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Monday, July 28, 2014

Beauty Is As Beauty Does

What is beauty?  Yeah, I know that's a frequently asked question.  There's currently a fad going around Facebook where people are challenging one another to post five pictures where they feel beautiful.  And I'm not saying that's stupid or silly.  I participated too, so don't you worry about it.  :)

However, we don't focus on what beauty is often enough.  Merriam-Webster defines beauty as "the quality of being physically attractive; the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind".  This is the definition society tends to follow.  You look at the font covers of the tabloid magazines while waiting in the check out line at Walmart and you see glaring headlines like "Stars Without Makeup".   (Oh admit it, you look at the covers of the stupid things too.)  Underneath this honestly useless topic are the most unflattering photos of, you guessed it, stars without makeup.  When did we get so focused on covering up our true skin?  Sure, it's nice to cover up the occasional zit now and then, accentuate cheekbones, make your eyes pop with color, but seriously?  Do we have to categorize beauty by the amount of foundation you cake on?  Sure, we tell our daughters, girlfriends, sisters, best friends that they don't need makeup to look beautiful, but our voices our outnumbered by insane shrieks of society.  Is it bad to try to look your best?  No, I don't think so.  But becoming dependent on makeup to make us beautiful instead of allowing our natural beauty to color our cheeks and bring a sparkle to our eyes, that's overdoing it.

Speaking of natural beauty, when did looking beautiful replace being beautiful?  I thought they were supposed to be one and the same.  Regardless of what they should be or used to be, they are now two very different things.  You've seen the movies where there is the incredibly attractive girl who could care less about what other people feel and is a complete jerk to everyone she comes into contact.  Would you call her truly beautiful?  Or does she only look the part?  And then there are those characters who aren't physically attractive (although honestly, that's all a matter of personal opinion and preference), and these characters are simply gushing with goodness and have truly beautiful personalities.  And to the viewer, they either become more attractive, or we stay stuck on the "why couldn't they have picked a cuter actor/actress for this role?"

So what does it mean to be beautiful?  Just as with looking beautiful, that is very objective.  But being beautiful can be boiled down to simply being real.  No one likes a person who is fake or two-faced.  Being yourself is the best kind of beautiful.
Being beautiful is also being kind.  Showing true kindness to others, without expecting it to be shown back, is one of the most stunning attributes of a person.  Loving with a selfless love, doing things simply out of the goodness of the heart, believing the best of others, giving second chances, listening and knowing when to advise and when to stay quiet...all these are beautiful qualities that makes an individual stand out.  (Of course, all these need to be monitored and not excessive, because if you're always giving someone the benefit of the doubt and refusing to acknowledge the sad but glaring truth in front of you, then you need to reevaluate your goodness to make sure it isn't naivety.)

But the most important point I want to make is please please PLEASE NEVER EVER COMPARE YOUR BEAUTY TO SOMEONE ELSE!!!!  It's absolutely exhausting and you will never come out on top.  You will always feel dissatisfied with yourself.  It's cliche to say be yourself, because that's the most beautiful you that you can be, but it's very true.  You are you, so you are your own kind of beautiful.  I cannot stress this enough.  If you try to be like someone else, your true beauty will fade and be replaced by figurative layers of foundation, blush, and eyeliner, maybe even literally.
Let yourself shine through, even if some people make fun of your quirks, your laugh, your size, your optimism, whatever it is.  Be the you God made.
God doesn't make junk.  He makes beautiful things...He made you didn't He?

Hold onto that.  

I don't know where you're at right now.  You may be perfectly content with who you are, which is fantastic!  You may think "My goodness, that is exactly what I keep doing!"  Also awesome.  You may be a guy.


If that's the case, start over, and insert "handsome" where "beauty/beautiful" is and ignore all the stuff about makeup.  Unless you're okay with being considered beautiful...then just keep reading.   

So what are you?  A beautiful face or a beautiful person?  They ought to go hand in hand, but our views on outward and inward beauty are so skewed now.  Who will you be?  It's hard to pull away from wanting to look beautiful, I admit.  What?  The blogger has serious appearance insecurities?  Heck yes I do!  I didn't start this blog to lecture you on moral issues that I have no history with.  I started this to share how God is shaping me so that I could hopefully shed some light to others.  

I challenge you to sit down and decide for yourself what you see as beautiful and compare that with Scripture.  Don't be afraid to seek out what true beauty is, even if others may laugh.  Because when someone sees the you that you truly are, they will point that out to you.  And after a while, you'll start to believe them.  You'll begin to see yourself as truly beautiful.  

But don't forget who made you beautiful at birth.  Because you were: beautiful at birth.

"There is no definition of beauty, but when you can see someone's spirit coming through, something unexplainable, that's beautiful to me."  Liv Taylor

“What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.” Scott Westerfield Uglies

“No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.” Eleanor Roosevelt

"I sincerely feel that beauty largely comes from within." Christy Turlington

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