This morning, I had a brief discussion with a colleague.
“It’s easy to feel beautiful at home or around friends and family because they know who you are,” she said. “But as I got older, I was told to be intelligent, to burn hearts with brilliance and engulf souls with compassion in order to be considered beautiful.”
Beauty is such a complicated concept. We all have different ideas of what beauty should look like and how it should feel, yet we all want to feel beautiful.
There is no seeker among those who search for beauty who hasn’t matured on the way. The moment we start to redefine what it means to be beautiful, we start to change both on the interior and exterior.
Yeah sure, we all get those fleeting moments of momentary bliss when we wear that dress we love so much, or when we wear the makeup that helps us to feel flawless. But feeling beautiful is deeper than that; it’s about self-love and acceptance.
It is about a work in progress that is slowly yet inevitably moving toward “perfection.”
It is about a spiritual rather than physical definition of beauty, where we are all considered to be unfinished works of art waiting for and striving toward completion.
It is about saying, “I might not look like you, but isn’t humanity like skilled penmanship, where every single line and dot and curve and angle is equally important?”
Often when we feel our most beautiful, it is in those moments in which we are embracing and appreciating the “perfect,” unblemished aspects of ourselves amidst all the other stuff that we dislike. This is the easy part—finding the small things.
What is difficult is to love ourselves with all our imperfections and defects.
The lesson here is that there is no wisdom without unconditional love. Unless we learn to love ourselves wholly and completely, irrespective of surface value, we can neither truly love ourselves nor others.
A life without self-love is of no account. Self-love is what we all have inside of us, clouded and sheltered by our insecurities and our need for acceptance.
There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.
The quest to be beautiful will always be an unattainable ideal—one that will continue to define and redefine itself, ever dependent on the spirit of the age, or popular culture.
We are not that fluid.
The truth is, we are all perfect as we are and capable of immense and unconditional love. Love is what we came here to learn. Personal love. Universal love. Messy love.
We didn’t come here to be beautiful. We already are. We came here to be gorgeously human—flawed and fabulous.
Beautiful is the woman who keeps her head up and is proud of her body, just as it is.
Beautiful is the man who has to hide his gay lover from his judgmental parents, but who loves, regardless of what the world will think.
Beautiful are the women who buy the jeans that fit them, not the ones they hope will fit one day.
Beautiful are the people who wear what they want because they like it.
Beautiful are the people who choose love.
Beautiful are the people who allow their bodies to be their temples and canvases, and who create their outer beings to reflect their inner.
Beautiful are the people who hurt and feel insecure and make mistakes, but rise above and find the confidence to admit when they’re wrong.
Beautiful is everyday. Beautiful is both the struggle and the triumph.
Beautiful is you and me.