The other day someone commented on one of my old Facebook profile pictures and Facebook decided that (even though it’s 3 years old!) everyone in my circle would surely want to see it in their newsfeed again!? Thus started an onslaught of likes and generous comments about me being “beautiful”.
You guys, it made me SO uncomfortable.
Why? Because sometimes, I try NOT to be pretty. I try to wear less makeup or dress down a little. Try not to stand out… try to make myself smaller, even when I don’t want to feel smaller.
Sisters, that’s a problem.
Because there’s this stigma in our society that it’s not okay to put any focus on our outer beauty. It’s such a taboo & touchy subject. Women are all over the map. Some believe only in organic, natural beauty treatments, others in traditional practices, and still others in innovative medical treatments.
There’s an unspoken undercurrent in our society that shames us for wanting to look pretty.
Somehow it whispers that, in order to be a good, wholehearted, faithful, kind woman, you must be naturally beautiful. Meaning, your inner beauty should be the only thing you work hard on and the outer beauty will just magically take care of itself.
You can find a million well-intentioned articles on google (and on this blog!) about true beauty, real beauty, finding your value and worth inside yourself and learning to embrace the uniqueness of who you are. But I find it interesting that the women who write these articles are often pretty. They have perfectly coiffed bio pics.
It looks to me like they brush their teeth, care for their skin, style and color their hair.
So for those of us who are constantly encouraging you to focus on inner beauty, I guess I just want to know why we feel like we can’t encourage you in your outer beauty too? We know you want to look pretty, so why do we feel like all beauty treatments must be hidden behind the curtain? Why can’t we make it safe to talk about how much is too much? How far is too far? What does natural even mean anymore?
Do you remember who taught you to take showers?
Probably your mama. Probably the same mama who made you brush your teeth, comb your hair and change out of your pajamas to leave the house.
These are the things we do in our (somewhat) civilized society.
Do you remember the day someone gave you permission to shave your legs, your bikini line and your armpits? Who gave you permission to get your ears pierced, eyebrows waxed (so you didn’t have a unibrow). What about wearing mascara, concealer, or Spanx? What about permission to work out, I mean with weights, to make your muscles look tone? (not that I know anything about that)
These days, you don’t need permission for those things.
“Beauty” is part of your routine. You wake up and brush your teeth, maybe you add baking soda or use whitening paste. You wash your face, maybe you use charcoal or a beauty balm. You shower and wash your hair with essential oils, add products and style. You eat your healthy breakfast and take your vitamins, which might include biotin for healthy skin and nails.
You put on your fashionable clothes, with your fair trade jewelry and head out for the day.
You take kids to school, go to work, the doctor, the dentist, the gym or yoga class. Maybe on special days, you get to visit the hair salon to cut and color those pesky gray hairs. And if you’re lucky, the manicure shop and maybe… just maybe, you get botox.
Is any of this inauthentic or something to be ashamed of?
No, it’s not. It’s taking care of your “temple” and it’s all your choice. You get to give yourself permission to look pretty, because none of it is your primary focus.
Because you are working hard to be a beautiful person, wife, mother, and friend on the inside.
You’re working through the pain, fear and struggle. You’re showing up, pointing out joy and hope. You are working hard to be a beautiful light in this world that people so desperately need.
Please give yourself permission to feel pretty while you do.
Whatever that looks like for you right now. And while you’re at it, will you give the rest of us permission too? Judging and shaming others hurts us all and it hurts you too.
Whatever you do, keep being beautiful and be you.
“We have to move away from the idea that people are either authentic or inauthentic: What I’ve found is that authenticity is a practice, it’s a choice. It’s a constellation of choices we make every day. We are not ‘authentic’. We choose authenticity… we practice it. It’s not something that’s inherent, that we either have or don’t have.
It’s something that we can cultivate.
The heart of authenticity is the courage to be vulnerable. In our culture we think it’s weakness. It’s at the core of hard emotions… It is also the birthplace of joy, love, creativity and inspiration and belonging so we need to be willing to be open.
The bottom line is when we are practicing authenticity, that’s how we invite joy, grace, and love and belonging into our lives… if you’re practicing authenticity and you’re engaging in behaviors that other people don’t like but you genuinely feel joyful and your life is grace filled and you feel a deep sense of love and belonging — then right on… it’s none of my business.
Practicing authenticity has it’s challenges. But it’s also an incredibly powerful way to live. “
~ Brene Brown, Own Your Beauty: inside & out
So guess what? It doesn’t matter if you don’t like my fake lashes or wish I would get a manicure every now and then. What matters is that we both fill our lives with joy, grace, love and knowing that belong to each other. So let’s give ourselves permission to be pretty, okay?
We can do that, together.
to more love,
P.S. I’m not even close to finished. So if you want more permission. . . if you want to circle up with some other women who are also permission givers, who will stand by you and declare that it’s okay, natural and good to be pretty, come join us for the next GNO called Beauty Night. We’ll be laughing and having a great time with some fun beauty tips and games. But we’ll also dig into what it means to let your inner beauty shine through on the outside.
And if this doesn’t sound like a fit for you, please know that’s totally okay too. It’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all event. This is for women want to learn more about what it can look like to connect inner and outer beauty in a healthy way.