Sunday, December 8, 2013

Notes to My Daughters - On Beauty


This post origination is two fold.  First it rises out of my own insecurities.  I want people to like me and be friends with me.  I am an idealist.  I hope the best for everyone.  I believe there is a solution for every problem.  There is always hope in my eyes.  I feel like I have love and good tidings for everyone.  Therefore, I feel like I could/should be friends with anyone.  That sounds so nerdy…it is.  That's me.  Alas, I am not extroverted.  I am a borderline introverted and a little, eek, awkward.  It's bit difficult for me to start conversations. When people do not like me, or do not show the mutual camaraderie I desire, I immediately look for faults in myself, possible reasons for not liking me.  I cannot accept it.  I know it's unreasonable.  Not everyone is going to feel a connection with me.  Perhaps we have nothing in common.  As an introvert I should not desire this, because I could never maintain broad relationships and be happy.  Sometimes I reason that people do not like me because I am not pretty enough, thin enough, put together enough, or witty enough.  

Another reason for this post is that my daughters are one, three and five years old and they are obsessed with make-up.  I hardly wear make-up.  Mostly, I only wear it to church on Sunday.  So I do not know how they became so obsessed as though they watched their mom doll up everyday.  (Heh, dolls, toys with painted faces.  Maybe that's the problem)  I know children are naturally drawn to beauty, but I'd rather them not be obsessed with the commercial idea of beauty and how it is attained.  So I thought I would jot down some of the things I have learned about beauty thus far

To my daughters:

You are beautiful just the way you are.  I will spend your  entire childhood trying to convince you of this.  Hopefully, by the time you are grown you will believe me and come to the same conclusions I did.  I know at low points in your life it will be hard to believe.  I know that when you feel insecure about yourself you may want to blame beauty.  It's not so.  What makes you beautiful has very little to do with your physical appearance.  Just as every person looks differently, so too will your appearance be different to each other man's eye.  So do not ever try to make your appearance please another, because you will only end up confused and dissatisfied.

Part of the reason your mommy never wears makeup is because as a young teen I obsessed about my image and never felt pretty or perfect.  Then I started to wear makeup and I started to feel pretty and put together.  That's not a bad thing.  It is not a bad thing to put your best foot forward and look like you care for yourself.  There is nothing wrong in feeling more confident about yourself because you feel pretty.  However, you should find ways to feel confident and pretty and put together without putting forth a facade.  

One day when I was in high school I had a rushed morning and had no time for makeup.  I spent half the day feeling sad and insecure because I wasn't pretty enough.  Then a boy I liked took me to lunch.  I tried to look away from him as much as possible so he would not see my face.  I told him I felt ugly because I did not have any makeup on.  He shrugged and said he had not noticed.  He thought I looked the same.  I wondered why I was putting forth so much effort with makeup when the people I wanted to notice did not care.  That day I decided I was wasting my time on makeup because it made very little difference in the way people saw me.  People are going to see you the way they want to see you.

I told this story to one woman and she immediately rebutted that it was easy for me to say, a woman with beautiful coloring.  Fair enough.  I do have eyelashes that need no mascara and lips that need no lipstick.  However, makeup only goes so far.  It may add a little color and definition to your face, but no amount of makeup covers up a snarkey attitude, or selfishness.  No fancy dress will convince others that you are kind and full of humility.  No expensive handbag or designer boots will convince others that you are a worthy friend.  

Your physical adornments only make you interesting initially.  At some point you have to be more than a tattoo, or colorful hairdo, or blue lipstick.  At some point, you have to have depth, because beauty fades and what is fashionable, changes, but the consequences of how you behave and the friendships you make will stay with you always.  One of the things that heavily influences the way people feel about your beauty is your inner beauty.  Beauty is from within.  What does that mean?  It means you need to be good, kind and holy within first.  Be genuinely interested and concerned for people.  Be generous.  These things will win more attention than your lipstick color or pretty outfit.  Be confident enough to know you are beautiful and see beauty in others.

I look around me and I see beauty everywhere, because if there is something to love, there is beauty.  If there is something good, there is beauty.  If you look around and see how God has touch everything there is beauty.  Just be you.  That is beautiful enough.  You do not need makeup, or the best dress--you only need to emanate love and goodness to be beautiful.  Someday you will understand what this all means.  Until then I will try, in little ways, to help you see beauty in all things.  You will be so happy I did. 

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