I watched a video over the weekend that a college student posted on YouTube. As she explains, she did a little social experiment in which she called different young men and women ‘beautiful.’
Seeing their faces transform at her words, I was reminded of the same thing happening to me not so long ago.
As a girl and young woman I never felt especially beautiful.
From the time I can remember, I struggled with being overweight. My parents were always on my case about what I ate, how much I weighed and, being sensitive, even a drop of criticism was too much for me.
I saw myself as flawed.
It didn’t matter that I had a pretty smile or wavy hair. I was fat, not as smart as the rest of my family and… simply, not good enough.
My lack of self-love and acceptance sent me down the slippery slope of drug abuse and uncontrollable binge eating until I decided to begin the work of healing myself.
First, I quit drugs at twenty. Then I began to tackle why I was emotionally eating. And guess what? It was to give myself love and nurturing.
After many years of working on this, I successfully healed myself by twenty-six. I got to a healthy weight without dieting, without “white knuckling” around food, without any addictive need to eat or check out from life.
But I still didn’t feel beautiful.
By the time I turned thirty, married and with one child, I began feeling undesirable. Slowly and overtime, my love life had grown stale and I was emotionally distancing myself from my husband. I actually began to feel old and unwanted.
A few years later, as I deepened my own inner growth and spiritual commitment, my marriage completely collapsed. At that point, I thought I would be single for the rest of my life.
The internal work I was doing, opened me up to a greater sense of love - of myself- and feeling beautiful in the eyes of God.
Around this time, I began a new job working for a kind and gentle man. We became colleagues, then friends, and then we fell in love.
He told me I was beautiful.
Those words woke up something inside of me. It was as if I'd forgotten that I was beautiful to people, too, and not just to God. But I had to believe them for myself.
I mean, I had to really believe them and not just hear them. This can only happen if we push judgment aside and open up to love, to self-love and to total self-acceptance.
I share this story because many of us – both men and women- don’t believe we’re beautiful.
We compare ourselves to movie stars, judge ourselves against photo-shopped pictures in magazines and see every flaw, every wrinkle, every stretch mark.
His words helped remind me that I am beautiful both on the inside and out.
Now I tell myself how much I am loved, how much I love myself and how beautiful I am, every day!
How about you? Is there someone in your life who needs to hear that he or she is beautiful? When was the last time you said it?
Watch the smile spread across her face as she takes in your words, as she sees herself as if through your eyes, beautiful, whole, loved. See how her eyes radiate from within as she lights up, knowing that she is beautiful.