I’ve only been around 36 years, but I’m getting the feeling that mostly, we women are all the same. We don’t have the same personalities or interests or lives, but deep, deep down, I think we all have this fundamental thing where we want to be loved and admired. We want to be done with the striving and just be who we are, in the best version possible, and then offer that to the world and be celebrated for it.
I think this is why women need to feel beautiful.
When we are loved and admired for our beauty, we live in the space of what we want, and I’d argue, who we were born to exist as. When we are loved and admired for how we look, it feels shallow and flattering and fleeting. But when we are admired and loved for our inherent beauty, it feels deep, valid, and good. We can accept it. I think this is because being recognized for our beauty is being recognized for our essence— our souls, instead of our faces or bodies. You can’t fake or buy, or make beauty from something bad. True beauty is always good. And that’s why it feels good to be noticed and celebrated for it.
Real beauty isn’t flashy, it doesn’t need to draw attention to itself. Truly beautiful women have a luminous quality that can’t help but overflow and get all over everyone in the room, like glitter.
That’s what women want.
And, ahem, it’s what men want, too.
But I think we keep confusing inhabiting beauty with other things, like how we present. Pretty, sexy, polished, successful, and put-together, are all ways we present to the world. Presenting something and inhabiting something are different things. This other stuff is mock beauty, brought to you by the beauty industry. The beauty industry tells us we can be beautiful by buying and waxing, painting and tanning, and curling and straightening. Then there’s the buffing and smoothing and tightening and tweaking, injecting, plucking, and botox-ing,and even going under the knife if necessary. All these things to enhance the way we look. All these things about how I present. How I look. All about me.
Mock beauty is about me. But real beauty is of me.
When a woman is really beautiful, it turns heads and intrigues and draws people in. That’s what we are hoping for with all the flashy stuff. But it simply doesn’t last. And you always need more to keep it going. More lip palettes, more workouts, new clothes. We spend and invest in ourselves until we are the most hollow, disconnected, self-absorbed dazzling little sexy things you ever did see.
When we present ourselves this way to the world, what we are hoping for is reverence and love. We don’t always realize this, so we change love to envy. Because everyone knows, if they are envious of us, we’re winning. Right?
Well, I’m not having it.
We are better than this. This isn’t even what we want—the envy. We think we do, but we’re wrong.
I’m not anti-beauty industry. Beauty products and services are fine. But they aren’t the thing. We just keep thinking they are the thing.
John Mayer tweeted recently:
If you’re pretty, you’re pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise, it’s just, ‘congratulations on your face.’
And as a side note, I’d like to speak to the “pretty women” for a minute. You know if you are “pretty woman” in America because culture is very loud and clear about who is in and who is out.
If you are a pretty or polished woman who suggests or thinks she is ugly when not wearing make-up or when seven pounds up— if these things prompt anxiety in you, and you think they compromise how pretty you are, here’s some truth: You are a pretty woman by no doing of your own. It’s just DNA. There’s no merit involved here, which makes you “pretty” a birthright (and also, your cheapest commodity). You are either born a pretty woman or you are not and it will remain this way until you are a very old woman, okay?
When you pretend you don’t know this, or forget you know this, and complain about how hideous you are as twenty or forty-five year old, then, my dear, may I suggest you are one of the biggest parts of this problem?
BECAUSE WHAT IS EVERYBODY SUPPOSED TO THINK?
If you were beautiful, there’s not a single thing that could cause you anxiety. Not aging, and certainly not gray hair.
Focus on beauty.
Until then, “pretty women” remember, pretty and beautiful is a lovely combo, but so is:
Intelligent and beautiful
Bold and beautiful
Compassionate and beautiful
Talented and beautiful
And these other things have no expiration. You don’t become old and less intelligent or bold or compassionate or talented. You might even say these attributes are more valuable than pretty, because they don’t abandon, ever.
If you don’t figure that part out, then CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FACE! You’re gonna need it, pretty girl. It’s all you got.
So, if beauty is the thing then, we need to become beautiful. And here’s the best part about that: beauty does not discriminate. Beauty is for everyone. And here is the second best part: our souls want to become more, and to be seen as, beautiful. Because of this, becoming beautiful feels less like work and more like relief. More like stepping into yourself and authenticity.
Becoming beautiful is an unlearning more than a learning.
We don’t learn to be become beautiful, we remember to inhabit it because it’s already inside us. We just need to keep stepping into it. And we learn to step, one step at a time.
The way to become beautiful is to be BEAUTY-FULL. Become so beauty-full that you overflow with it when you walk into a room.
In order to do this we need to fill up on the things that make up beauty: loveliness, health, light and love. And we need to avoid the opposites of these: ugly, dark, sick, hate and apathy.
We fill up on either of these opposites all the time, in a myriad of ways, from the things we watch, to the people we choose to be closest to. The things we read and study, the habits we choose, the things we say, the friends and spouses we pick, the thoughts we think, the food we eat. All of it is connected. And one has everything to do with the other even if it doesn’t appear that way.
So chose loveliness, light, health, and love to become loveliness, light, health and love.
To become beautiful.
It really is this simple.
A lot of people talk about filling up with beauty by way of something called “self care.” But that term is used for everything from massages to walks through the woods. When I say self care, what I really mean is “soul care” and that lens helps me decide whether what I’m considering is worthy or not. For soul care, It’s not another massage that I need. Massages are nice, but they are kind of like “pretty.” It doesn’t fill or last like beauty does. Soul care involves taking time for the things and people in our lives, including ourselves, in ways that are life giving. It’s about adopting spiritual practices and healing relationships in life and within yourself that point you towards your true north— things that connect you to others and anchors your soul in peace and communion with yourself and God. Beauty.
This takes work, and it’s a steady stepping into and becoming. You don’t become in a day or a week, like the Velveteen Rabbit knew, but rather, it happens over time. You start with one thing, and then move to the next, ironing out the things in your life that need addressing. Forgiving, and healing and letting love and joy in along the way whenever possible, wherever you are. The work is never done, but you find joy and contentment in the doing.
Inevitably, when you fill up with enough of this good stuff, it has no where else to go but to spill out into service to others. Love always loves you first and then helps you love other people. It may take years. Be patient and keep stepping into life and beauty and away from the stagnant and dark.
And that’s why real beauty is hard won. It doesn’t just happen. That’s why it turns heads and captivates. Beauty doesn’t need to attract attention like “pretty” does because beauty draws you to it, no matter the packaging.
Can you imagine what an intoxicating beautiful world we would have if wasn’t so rare? If we all stopped settling? If we all woke up and became beautiful like we were meant to; like we so badly want?
Wake up, sleeping beauty.
We need you to occupy and feed the beauty inside you.
“I believe it’s time that women truly owned their superpowers and used their beauty and strength to change the world around them.”