I looked at the mirrored wall at the gym as I moved through the tai chi motions and had the most surprising thought. I never knew I was so beautiful.
Let me explain.
I recently did a search for how often the word “beautiful” appears in the Bible.
I found out that the Old Testament is full of beautiful women. Sara was beautiful.1 Rebecca was very beautiful.2 Rachel was lovely in form and beautiful.3 Job’s daughters were more beautiful than any other women in the land.4 The list goes on and on. I think my favorite, though, is Abigail. Abigail was beautiful and intelligent.5 What more would a woman desire be said of her?
Do you know who the happiest people are? Those who have the courage to be themselves, just the way God made them, rather than try to be something they’re not in order to fit in or impress others. Struggling to live up to what you think others expect of you puts a heavy weight on you, but there’s freedom in humility.
My heart skipped a beat at the sight of the beautiful sign—not beautiful in an aesthetic sense, but beautiful because of one magical phrase: FRECKLES AND BEAUTY MARKS REMOVED. To my eager eyes, those words seemed written in silver and edged in gold, for they held a promise of freedom from the thing I had always hated most about myself.
Things, actually—seven of them, dark enough to pass for careless spatters of ink by a Creator too busy to notice His mistake. Since I had never seen so many dark “beauty marks” (who invented that cruel term?) on anyone else, the spots had made me feel singularly unattractive. Now I could put all that in the past.
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so with this thought in mind I interviewed a few people—male and female, younger and older, and from different backgrounds—to find out what they felt made a person attractive.
Here are some of their answers:
If all the flowers in the world were one color, or if there was only one type of tree, it would get boring after a while. Beauty is found in variety—the varying types and textures, hues and shades. I don’t understand why people try so hard to all look alike. What’s the beauty in that? I look at these models walking down the runway, and while many of them have symmetrical chiseled features‚ great skin, and what the media and fashion industry promote as “perfect” bodies, most of them look similar. They’re perfect examples of cookie-cutter beauty.
“You’re going to be so pretty when you grow up,” I remember people telling me when I was a little girl. Oh, how I waited for that day! All of my dreams would come true. I would be beautiful!
But at 15 I was nothing like I had imagined. I was chunky and hated my body. I wore only black clothes to try to make myself look thinner. I also wore a lot of makeup that became a mask to hide behind. I remember crying and being incredibly depressed because I thought I was so fat I didn’t deserve to live. It’s easy to see how ridiculous such thoughts are when it’s others who are thinking them, but when you’re the one, it’s a different story.