We live in a modern society that likes to call every woman beautiful, and to some degree I believe this to be true, but in many ways, it is also a big fat lie. Because underneath all that Chanel, some women definitely do not define what it truly means to be considered beautiful.
Beauty, a word where the waters of the definition have definitely been muddied in recent times. The beauty of a woman today is less defined by her virtue and poise and instead quantified by her virtual popularity and perfect contouring. It's no wonder most of us are in a constant state of turmoil wondering as to whether we are beautiful, but we are looking at the wrong things!
How to make yourself beautiful.
Feeling beautiful is something we are all concerned with, I know it. Otherwise why else would you slick on that lipstick, blow dry your hair or slip on a pair of heels? We do many things to enhance our outward beauty, but what are you doing to enhance your inner beauty?
What can we do to become more beautiful in every way, and why does it even matter to us so much?
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.
The reality is that being and feeling beautiful matters to women. We have many people saying that it shouldn't, but when you really think about it, can you let go of that aching desire to feel and be beautiful?
Though not everyone may be born a “classic beauty” (myself included), with some good effort and working on your social and emotional intelligence you can be beautiful from the inside out. Have you ever noticed how some women radiate a warmth that makes you feel happy to be in their presence? They are nurturers; they are considerate and gentle in their demeanour and always have something encouraging to say. Are they not the truly beautiful ones?
I’ll be the first to admit that some days when I take a look in the mirror what stares back at me is disappointing. I have my insecurities and when I don’t bother to make an effort, by goodness it shows! It’s not that I feel like I look like an ogre but I certainly don’t feel “beautiful” sometimes. My wedding day was such an occasion, I loved my dress, I loved the day, I loved my new husband but I still felt flawed, because I was. I hadn't yet discovered or embraced my inner beauty. Look at the picture below, you can see how I looked, but not how I honestly felt about myself (because that wasn't pretty, at all). I invested in a dress, but I hadn't yet learnt to invest in my heart.
I would catch myself believing the lie that what is on the outside, (what other people see), rather than what they feel about me is the only thing to be judged. That people care less about my soul and more about what I look like, dress like, and the things I do. To some extent that may be true. This is how society operates, we make snap judgements within seconds about people, but are we not more than chance encounters and quick glances?
We hear all the time about couples who go on dates who find out that there is no spark, that he or she was frankly a bit of a disappointment to the potential beau. Physical beauty, while advantageous to some degree will never stand up to real beauty.
So what can you do to enhance your beauty in a ladylike way?
Here are some tips on self-investment that will make you feel good about yourself beyond what you can find on a beauty counter or clothing rail. Really beautiful women invest in themselves at both the salon and the bookstore.
Invest in the things you love
To some ladies that may be expensive skincare, to others perhaps a good holiday, or like me, curating a collection of great books and buying quality things for the home (I love to nest). When you invest both effort and time into the things that you love then your happiness tank is topped up. Forget what current trends and “social influencers” tell you what you should be buying or the places you should be going. If spending an afternoon mooching around a National Trust property is more your thing than hot-footing it to the nearest nightclub or trendy spot, then do that! Take some time to figure out your sweet spot and do it. For me, that means reading, writing and nesting. Give me the ability to do these three things and I am a happy lady. A happy lady is a beautiful lady.
Spend good time with friends and family
We are made for community yet so many of us are living relatively lonely lives filling the void with social media connections. This isn’t enough, we need to “hygge”, but we need to “hygge” genuinely and with intention. I appreciate that it may be hard to relate to some family members, but a wise girl once told me “you cannot choose your relatives, but you can choose your family”. Invest your spare time in building a community and adopt new family if you need to. People need people and you are no different. “How will this make me feel beautiful?", I hear you ask. The ability to love and feel loved is the number one characteristic of a woman’s beauty.
Get to know your body
How we feel about our bodies is a source of great anxiety, disappointment and pain for many of us. Ladies who are happy with their bodies are quite simply a bit of a rarity, but you need to look beyond what you see and translate your feelings about your body into what you feel. Engage your senses. Appreciate what your body does for you more than how it looks and the love for it will come. Smell the roses, see the beauty of nature, hear your favourite music, taste your favourite foods (yes, eat the chocolate! Just make it the best chocolate). Feel textures you like – get your hands in the soil and grow something, knead dough, stroke your pets, cradle babies, hold hands. Dance! Move your body and get out for walks to places other than the shopping mall. Exercise out in the open, not on a machine in an artificially lit room for show-offs. Walk, it’s enough to get your body fitter. Sweat if you have to but realise that sweat and “gains” is not the only path to make you beautiful. Truly living in and loving what your body can do for you makes you beautiful, not how you can manipulate it with diets and dumbbells.
Look for the meaning in life
Life is about so much more than reality TV and texts, it’s more than worry and work, far more than money and things. What do you really feel in your heart is your purpose for being here? Is it to follow the pattern set out for general society or do you know that there is more to life than what happens on the outside? External things bring us convenience, but internal peace brings us comfort. Explore your spirituality because it’s there and shouldn’t be ignored. Really beautiful women are at peace with themselves and who they are, and that can only be found with soul searching. Sign up to programs and supportive networks that help you to grow, stretch your imagination, expand your capacity to love and build more meaning into your life.
Release fear and anxiety
You were not born with a spirit of fear!
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline".
2 Timothy 7 (NLT)
Regardless of your spiritual persuasion, you cannot deny that truth. Babies are born with so much hope and purity, yet so many grown women live in fear forgetting that they were not meant to feel that way. It is not a natural state to fear and be anxious. Many women fear that they'll never match up to expectation, fear that they aren’t beautiful enough, worthy enough, smart enough, good enough, liked enough. You weren’t born this way, but I understand that life happens. It happens to all of us, but when you realise that you can release and let go of all that ugly feeling, then the beauty comes. It’s called forgiveness and grace. "Graceful" is an attribute we use to identify “ladies” and is what I believe to be the holy grail of beauty. To be graceful means to be courteous, have good manners, put others before yourself, to extend forgiveness always, and be proper in all situations.
Regardless of how you feel you “stack up” against the world and its expectations, no matter what you may fear or be anxious about, if you can learn to carry yourself with grace then fear eventually melts away. Fear is a created human emotion and one that can be overcome when you finally invest in the tools you need in order to rise up as a graceful, beautiful woman.
Embrace who you are, past, present and future
To be truly beautiful, you have to forgive yourself, your situation and those that do you wrong. This applies to your past and maybe even your present situation. When people operate out of a place of hurt and hate they inflict so much pain on the world. You may have been a victim of someone else’s anxiety, fear or control but you must realise that in order to heal you must have a change of heart. People who wear anger in their hearts are never beautiful. Who is the woman you wish to become? Do you want to live free of negative thinking and have clear hope for your future and your dreams? Do you want to feel truly elegant, beautiful and learn how to be graceful every day regardless of modern pressures and past mistakes? Ladies Like Us was written to help you get there.
Everyone's journey to feeling beautiful is different, but you must take the first step. But the lesson here is this - we must make an effort, we must learn to feel and appreciate the beauty that is all around us regardless of what it is, because it affects you and ultimately the people around you.
Appreciating beauty is essentially appreciating life, and that is what truly makes women beautiful.