Re-Post…as a reminder to LOVE the SKIN You are IN!
What IS Beautiful?
The word itself evokes so many images, so many definitions…and sadly, SO much distortion. Women have such a skewed perspective on the subject and it is worth settling in and really getting to the HEART of the matter. So grab a cup of coffee, take a deep breath and “sip” on this…
When a baby girl is born her mother looks at that precious child and sees beauty. Crushed nose, bug eyes, stork bites, red face, and wrinkled fingers do not alter the beauty that her mother finds. Her father sheds tears at the sight before him. This little girl is BEAUTIFUL. She grows up to the tender age of 5 or 6 and her little snaggled toothed self with freckles and a cowlick continue to scream BEAUTY to all those around her.
So what HAPPENS? When does the shift occur? The deception of this world slowly creeps in. The outside voices begin to penetrate the TRUTH that has held her together for those first few tender years of life.
The outside voices say—
“What are those ugly dots on your face?”
“Your legs are too long, too short, too big, too small.”
“Your cheeks are FAT!”
“Your hair is too frizzy, too flat, too poofy, too short.”
“Your teeth are not straight.”
“Your glasses make you look like you have 4 eyes.”
“Your nose, lips, forehead or chin are too big, small, or long.”
Some of the voices are NOT audible, they are merely suggested. They are magazines and television shows with images of gaunt (not to mention air brushed) women wearing elegant colorful dresses, with fun, flirty shoes and dating “hot” boys. Each picture sends the message: “You are NOT enough…you are NOT beautiful…in fact, you are ugly.”
The voices that had so loudly spoken to us before that made us secure, not question, and even comfortable in our own skin, are drowned out by the world’s messages around us. (Sadly even those that we loved and trusted can become the voice that breaks our spirit and causes us to believe that we have somehow lost our beauty.) The deceivers, in the many forms they take, then lead so many precious pre-teens and teens in to a downward spiral of body image issues, self-loathing, and a general sense of DISCONTENT. It is a slow progression that takes place over long periods of time…but unfortunately, those same voices can linger in to our 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s…some of us will actually live out all of our days shaped, molded and haunted by those voices. The messages sent may change, but our question remains the same: Do you think I am beautiful? We live confused about what beauty truly is—and it steals the joy from our daily lives.
We look to the mirror or a scale to measure our self worth. We look to those around us to tell us we are beautiful. Through outward actions and inward thoughts we ask over and over again, “Do you think I am beautiful?” We listen to voices that were NEVER intended to speak truth over our lives. So where does it end? Where does a new definition of beauty begin?
It starts with a fresh voice, new vision, a friend sharing a cup of coffee and saying: “Honestly girl, you are BEAUTIFUL! You are not just beautiful, but you are SMOKIN’ HOT!”
As a personal trainer I want to start by saying beauty is SO much deeper and so much more than a six pack. Beauty is so much more than being thin or even dare I say healthy and fit. I have met plenty of trainers that might externally have the perfect physique but they are missing an inner peace and an inner beauty. Beauty is more than big boobs, a rockin’ hair cut, and a great pair of pink pumps. Society and this culture have REALLY done a number on women. External beauty has become our obsession and it is not only a complete fallacy, it is a lot like chasing a shadow of what society determines is “beautiful” at that moment in time. Janine and I are both constantly striving to realign women with the truth on this matter.
Beautiful is a timely word of encouragement. Beautiful is a thoughtful note or email to a hurting friend. Beautiful is seeing those around you as more important than yourself. Beautiful is a song sung from the heart…on or off key! Beautiful is a long belly laugh. Beautiful is a vulnerable cry after hearing sad news. Beautiful is confidence and security. Beautiful is the ability to lavish others with words of affirmation—knowing that you yourself may not have those same attributes. Beautiful is the opposite of obsession…it is contentment.
What does a beautiful body look like? A beautiful body is found in a woman who is comfortable in her own skin. A beautiful body is much more thankful for the way her body moves than how much she weighs. A beautiful body is wrapped around a 70-year-old women wrinkled with time wrestling on the floor or running around the park with her grandchildren! A beautiful body is covering a tired and sweaty 41-year-old woman who just finished her first 5k. A beautiful body is one that adorns a bikini for the first summer in a long time only to share her curves and her stretch marks knowing that they gave her 3 beautiful children. A beautiful body is one that has been worked hard and her muscles reflect her effort and discipline.
I am reminded of an old folktale that I heard many years ago. It is a story of an antique shop that carried all kinds of ornamental glass, and wooden treasures. There was China and crystal and Venetician glass, all items that held great value intertwined with just old junk that families dropped off unable to part with or throw away. One night a mischievous thief broke in to the store. Instead of stealing anything, he just exchanged the tags on the merchandise inside. The items that were most expensive he replaced with a tag of the least expensive item. Once all the tags were switched he left. The next day as customers came and went they purchased the China paying pennies for it, not realizing the gem that was in their hand. Other customers paid high dollar believing that they were receiving an antique treasure when in fact they were paying for an overpriced piece of JUNK!
The same is true for the world in which we live today. In this world the BEAUTY tags have been SWITCHED! We have foolishly bought in to our culture’s overpricing of external beauty, a beauty that fades, a beauty that is never fully satisfied or attained. We have walked down the isles and have been duped in to believing that the right make-up, jewelry, clothes, highlights, or “look” would set us a part and send a message to the world that we are beautiful. We have even chosen more toxic routes like eating too little or exercising too much or have altered our hair, skin, or body in hopes to feel more beautiful and please others. In doing this we bypassed the gem sitting on the shelf marked “unconditional love”…”generosity”…”kindness”…”contentment” and went straight for the big ticket items believing that they would not only bring us happiness but they were more valuable. We have ALL done this in some form along the way…I know I have! My encouragement is to take a long look in the mirror before we make our next purchase. Try it on…does it ooze of the deception of this world—or does it shine with an ever-lasting quality? Be certain that the investment that you are making is one that will last!
Why as women do we look at one another’s weaknesses and flaws instead of pointing out our strengths and gifts? Truly beautiful women do this…but they are rare. I also hope to tackle the messages we are sending our children and those around us by having our own distorted sense of beauty. How can we change this? I will end with this loving reminder…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! You are not just beautiful but you are SMOKIN’ HOT!
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,