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Friday, July 10, 2015

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Photo by Roger Kirby
I pointed to the "visible" marks on my face that bothered me so much. The lady at the makeup counter gave me a funny look and said, "Honestly, I don't see anything, but if you really don't feel good about your current concealer, we can try something different."

It was then that I realized that the way I perceive myself is quite different from how others perceive me. When I look in the mirror, I see a very flawed face. I see acne bumps here and there, red blemishes from acne that's disappearing, and lots of freckles.

Not only does my face bother me, but my body image does too. Everyone says I'm thin, but I say I could lose a few pounds. I say being thin isn't good enough; I need to be toned.

And yet, nobody says all those mean things to me; the only person who is being critical and belittling me is myself. I'm my harshest critic. I stare at my face in the mirror to find something I don't like on my face, so I can go online to figure how to fix it.  The thing is, nobody notices any of those things we as women notice about our own selves.

And how do we as women really know that nobody notices what we see in the mirror? Because of the lady at the makeup counter, because of a client who said to me,"If I could just wake up looking like you, I'd be so happy." And this is the truth I realized, "Nobody sees the flaws and blemishes in the mirror that you see. We as women are our own harshest critics. Nobody else is there pointing the finger at us but ourselves. And it needs to stop. We're made in the image of God.

So what if you have acne? So do millions of men and women. It's okay. Freckles? God gave those to you, and you can't scrub them off, so just leave them as is. That nose you don't like? Well, God made that one just for you. That curly hair you hate, someone else thinks is beautiful.  We're born into a sinful world; we won't look perfect. And that's okay. The majority of people are not staring at you looking for flaws. It's important to appreciate what God has given to you instead of complaining and trying to be someone different. It's important to step away from the mirror, to quit comparing yourself to other women, and to stop fueling vanity and discontentment. When someone tells you that you are beautiful, don't comment about all the reasons why you aren't. Accept their compliment and believe it, because we're made in the image of God.

The most important beauty is the one on the inside that spills out onto the outside. Take some time to cultivate that beauty instead. I've found that the beauty on the inside far exceeds the stuff on the outside. I've seen physically beautiful women who had ugly and mean-spirited attitudes towards other women, and all of a sudden they didn't look so beautiful anymore. And I've seen women who didn't appear to be "beautiful" who were so sweet and kind that I grew to think they were some of the most beautiful women on earth. Outer beauty gets us nothing in Heaven. Inner beauty has an eternal impact with everlasting rewards. As women, let's strive for the inner beauty and be content with our outer beauty.

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