin with shiny jet-black hair and glowing skin made me feel big, white, frizzy, and blotchy.
A more recent time I’ve felt ugly is starting my new job. The other girls my age are incredibly snazzy, on-trend dressers, and they do their hair every morning (I mean, I do my hair too, but it tends to end up in a pony-tail or a ‘natural’ look, which means frizzy). Working next to ladies that look like they’ve walked out of a Banana Republic magazine has made me feel I look like a nerdy preteen.
Several other memories have to do with parties or activities with friends or sisters who were undoubtedly more beautiful than I.
What do these situations have in common? Not what I was wearing, how I did my hair or make-up, or what my skin looked like. What these situations have in common is that I was focused on comparing myself to others.
I feel most beautiful when I am not comparing myself to others.
How I feel about my beauty has less to do with my looks and more to do with my ability to receive. Another example of this is God’s love. God’s love never changes. He always loves me. But do I always feel that love? I’m sorry to say that I don’t. Is that because his love has changed or he has stopped loving me? No, it has to do with my perception of his love. The truth hasn’t changed, only my belief has.
Similarly with beauty.
I am beautiful.
But sometimes I don’t feel that way.
Our society breeds discontent, and I am ashamed to admit that I fall prey to this over. and over.
I feel beautiful when I am too caught up in the moment (mindfulness anyone?) to think about what I do or don’t look like. I feel beautiful when I allow myself to be unfiltered and laugh the laugh that was voted “most obnoxious” in High School. I feel beautiful when I am confident (and humble) enough to sit with women years my senior to help them heal through pain. I feel beautiful when I’m listening to a friend over coffee or cocktails. I feel beautiful when I’m sweating like a pig on the basketball court. I feel beautiful when I am crying heavy tears in my husband’s arms. I feel beautiful when I’m intimate with my husband. I feel beautiful when I’m celebrating holidays with my large and loud family. I feel beautiful when I look in the mirror and I try to see myself through God’s eyes instead of Vogue’s.
It is so hard not to compare myself to the stunning women I see around me. I see God shine through other women physically and emotionally all. the. time. It only makes sense that He shines that way through me too.
The question is whether I will believe it.
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