Who does not want to be beautiful???
It is such a great feeling to hear someone tell you that you are beautiful! It is rare that someone can hear those words and not smile.
Believing that you are beautiful, or feeling beautiful, is something entirely different. In my opinion, believing that you are and feeling beautiful must come from inside.
Beautiful is subjective. Beautiful means different things to different people. It can even mean different things to the same person at different stages of life.
I do not have the precise statistics but know that each year women spend significant sums of money purchasing cosmetics, skin care products, botox treatments, hair color, and teeth whitening kits (you name it!) all in the interest of beauty. I know because I do, and I am never the only woman in Ulta!
We look at magazines and admire the Hollywood A-listers on the red carpet in their way too expensive gowns all the while marginalizing ourselves.
There is also the part of us as women that looks at others and criticizes. We have all done it! “What were they thinking wearing that? If I were them, I would fire my stylist. Doesn’t she know that her roots are showing?” That internal critic also criticizes us each time we step in front of a mirror. “Girl, you need to lay off the banana pudding,” or whatever your vice happens to be! “You would look better if you would lose twenty pounds.” Fill in the blank with whatever that mean inner voice screams at you.
One day I was contemplating all of this and realized that nothing about this behavior made me feel beautiful. Okay, perhaps the products that I buy at Ulta do for a little while! I decided to make a mental list of all the women that I know that I considered to be beautiful and what traits about them made me think so.
Here is what my list looked like:
A woman that I used to work with always expressing compassion for others. Always offering an encouraging word. She would give you the shirt off of her back. She would do anything for anyone even if it inconvenienced her. She was witty. She made others smile. Even when her workload was too much she would offer to help with yours. She was a light. A glow seemed to surround her. She made others feel good. She is divorced yet she still takes care of her ex-husband. Although I think she is a very pretty lady, when I think of the most beautiful person that I know she easily tops the list and not one single physical characteristic came to mind.
A friend that saw that I was not eating began bringing me bananas to work every day along with protein drinks. Sometimes she would even bring me candy because she knew I could not refuse that! She cooked extra when she prepared meals for her family and brought me care packages. She held me when I cried. She made time for me. She gave of herself freely without expecting or taking anything in return. She never judged me. There is so much more that I could say about her that makes her beautiful in my mind. Ironically when I envision her in my mind, it is her acts of love that I see first and then her smile.
A Facebook friend that I have never met in person – I do not think I have ever even seen a picture of her yet I placed her on my beautiful list. She used to be married to my husband’s brother. Even though they are no longer married, she reached out to me. She was kind and accepting of me. She made me feel like family. She has been an unknowing mentor to me in the area of step parenting. She does it beautifully. She calls her stepchildren her “perfects” indicating that she looks for the greatness in them as people. The way that she has carried herself makes her beautiful to me.
My former sister-in-law. She was unjaded. Naïve. New to the United States. Appreciative. Grateful. Loving. You just felt good being around her. Beautiful.
My Aunt Birdie. She loved the Lord with all of her heart. She was married to my grandfather before my grandmother was. My grandmother had an affair with my grandfather and became pregnant with my dad. My grandmother was an unfit parent. Despite it all, my aunt helped to raise my father. Not a drop of bitterness in her heart. She made quilts. Beautiful, hand-made quilts. The kind that took hours beyond my comprehension to make. The kind that could be sold for a hefty price. Yet, she gave them away so that people could feel God’s love “covering” them. She traveled witnessing and spreading God’s love. She was perhaps the first Proverbs 31 woman that I ever met. She was my own Corrie Ten Boom – whom I also find beautiful.
After reviewing my impromptu list of beautiful people, it occurred to me that the people that I consider to be most beautiful are beautiful from the inside out. While typing this list, their images were mere blurs like a faded photograph from years gone by. Their physical traits overshadowed by their acts of love. I see them and their beauty based on their acts of service and how they made me feel and not by how they look. They all displayed grace, humility, selflessness, love, mercy, kindness, compassion, character, and wisdom. They were nice.
Perhaps, I have just defined beautiful – at least from my perspective. If we would spend more time primping our insides or at least as much time as we do the outside, we might be able to spend less at the cosmetics store. We would have a radiant glow that could not be removed with any cream.
Our attitudes reflect our insides. People can see if you are ugly even if you have a beautiful face.
If you are not feeling beautiful today, do something for someone else just because. It is a beautiful feeling!
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Until Next Time,