Have you ever felt that if you were more attractive, life would be easier? Maybe that one boyfriend wouldn’t have cheated. Maybe certain teachers would have been easier on you. Maybe your outer beauty would make up for insecurities you have about your inner beauty. These are not thoughts that many of us broadcast but they come up. They hide in the corners of our minds and affect how we feel about ourselves, often without us even realizing.
I’ve had all of these thoughts, unfortunately.
I'd rather you not know how vain and beauty-obsessed I can be. I didn't want to know either. I didn't want to think too much about it. But I was always trying to look better, always thinking about how to fix myself and be prettier -- less clumsy, less awkward, more...together, I suppose. I got tired of that chase. What was the prize? When would it ever be enough? I just wanted to be at peace in my skin and I thought looking flawless would make that happen. I'm not a flawless kind of girl though. I wander. I stumble. I make messes. I have scars.
I knew my definition of beauty needed to change when I started getting older and it became more important to me to feel beautiful on the inside. It became a crucial part of my spiritual journey as a woman. I wanted to know the secrets to inner beauty and how to feel beautiful no matter what I look like on the outside. Knowing, of course, that this energy would flow out and give me an external presence that would glow.
There was something about letting my hair go natural that made me feel more real. That is not to say this is the case for everyone, but for me, this was a breakthrough. I felt like my natural hair reflected my personality more than relaxed hair. It made me want to see more of who I could be if I stopped altering myself so much.
It occurred to me that I felt uncomfortable in my skin not because of my so-called flaws but because of my exhausting need to hide them. Letting go of that need changed my perspective. The key to enduring beauty is to bring out more of who you are and align your inner world with your outer world.
Look for ways to show more of your inside world on the outside.I used to be ashamed of my creativity, and I thought it made me weird, not beautiful, so I didn’t explore it. The absence of a creative outlet kept me from seeing a huge part of what makes me special. Beauty reflects the way you feel inside. It’s about what you put out into the world, being aware of what your uninhibited energy can do and the difference you can make. So, give yourself more space, more time alone, to explore who you are. Practice being more honest, more vulnerable and straightforward about what matters to you.
Change the way you think about your quirks and imperfections.There is a mean girl that lives in our heads that likes to beat us up about the shortcomings we see when we compare ourselves to other people. Quiet her with self-affirming thoughts. Remember you are human, authentic, nuanced and created with a divine purpose. Nothing about you is a mistake. There’s no need to be ashamed of your shadows and sharp edges. Use them to enhance your understanding of life and self. Love yourself through your struggles and messy days. Find the beauty in your efforts and intentions.
Do something you thought you couldn’t do.The benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone are endless. In fact, making it a habit to step outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis will expand your life immensely. This step could be taking a trip somewhere by yourself or it could be as simple as deciding to cut your hair or stop wearing makeup. It could be joining a group or championing a cause you believe in. Don’t force yourself to do what’s popular or what keeps you from feeling different. You are different, so say yes to yourself and give yourself a chance. Experiment and fail however many times it takes until you get it right.
Your self-image will change as you get to know yourself more intimately. A sincere desire to show what God has placed within you will give you purpose and glow and it will attract people and opportunities that bring out the best in you. See, beauty is about being unique and loving it, not about being perfect. If you ever have even the most fleeting thought that you are not beautiful the way God made you, it’s time to rethink your definition of beauty.
GG Renee is an independent author, a creativity coach, a feeler and an overthinker. She writes for women who crave honest dialogue and inspiration for the joys and challenges they face every day. Blog // Twitter // Instagram