Give me your full attention for a moment- this is very important.
Lean in a bit closer. Set aside anything competing for your focus right this second, take a deep breath, and hear these words I say to you:
…You are beautiful.
I didn’t say flawless. I said Beautiful.
I know I don’t have a perfect body. There have been many times in my life that my personal list of short-comings and the accompanying inner dialogue of “You’re not good enough” determined my self-worth.
I’ve stood at the mirror feeling depressed and grumbled to a friend about my “ugly qualities.” But lately I’ve started to realize that although my body isn’t perfect…no one else’s is either! Who even decided what “perfect” is anyway?
A light bulb went off in my head when I noticed my 11 year old daughter fussing over herself in the mirror. I wondered if she has heard me bemoan my imperfections and made a list of her own.
When I thought about it, I realized what I want to teach my little girl about beauty and self-worth and what I was actually teaching her were not lining up.
And not only is she watching me, but her two brothers are forming ideas about what makes a woman beautiful and appealing, too. Is a woman valuable only if she matches some ever-changing, subjective list of physical characteristics? Do women need to hide their imperfections in order to be accepted?
The truth is, my body is amazing! It has allowed me to hike through beautiful places and etch the sunrises and scenery in my memory. The wrinkles at my eyes and mouth are evidence of a million smiles. That stubborn roll of fat around my midsection is a testimony to the way my body housed and developed the three most precious children I know. My calloused hands have prepared ten thousand meals, rocked babies through the dark lonely night, and turned the pages of my favorite books. The uneven splotches on my face remind me of summers spent at the beach watching my kids delight in the ocean.
I’m not going to be the next Victoria’s Secret model, but my family thinks I am beautiful. They think that because I am real…I am present…I am unique…I am filled with life and love. I would never create a list of things I wish were different about my daughter, so why do I do it to myself?
I’ve decided to end the self-talk that chides “I’d be beautiful, if only…” and embrace the truth that I am beautiful right now. Period.
And I extend that truth to you, too, because sometimes we all need to hear it.
You are beautiful. You really are.