I was challenged on facebook to post 5 pictures I felt beautiful in. Naturally, this got me thinking about my beauty and what makes me feel beautiful. I love that the challenge says “feel” because feeling beautiful and looking beautiful do not always align for me. Some days I feel like a million bucks, but then I see a picture of myself and think “oh gosh, that’s what my hair looked like?” or “wow, that outfit makes me look lumpy” or “I really should have put on makeup”. And just like that the feeling of beauty has been shattered. It’s sad that all it takes for me to feel ugly is my own critique. Actually, maybe that’s a good thing, because the problem lies within me (the only person I actually have control over).
It goes both ways though, some days I feel like a hideous monster, and later when I see a picture I am surprised to see how beautiful I looked. It baffles me. One of the pictures that I look the most beautiful in, is one of the days that I felt like a hideous cow. I was in a wedding and my bridesmaid dress was a little too snug. I was a curvy woman in the midst of a skinny bridal party, and I couldn’t have felt more out of place. I was so consumed by my fear of looking like I didn’t belong (as if my weight and size would raise the question “how did she get to be such good friends with the bride? Why is she part of the bridal party?”) that I started to feel like I didn’t belong. Most of the pictures captured from the wedding remind me of feeling out of place, because it is written all over my face and my posture. But one picture was taken while I was listening to my good friends say their vows. I was so focused on them and their promises to each other and how beautiful it was that I forgot about me. I forgot about feeling out of place. I forgot about feeling fat. I forgot about what I thought others thought of me. I was just present in a beautiful moment wherein two friends declared their lifelong love for each other. And in that moment, when I let my guard down, I was beautiful.
So what about those times I do feel beautiful? I started looking through my pictures and began to feel a little awkward. What if people don’t see beauty in the pictures I felt the most beautiful in? There I am again. I am constantly getting caught up in what others think, when in fact, I don’t actually know what they think. And really, it doesn’t even matter what they think. What matters here is that I am getting my worth from God and not man. What matters is that I see beauty in myself because God created me, and in His image no less.
I started to focus on the moments the pictures were taken instead of the image themselves. When did I FEEL beautiful?
- The day I told Dean, in front of God and my family, I would love him forever no matter what.
- The day I boldly wore red lipstick just because I liked it. (It took me 3 months after I bought the lipstick to summon up the courage to wear it)
- The day Sarah and I met the most joyous old woman and we laughed together despite our language barrier. (I’m a boisterous, belly laugher)
- Any time I am able to be silly, goofy, me without fear of judgment. This time was when I stole my friend’s glasses and proceeded to act dignified and British.
- When I am doing things I love just because I love them. In this case, dancing on the beach because I felt like dancing on the beach.
The challenge was to post five pictures, but I have six because I couldn’t bear to leave this one out:
When do you FEEL beautiful? I challenge you not to just look for pretty pictures of yourself. Find the pictures that captured moments you felt beautiful. I’m realizing that I feel the most beautiful when I allow myself to just be me.