Feeling beautiful is more important than having others tell you that you are. Loving yourself and who you are, being confident in your skills, abilities, desires, and not being ashamed or afraid of what others may think makes us beautiful.
Yes I like to look my best and feel my best, but I want to feel good about myself even when I’m having a “bad day”. When I am bloated, tired lazy, pigging out, and doing things because I want to, not because I feel pressured into thinking that I should behave a certain way. I love being able to let loose and do the things I want.
Even so, there is always an undercurrent, a nagging thought at the back of my head telling me that I shouldn’t eat that candy bar, or that I should go to the gym because I haven’t been in a week, even though I’ve been at least 15 times in the last month (more than ever for me). I just want to run when I want to go for a run and eat a box of cookies if I feel like it, because it makes me happy to do both.
I want to stop worrying about what everyone or anyone thinks of me and “do me” because I really do love myself. I love everything about me. It is what others may think, and the fact that it is important to me, that I hate, that makes me so mad. I hate that I give power over my life and choices to anyone else but me. Who cares what you want, or my parents have dreamt for me, or what my siblings think is cool, or if I’m not skinny, or don’t smile enough? Ok, I care. But why?
Who are you to judge me for loving me? And really, who am I to care? The things that make me beautiful are not the things that make you beautiful. So our perceptions of “beauty” are not relevant to anyone but ourselves. When it comes to beauty, it only matters what I think. What I feel…about me and about what concerns my life. And it is beautiful when, even though another’s perception and opinions on beauty may not coincide with our own, we are encouraged and affirmed in who we are.
So, even if I can’t ever shake the need for approval, I hope I can change the way my sister sees herself. I hope my niece knows she is smart. I hope my best friend realizes her worth, and that my mother knows the impact her life has on her children. I hope my nephew continues to love wholeheartedly and is never embarrassed by his own honesty. And my brother believes he is loved by my father, who like my mom, I hope realizes his value.
Really, I hope that by living my life the way I want to live it and loving myself along the way is enough to inspire little girls and grown women alike to do the same. Whether they dream of traveling to Europe or asserting their independence, I hope they learn to hear the beat of their own pulse, and how it quickens in pace at the mere though of doing what they love and long to do, over the disapproving looks, and murmured disagreement. Because they are beautiful, and worthy, and valuable. And every time they live their lives for themselves, they inspire more girls to do the same, and slowly but surely make the world a more beautiful place.